Donate Button



Donate today BECAUSE Logan will probably use the money to fund his upcoming RPG. More entertainment for YOU!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

EPIC STRUGGLE TO PORTUGAL

THE WARM UP

Some countries have 'shitty' currency. For example, they don't let it out of the country or if they do, nobody else will exchange it.

Good examples of this include the Bosnian KM (convertible mark) and unfortunately the Moroccan dirham.

Giving dollars or euros to get dirham is a breeze.  Everyone wants to buy those valuable dollars and euros - nobody wants the dirham.  Aside from shopkeepers in Morocco.

Why countries like this don't just switch to a currency like the Euro or Dollar (like Cambodia did) is a mystery to me.  Probably nationalism.

Banks won't switch currency for you unless you have a residency card (because they suck) and getting money exchangers to buy it - despite them making a healthy profit on the transaction - is like pulling fucking teeth.

Fortunately, I tried to keep the amount minimal that I had so it was only about 100 euros worth I was trying to exchange.  I suspected some crap like this.

"Why not just change it at the border?" I hear some asking.  Experience.  Often same shit but less time and places to wander around asking why they don't want their shitty insular currency.  And doing it with all your worldly possessions on is even less fun.

So I got my 100 euros.  It might even be enough to get me - on a very circuitous route - to Faro (Portugal).



LEAVING MOROCCO


I almost didn't make it out of fucking Morocco.

After going through the crush of bodies (Moroccans don't really know or care about concepts like 'personal space') to get your passport stamped, you have to go along a footpath toward the Spanish side.

"We still got our colony on Africa bitches!" - Spain.

On the footpath, three Moroccan police (or border security - there's really no telling) that must look at your passport before you get to continue out of the country.

While one was looking at my passport and trying to figure out why it is literally twice as thick as every other passport he's seen, I struck up a little conversation with the third guard.  The first guard began telling the second guard he should take me back to the crush of bodies place to get another stamp.  Something about the one I already had (or just his day in general) did not please him.

The second guard took the passport but didn't seem really pleased about the prospect.  While the first one was busy with someone else in line, the third one took the passport and discretely handed it back to me making a very subtle head gesture that told me to sneak my ass out of there.

I scarpered.

Having made it to the Spanish side I noticed there was no where obvious to get a stamp.  Confusing.

You've got to look or someone will end up sending you back or saying you entered the country illegally or some crap.  It's never "Well, we do have a really shitty system so it's probably our fault" - no.  It's going to be your fault and you will pay.

So I went looking for someone to ask.

Found a guy dressed in a guard's uniform just sitting in an office.  I asked him "Where do I go to get this stamped?"

He had a stamp!  He also wanted to know if I'd caught the Superbowl.   Faking regret I told him I'd missed it.

He stamped the passport.  I did my best to remember where it was in case someone else had a problem finding it.  Yes, there are quite a few stamps and pages.  Enough to where I've noticed the security guards in the countries I'm in sometimes give up looking for theirs, figure it's in there somewhere, and just give me a stamp.

Handy.

Within minutes of crossing the border it was like I was back in 'modern' settings.

And I didn't have to listen to five times a day call to prayers from a super insecure god.  Yea!

Blue, blue sky and blue waters of the Mediterranean not quite dark enough to be called 'Navy'.  Irony.

With some euro coins I'd literally been lugging around for years, I bought taxi fare (yea!) to the ferry.  El Porteo.  Spanish - the easy language.  Compared to Arabic anyway.

Taxi - Ferry - Taxi - wait my ass for the bus.

Seven hours of waiting my ass for the bus.

While I was waiting a couple decided to hang out near me with their super noisy kid.  Thought about the eventual heat death of the universe to cheer up.

Getting to Seville ("Sev - eee - yah") is easy but for some reason the 'doorway to Portugal and big time tourist hub' Faro is not.

Decided to find food.  Nothing near the bus stop I was at - not the main bus stop apparently.  It was in a neighborhood which had been so gentrified it creaked.  Found a bar that served taipas.  Confused the bar tender that I knew taipas means 'little hat' but my Spanish was so bad.  Drank some beer and ate pork.  Good to be out of a Muslim country just for those things.

Back at the bus station the driver says "Good evening sir, where are you headed?"
Faro.
"You might need to change buses."
Why?
And suddenly, his English fails him.  As does his Spanish.  We are in Spain.  Amazing.

Got in to Faro at 2 AM.

Found the hostel (with directions and help) got a bed.  Slept in my clothing.

Got woken up by an idiot who decided talking on his cell phone in the sleeping room for a half an hour was OK.  Gave me the thumbs up.  Told me he was sorry.  Told him he was not.  Unbelievable.  Especially since there is a whole downstairs area he could hang out and talk on the phone.  Fucking people.

Met a guest at the hostel who was what I would describe as 'militantly chilled out'.  He would lecture people about how they should be as chilled out as he was.  Amazing.

Told the owner of the hostel I was looking for a place to stay.  He makes a call to an acquaintance.   She showed up a bit over an hour late for the appointment.  I get told by the militant chiller how I should be more chilled out.

I go with her to see a place she is renting.

Logan:  "Looks fine."
Her:  "It is 25 euros per day."
Logan:  "I was told it was 15 euros a day.  That is why I came."
Her:  "That is for the place upstairs which is already rented."
Logan:  "I can only afford 15 euros a day.  That is what the man who called you told me.  That is why I came."

Eventually, she dropped at 18 ("Final price") but I just kept repeating  about 15.  Eventually, I thanked her and left.  Made it about a block before she called me back.

She can do 15 euros per day.

Would it be better for you to pay by the week or the month she asks?  Of course I jump on the by the week.  What would be the downside to me?

"But you must pay me for eight days."
Logan:  So you will show up on Wednesday to get eight more days?  Then next week on Thursday?  That sounds very confusing.  How about I just pay you for seven days and you show up every Tuesday to get more money?  Wouldn't that be more simple?"

She looked displeased but agreed.  Maybe she thought I would pay eight days every seven.  I have no idea what is up with that.

The place itself is about three times as large as I need.  Tomorrow, Maria the lady who does the cleaning, will show up to show me how to use an overly complicated washing machine.

Why they make them complicated (more options are not always needed) and why people buy complicated ones for rental property is something I don't really understand.

The security here is pretty sad - I think with one rigid piece of metal I could be in to the apartment, possibly the building.

But it's better than a hostel.

Overall, Portugal is freakishly clean  - especially compared with Morocco.  There aren't even cigarette butts on the ground.  So I'm taking extra care to keep that clean as well.

While I was out earlier, I picked up a nice bottle of Jameson whiskey for just 12 euros (wow!) and will drink some or all of that tonight.

Yea!

[Edit:  Renting lady:  "Do you have a passport?"  Logan (with great confidence)  "Yes I do!"  And it was never brought up - nor viewed - again.]





HEAVEN

Imagine this. What if Heaven were real? Just imagine that for a moment. And imagine it was good - not at all like North Korea where you just sit around worshiping the mighty leader like it says you do in the Bible. OK - so now we have a good heaven.

If people really believed it, they'd work on dying faster.

People who really believed would take up really dangerous hobbies like skydiving simply because if they died, they win. Or, if they weren't sure, they'd go street preaching in countries that really hate Christians and put them to death because the bible says that if you get martyred for your faith it's a free pass.

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

To paraphrase a quote, "I find their lack of faith disturbing."

No comments:

Post a Comment

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

For videos with a Loganesque slant, be sure to visit here. You can also Facebook Logan.

If you enjoy this blog, please donate! Help Logan keep on traveling.