Monday, June 16, 2008

Floating Tangerines

I'm not certain how Bib the Michelin Man would feel about the story I am about to relate but I suspect that he wouldn't be too pleased because it involves the flagrant misuse - or abuse - of tires. I believe that car tires are rather sacrosanct in his mind and shouldn't be used for crossing bodies of water larger than a stream.

It seems that weekend before last, much to the presumed consternation of Bib, two Moroccans - Tangerines (natives of Tangier not the citrus fruit) to be exact - crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on an inflated inner tube. (I so wanted to make a Bib & Gib joke here but the moment just never felt right.)

To resume: taking every necessary precaution, the two would-be illegal immigrants hapless wayfarers prudently equipped themselves with one bottle of water and a bag of peanuts for a trip which would take them 3 days to make. I might add that I need more than a bottle of water and a bag of peanuts just to take the bus to Malaga - but this story isn't about me. Nonetheless, with flippers on their feet, they kicked and bobbed their way across the Strait and landed in Marbella (with presumably chilled backsides) into the welcoming arms of the Guardia Civil.

Incidentally, three men were originally supposed to make the illegal voyage across international waters but one wisely opted out, fortuitously leaving more peanuts and water for his compatriots.

Although I'm tempted to bestow upon these two would-be illegal immigrants hapless wayfarers the Pinhead of the Year Award, I am drawn to the case last autumn in which three Moroccans were rescued by a ferry which was just 10 minutes outside of Tangier. The three equally would-be illegal immigrants hapless wayfarers had left Rabat 11 hours earlier, and had reached Tangier by paddling on a surfboard. Of these equally would-be illegal immigrants hapless wayfarers, one especially would-be illegal immigrant hapless wayfarer had fallen into the water and was hanging onto the board as fish nibbled at his feet and human refuse floated by. It's safe to say that the cold (it was November) and 3-metre high waves squashed the travel bug in them. And they hadn't even entered the Strait proper yet.

After much consideration and deliberation, it behooves me to give the Pinhead of the Year Award to the surfing Rabatians. In the end, although all would-be illegal immigrants hapless wayfarers would be repatriated to Morocco, the peanut-munchers on the inner tube did make it to Spain. But then again, they did have an advantage: everyone knows that both tangerines (the citrus fruit) and Tangerines (natives of Tangier) can float.

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