Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A glimpse of another place

The taxi driver wasn't keen to slow down, let alone stop. The district was called El Principe, The Prince, "Muy peligroso, very dangerous," he said. It looked dodgy. Long lines of Moroccans crossing over the border into Ceuta and Spain and milling around the buildings that made up the sorry looking industrial estate on the Spanish side. There were lots of blokes camping out on the flat rooves of the factories. It looked as though they lived there at least for the moment. Who knows why. Apparently they cross the border to sell things "clothes and shampoo," said the driver.

We had asked to be taken to the fence that separates Spain from Morocco. The rich from the poor. It's a high, double line of barbed wire topped fencing with open moats around it. From time to time groups of would be immigrants storm the fence with scaling ladders built of twigs.The Guardia Civil and Moroccan Army beat them back - "defending" the southern border of Europe. Sometimes people die in the attempt.

There was a Guardia Civil post and a no entry sign as we got to the fence. The taxi driver asked if he could turn around in the restricted zone explaining he had English tourists on board. I jumped out and took a couple of photos. The Guardia told me no photos and I said okey dokey and we were away again.

I don't really understand why people have to storm the fence if they can get through the frontier legally - couldn't they get by the fence without too much hassle and then set about the difficult task of getting onto the mainland? I suppose, though, that lots of people who get to that fence won't be Moroccans but will be Africans who have walked across lots of borders ill,egally, heading hopefully for the euro zone. It didn't look like a hopeful place.

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