Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 143: Gibraltar: Rock of the Apes!

A few days after I had been back from Ronda, Monica and David showed up at the Alegraluz Tantra Center and abducted me. They took me to heir condo where they cooked me a feast. We ate and enjoyed one another's company. We all laughed a lot and told travel stories and gossiped about old friends. I was only going to stay with them until the next morning but I decided to go to Gibraltar with them mañana.

This article is dedicated to all my fuzzy friends in Gibraltar.

From their condo in Estapona the drive to Gibraltar was a little over an hour. The rock was visible long before we reached it. After parking the car we walk began walking. The sky was overcast and a little drizzly. Even worse, there was so much traffic in the area that the air tasted like gasoline. Showing our passports to get in was exciting but then we had to wait for two airplanes to take off from the airport which forced us to wait 20 minutes.

Weird place for an airport.

Being at Gibraltar was a surreal feeling. I didn't know that it was a British colony so the red telephone booths, use of pounds, and police officers' hats caught me by surprise. At last, my chance to try fish and chips!

It was like we were in bloody ol' London, chap!

We did a bit of exploring in the streets at the base of the rock before doubling back to get lunch. Once Monica and David were satiated by their Subway hoagies and I had a greasy pile of fish and chips we set off up the mountain. The weather was dreary but it added to my feeling of surreality. The streets in the lower town were touristy but once we began climbing the vibe changed completely. We were soon lost among a maze of staircases and twisty roads; antennas and clotheslines sliced through the air of Gibraltar's upper town.

I've fallen in love with lots of things in Europe, antennas are one of them.
Cat photos are another passion of mine.
We were totally lost.

The higher we climbed the better the view got. It was a bit discouraging when we learned that it was going to cost £10 to see the historical parts like the siege tunnels and that we could have brought the car for £2. On the bright side by walking we saw a lot of stuff that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to see if we had taken a car. Plus if we were in a car we wouldn't have had as interesting of a monkey encounter.

Hey baby!
I felt like a giant (goon).

I had no idea that Gibraltar was full of monkeys. We saw a few posters advertising the hairy monsters but I didn't think I'd actually see any... boy was I wrong.

Look closely at the monkey leaping off the bus.

Once we were past the upper town, we were walking up roads on the rock for about an hour before we saw them. The first monkey sighting was a scene out of a monkey action movie; one of the fuzzy devils was riding on the mirror of a bus and then PACHOW! he jumped off into the bushes. From there, it was only a few seconds until we were surrounded. We found their stronghold. Knee-deep in monkey territory surrounded by knee-high monkeys. They were all over the place, playing on cars, jumping on people's backpacks, having sex in the street.

"What's up? How are you?"
I wonder if there's Tantra for monkeys.
Even monkeys are into post nookie cuddling.

So cute yet so vicious.

If I were a monkey I'd like to live on the rock of Gibraltar. I would live a charmed life. My diet would consist of whatever goodies the tourists bring (hopefully Twinkies) healthily balanced by some berries and leaves. My life would be one with nature, living outside and playing all day without the worry of predators. Plus, I would be able to jump on all the cute girls without any legal repercussions.

Whoa man chill, it was just a joke!!!
One of these beauties found its way onto the bottom of my shoe.

Finally we found a crazy big staircase that would take us the rest of the way to the top – it wasn't for the faint of heart. Monica and David were funny going up and even funnier going down. David shies away from heights so he wasn't a big fan of a 200 meter tumble down a stone staircase as the result of a mis-step. While I was fine with the height, passing the monkeys on the stairs freaked me out. I kept imagining one jumping onto my face or biting me in the leg. I suppose all of our imaginations run wild, playing out various horrific fantasies.

Apes in trees.
Just a few more steps, Monica!
"Can't you see I'm busy?"

When we got to the top of the rock, the same fog that coated our day kept us from seeing Africa. Spooty fog! Looking down over the edge was awesome because you couldn't see anything and then the clouds would part for a second and show you how high you are. The view over the harbor was superb. I met a dude from Morocco who fed a banana to one of the monkeys and a girl who wore one of the monkeys as a hat.

We made it to the top!
Some people use shampoo...
A mother's nipples have a rough life.
Who's the monkey now?
Family bonding.
Isn't Monica the cutest?
Laser eye.
Primary scooters.
Haha. You're wearing a funny hat.

Thankfully we got back to the car in time to avoid any fees on the parking meeter. I was glad that we walked not only because of all the spectacular views and weirdness we encountered but my stomach felt a lot better after working off some of the fish and chips. We were all exhausted from the climb and I fell asleep in the back seat.

Back at the Alegraluz Tantra Center I asked Peter and Elizabeth (a new recruit) if they wanted to join us for paella. Fortunately they agreed and we all piled in the car and headed to a local restaurant for some seafood paella. I had the black version that's made with squid ink while I was in Cádiz and I was excited to eat it again. We ordered it for four and they brought it out in the biggest frying pan ever. Delicioso!

I bet the monkeys would have enjoyed this meal.

Saying goodbye to Monica and David was really nice. It meant a lot to me to spend some time with people that have known me for more than a few days. Old friends are so comfortable and natural to be around. I love meeting new people because I grow faster with them but old friends are like anchors. It may be a bit odd to admit saying goodbye was nice but it made me realize how close I am with both Monica and David and reinforce how special our time together was. I cannot wait to see them when I return to the United States. Peace, love, and monkeys.

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