Fascist Spain – it’s all such a long time ago, init?

MY FIRST VISIT TO Spain was in 1969 – I hitchhiked from Leeds to Dover, caught the ferry then hitch hiked all the way through France although the motorists thought my hair was too long, and crossed the border between France and Spain at the usual spot.

We caught the train across the border at Bayonne – in the carriage there Basque people introduced me to goatskins full of wine. They were good company and sort of understood my schoolboy French. We all got quite getrunken.

In Spain we found the going even harder than in France although a kind English couple gave us a ride over the Pyrenees and took us as far as Burgos.  This is an ancient city with soldier ants bigger than we’d ever imagined them to be and quite prepared to take on a curious 20 year old youth. Bless them.

From Burgos we were forced to take again a train in Spain to Madrid – long haired youths were obviously not considered to be worth picking up – Spain was such a poor country then anyway. My pesetas went a long long way, San Jose.

A nice young guy on the train said that Spanish wasn’t a hard language, and proceeded to give me a bit of instruction in the lingo/bhash. It’s a shame I never learnt Spanish, it seems a lot more intelligent than Esperanto, or I hope so anyway.

Wikimedia Commons image of FrancoThe Madrid underground system had just opened – so recently that it hadn’t got round to putting signs on the individual stations – we had to count the stations to get from one side of Madrid to the other. Already having given up on any chance of hitch hiking, we took the milk train down to the Costa del Sol.

Andalusia, ah Andalusia. Here our thumbs started to work again and a kind American gave us a lift all down the Costa del Sol main road. He said that he’d been down here a while ago when the coast road didn’t exist and every single town like Torremolinos and Marbella were fishing villages, pure and simple. In Marbella, I learned to my alarm about The Troubles. And so the IRA.

In his car was a Danish guy and his German girlfriend. Although Danish, the German Army had called him up and he was a draft dodger, having a lot of fun in the south of Spain.

I’d already noticed that there were a heck of a lot of different police forces in Fascist Spain – every time we needed to sleep we had schlafsacks and that and just camped towards the beach. One morning we woke up to find three members of the tricorn wearing the uniforms of the Guardia Civil pointing their machine guns at us. As their motto is “Everything for the Fatherland”, we took their advice about sleeping on the beach and decamped rapido.

To Malaga and to the Morocco ferry. Queuing up I made some observations to my fellow travellers in English about my impressions of Fascist Spain and the number of police forces there seemed to be. In those days, speaking against the  regime could get you thrown in gaol. A very nice Spanish gentleman, must have been in his mid 1930s, turned round to us and said: “Please keep your voices down. Spain is getting better all the time, but it is still unwise to speak out about the regime.”

And so to Morocco – or rather to Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast and no doubt as irritating to the Moroccans as Gibraltar is to the Spanish. Here we fell in with some conscripts in the Spanish Army, and just the way you can do when you are 20, we discovered they were paid the equivalent of one shilling a day. A month.

My Moroccan adventures don’t matter too much here – but I found myself once again on the ferry going back to Spain  with some very foolish companions – a couple of very young American up and coming tennis players, who had stuffed the barrels of their rackets with cannabis. The journey was rough and the bows of the ferry caused many a passenger to vomit like there was no tomorrow and go green. I was OK – I don’t mind turbulent seas. What was really fantastic was passing through a vast shoal of tuna fish.

The customs house in Malaga was staffed with hundreds of  officials and I did fear for them. But they somehow got through customs and we had to say goodbye to each other. I was going to fly for the first time from Malaga Airport. I had a ticket, but no money at all, only enough to buy a lemon in the old town. My flight wasn’t going to happen for a day, and I hadn’t realised there was something called airport tax you had to pay.  There was a member of the Guardia Civil in the airport, and for one brief moment I contemplated nicking his pistol and shooting myself in the head. But a kindly English girl took pity on my and paid my airport tax so I could fly back to Blighty.

