From Spain to Gibraltar - 1974

It's 1974 and my soon to be husband and I leave El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz to go to Gibraltar. Seems it's the easiest place to get married. With Franco still in power, bureaucracy has so much red tape that you get tangled up in your own shadow.

I don't remember ever being too concerned about living in a dictatorship. Before moving to Spain to teach in a bilingual school, I did read that it would be best not to discuss politics with the local people. Okay. Sounds good to me. At that time the only Spanish I knew was "adios amigo", so there was never any fear of my becoming embroiled in any political discussion.

In 1972 the border between Spain and Gibraltar was closed. Franco had made sure of that. The only way to arrive in Gibraltar from Spain was to go to Tangiers and then basically retrace your steps and finally enter Gibraltar.

Guess what? I succumbed to some dreadful gastrointestinal disease whilst in Tangiers. I was dying. That's what it felt like. By the time we finally got to Gibraltar all I could do was to collapse on the skinny narrow  bed after my stomach had emptied itself in the most unladylike fashion. Welcome to Gibraltar!

The next day we made our way to the registrar office where we were duly married. No photos, however. Not one single one. I was doing all I could just to mumble the necessary utterances that got us the wedding certificate. And for the wedding reception? How about some bland scrambled eggs to settle a very queasy stomach?!

Up high on the rock we were accosted by an ape. Or did I just imagine that?! That night I won the jackpot in the slot machine at the casino. And I'm not even a gambler.

The next day it was back to Tangiers and then once again to Spain located within walking distance of where we got married in Gibraltar.

I should have written to Franco himself and complained to him that it was all because of his closing the bloody border that I got so sick in Tangiers!




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