Friday, March 4, 2011

Crossing the Border

I rose to meet Melilla with a cheerier mood than I'd had when I went to sleep. Hotel breakfast was a few slices of toast, a coffee, and some orange juice. Oh well, it was free.

I went straight to tourist information, looking for info on where I could get the meningitis vaccine. I'd balked at the $140 they'd wanted in the States. My last had been in Kampala in 2005 and had long since expired. I'd intended to get it in Malaga, but had been overcome by crushing weight of responsibilities and it hadn't happened.

The tourist information woman looked at me blankly, so I went to two places I'd looked up online. En route, I gazed up at the architecture along the main street. A man named Enrique Nieto, a disciple of Gaudí, had designed many of the art nouveau/modernisme buildings.

Unfortunately, the nice surroundings had little bearing on my mission. Which was a failure. The two places I'd looked up were closed and deserted. The clinic I found on my map sent me to a private clinic, which sent me up a hill. Halfway up, I quit and went back to my hotel for lunch.

In the afternoon, I got antsy. Time to go to Morocco.

I caught the #2 local bus to the border for .75 euros. It started to rain as I walked across the border. Three men tried to sell me the free forms that I needed to go through passport control, but I waved them off and hurried on, eager to get out of the rain. A security guard directed me to the passport control point, where a man asked: "Have you been to Morocco before?"

"Yes, but not on this passport."

He punched a few buttons on his computer.

"Three times you have been to Morocco."

Astonished, my mouth gaped. I recovered. "I didn't know you could see that on the machine."

"The machines know everything," he said. "One day we will not even need borders, because it will all be on the machine."

He stamped me in and I walked through the mud onto the streets of Beni Nsar, Morocco.

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