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Saturday, August 04, 2007


When I first drove down to Morocco from Spain in 1969 I had heard enough about Tangier to think I should avoid it. We took the ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta (a cheaper alternative than Algeciras-Tangier). Ceuta is technically part of Europe-- the last Spanish enclave in Morocco, just a couple hours drive northeast of Tangier. We headed for Tetouan instead, avoiding Tangier entirely. At least for a while. We drove all through Morocco, loving it-- I've been back a dozen times since-- and then decided we were old Moroccan hands enough to brave the weirdness of Tangier. I must have picked up my preconception about Tangier from meditations on Paul Bowles' most brilliant novel The Sheltering Sky-- although they were strictly my own meditations, Bowles having loved Tangier so much that he decided to live there... forever. It didn't take me long to start liking it either.

Yesterday I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum, which takes place in Moscow, London, Madrid, New York and... Tangier. I've never been to Moscow but the movie didn't evoke anything special for me geographically in the other cities-- except Tangier. The scenes-- shot on location, of course-- were beautiful, action-packed, exciting and realistic real and I recognized almost every spot they shot.

The last time I was in Tangier, December, 2005, I was already thinking about starting a blog and I took some notes and pictures and wrote it up. These days I wouldn't think about leaving Tangier out of a Moroccan itinerary. It's a sophisticated, exotic and unique city, very different from any other place in the country. The energy is powerfully kinetic-- young and vibrant and bursting at the seams. It's pretty cosmopolitan and very much it's own thing.

Here's some footage of two chase scenes shot in Tangier.

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