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People Watching

Nowhere could be better for this ‘occupation’ than Tarifa with its mix of locals, ages, expats and immigrants. It is a colourful scenario, to say the least, with equal doses of elegance, attempted elegance, over-dressed and under-dressed !

The fashion parade ( a summer event on the Alameda – Tarifa’s town promenade) was refreshingly attractive, lovely local models who were so natural and smiling, in contrast to the pathetically, artificially zombie-like models with grim expressions on the catwalks on Fashion TV. The beach is peopled with ‘bodies beautiful’ in the barest of bikinis; the Spanish skin toasts so evenly and beautifully whereas the newly arrived northern European tourists are bleached- white, turning quickly to tomato-red. An American family trudges past – a slim, muscled father and two daughters proclaiming loudly that they are bored and asking where they can go to party later, and following them is a tired-looking Mum dragging her feet through the sand! Tattoes abound, some discretely attractive, others completely covering the body. Groups of young men ogle groups of young girls who feign indifference.

The engine of the fast-ferry throbs in the distance as it makes its way across from Tarifa to Tangier (Morocco) – only 35 minutes of actual travel (there can be long waits in the harbours!).

This time last year Martina and I were waiting in Tangier harbour to return to Tarifa when the ferry disgorged its load of Moroccan women who had been strawberry picking in Spain to earn some money. Bent under the weight of their overfull cases which they carried on their heads (as they carry the firewood or the water in their home fields) they struggled down the gangplank, some falling, all shouting, no porter would help them (they wait for the tourists who pay more!). It was almost inhuman – we were not allowed to take photos.

The yacht with a full spinnaker heads at some speed for Tarifa harbour – and with considerable emotion I remember my own husband arriving likewise having sailed from Scheveningen (NL) with son and student crew on board.

Purple, orange and turquoise beach umbrellas flutter in the gentle breeze – no kite or wind surfers in this area which is reserved for sun worshippers and families. ‘Each to their own’ and further along the beach the kite surfers are ready and waiting for the wind to increase which it usually does around 16.00 hrs.

It is truly idyllic. Come and see for yourselves.

P.S. I should add that the weather/wind CAN be otherwise and can blast to the extent that the beach is a non-starter – after all, Tarifa is renowned as a High Wind Area.

P.P.S Please not that if – having read my blogs on travel to the south of Morocco – you are considering going in 2015 that we (The Seven Gazelles of Tarifa, as we are called) are going again ourselves from 9 – 19 March so our much appreciated driver-guides are already booked by us! Mid March to mid May is the best time., or as from mid October to mid November.

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