Thursday, 23 February 2012

Aden: Random Memories 17d: The Return of The Natives: The Mediterranean & Gibraltar

The Mediterranean
We didn’t stop off anywhere before we reached Gibraltar, so not much happened of any excitement or interest after we left Egypt. We swam in the ship’s pool, but this was full of sea water, not quite what I expected. There were funny games like quoits and organised games where the grownups behaved like children, well worse than children actually, no self respecting child would behave like that in public!
Then there was a change in the weather. It was rainy and dark, the ship rocked and rolled. Breakfast was picked at rather than eaten. Not many people were on deck or in any part of the ship. Eventually the motion of the ship got the better of me. I was tucked up in bed feeling very sorry for myself, no that my parents seemed that much better!
The weather cooled as we went west. One cold morning we awoke to find ourselves in the harbour at Gibraltar. It was a cold version of Aden. Typically British symbols were to be found among palm trees and other exotica, not that it was that exotic for me, it was everyday. But the cold was horrible.
We did all the things tourist have to do when time is limited. We were like the hordes of Americans in Aden who disembarked from the cruise ships swarming all over the place to visit this and that. We mocked them. The irony was lost on me until now.
A child sees the world through uncomprehending eyes. Adults want to make everything difficult and in Gibraltar I saw a thing called “the border”. There was this guy called Franco who lived on the other side and he decided he didn’t like something or other and had closed the border. Nobody could get in our out by land. The only way was by sea or by air. 
Yes, the airport at Gibraltar. We had to wait until a plane had landed or taken off (I don’t remember which) before we could cross the road which went across the runway. That was quite unusual and exciting to see.
We also had to go up to see the apes. Their keeper gave us Maltesers and bits of banana to feed the apes. They would approach us and force open our hands and snatch the food we had. It was every monkey for him or her self. My mother took her turn, and was immediately surrounded by the creatures. Then one sat on her head. Cameras were lifted and click, my mother became a memory for others by accidental humiliation.

© 2012 Gwailo54

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