Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 151: Tarifa: Wandering and Waiting

Don't take a three day kite surfing class unless you're staying in Tarifa for at least two weeks. Every morning I wake up eager to continue my kite surfing training just to be continually thwarted by the weather. Tarifa is the windiest place on Earth but it's title of capital of wind sports hasn't been upheld. My instructor, Daniel picks me up every morning around 11 with his van and we go to the beach hoping for perfect conditions but we've had little luck. Even though the weather hasn't been suitable for kite surfing I've enjoyed every day I've spent in Tarifa.

Climbing on King Sancho, me amigo!
I've had plenty of stuff to do while waiting for a proper surf day. I've spent a lot of time walking around the town and eating with new friends. One of the characteristics of Tarifa that I enjoy the most is how warm the people are. Something as simple as greeting strangers and receiving a smile makes this place special. Because Tarifa is so small, I constantly run into people who I've met while I'm wandering around town. Thankfully, most of the people that I've met have been spectacular.

Most of the friends that I've made are from a hostel that I stayed at called The Melting Pot. It's a cozy place with a big kitchen and communal area that creates a homey atmosphere. My first day there I met an American chick named Tila and an English bloke, Kingsley. We've palled around a fair bit, playing cards, talking, and going out. When they went out for dinner a few nights ago I stayed in to finish some work and ended up having a bout with the Guardia Civil.

Tarifa's Paloma dune.
Good weather for kite surfing.
Super windy!
Gettin' artsy on the beach.
Sweet rock texture.
This dude rides around on his bike with his dog.
The cat makes a poor receptionist.
But she looks super cute on the bed.

Getting busted for narcotics isn't the highest moment of my life but in hindsight it makes a good story. I had been talking with this guy at the hostel who was everyone's go-to. He said he could help me out, no problem. I wanted €5 worth of green him but I only had a €20 bill. While I was looking for change this moron left the goods out on the table in plain sight of everyone. One of the hostel workers came in and saw and got understandably flustered. She said that she was calling the cops and that we had 5 minutes to pack up and go. I thought they were only kicking this dude out but she pointed to me too. Crap! I didn't believe that she called the cops but I packed up and headed out. Just as I was walking out the door a flood of Guardia Civil came in, decked out in their green shirts and stomp 'em boots. There were about ten of them buzzing around. Before I knew it I was emptying my pockets and being searched. Despite not understanding anything they were saying I did my best to cooperate. They were rather aggressive with me but apparently they hit this other dude in the face. When they finished with me I'm standing in the lobby of the hostel waiting to hear what's going on. After about 30 minutes they told me to leave and never come back. I couldn't believe they let both of us go after all that. We booked it out of there and everything was okay. Dad, if you get a letter from the Guardia Civil just slip it into the trash. Mom, don't worry. Thankfully the rest of my stay in Tarifa has been without incidents.

The laminating station in Daniel's SkyCat board workshop.
Where the magic happens.
Makin' boards takes many tools.
Daniel says he's made over 2,000 boards.

One of the highlights of the past few days was going on a nature walk around the city. Before I got ousted from the hostel, Tila and I went on an awesome walk. We passed the area where I camped the first night I was here and would camp again post-hostel. The scenery was amazing. Wildflowers were growing everywhere and their perfumes were divine.

Love this MacGuyver gate
Tila and her G11.
Horse hanging out.
The flora was lovely. 
Here's a good place to cross the river.
View of Tarifa from the trail.
My favorite of the wildflowers.
Whoa! A frickin' dung bettle!

Everything considered, I've had an awesome and interesting stay in Tarifa. I love the small town friendly vibe and the beaches are amazing – would you believe I'm even getting tan? I would like to return to Tarifa for a longer period of time to learn Spanish and perfect my kite surfing. But right now I want to finish up my kite surfing lessons and head across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco! Maybe I'll kite surf there...


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