8 responses to “Fascist Spain – it’s all such a long time ago, init?

  1. thomasxstewart

    Loyal Poster %1 Here & Rant,too.

    In 1969 Was running Small Store T&R SPEED SHOP Selling Mostly Firestone radial Tires that Where Seconds, To Break Sears Total Cpntrol of Market, Charging Way over $100 For Tires From Aquatina, thats french for France.

    Latter In College, like EveryBody, Was In Rerserve Officer traing Commissioning At Srizona State University. Thats When MY dorm captain Told US, With NO sorrow or Hesitation, That Entire Male freshman Class IS Dead, Scheduled to Be Used Up In WAR Machine. Latter Conscripted, yet Due to ahving lived with Family on Fort gunther,Fort Benning/Center For Disease Control & Mitxhel AIR Base, Was Sent to End of Line, By Time My Time Came Draft Ended three Weeks Earlier. Then Drug Epidemic Started & HIT Art School, finally Hon ArseHat Gerald Ford ESQ Rounded Like of ANYONE Alive with Service Record from VietNAm. NOT FUN.

    Hers ToDays RANT:
    .UlteeMATs’ Favorite Subject Peoples Republic of Chinas’ 1 trillion $$$ Holdings’ of 30 Year ~25% US Government Bonds: .Working Together For Work That FREES’. Explict Mandate To SHUTDOWN Guantanamo Is Expressed In 60% of Citizens Whom Voteed For Hon Barack esq Platform. BLACK Sheep In Black Clothing? Perhaps. Anything to Get ELECTED? Perhaps. Yet, For Republicans To Suffer Under LIE Is Unconsciounable. Hon President Barak esq Suffers From Problems of Hon Carter, 30 Year 25% US Government Bonds, About To Pay Out. Baric Is 2nd Largest GOLD Producer In World. Your Paper Money Is BURN. Which Kind? It Is Statutory FELONY To Switch Parties While In Elected Office. If Public Wanted Republician, that Would have Been Vote. Hon Barak esq Cann’t Rally & Sneak Out, NO WAY. Republicans have OWN Problems, NOT Hon Barak esqs’, Intra Party Woes. Those US Governmant ~25% 30 year Bonds Pay Out 500 US Dollars for Each Dollar Invested. Trillions, YEA, Hundreds of Trillions of $ Debt, To BANKS that Print Money, IT WILL BE PAID. People Be Losers, AS Economy Collaspes In Forgein Wave.Chicago Federal Reserve Issued Most of 30 year ~25% US Government Bonds, From Minneapolis, Minn. that FEDERAL Reserve Was Burnt Down, So Chicago Is Ultimate Payee Responible. Makes, Sense, Don’t IT? ForSIX Long Years, Passing BUCK To Other Party Is Whimpy, Loser Strategy & UnAcceptable By Loyal Opposition, Besides Major Statutory Felony, For GOOD Statutory Reasons Hon Obama esq Must Attend to OWN Parties Platform. its Too late to Change Promises NOW. Yet, Explicit Mandate Exists by People Traditionally Twarted:REPUBLICIANS. Taking Mandates To Oath & Completed,SHUTTING DOWN ENTIRELY OF GUANTANAMO, Those Platforms Must Be Realized, For Good of US Citenzry. Hon Obama esq WON, Now Hon Obama esq Take Lead In Effecting Sworn Platform WithIn Law. People Of China Don’t Let forgein Hacks Decive YouYour worth $125,000.00 EACH NOW.Keep Faith & Insists On LawFul Behavior, EveryWhere, From EveryOne, PS EAT SOME Food. Option: Disolve democrat Party PERMANENTLY & FOREVER.

    Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.

  2. Shortage of Chinese people causes notebook shortage

    short people ain’t got no reason ./ed

  3. thomasxstewart

    Handi Person here to Rescue. Children Are Short, yet make pooer Boat Builders, In HollyWood in 1993, Met With Short People At newsstand on Vine, Its was FUN & Commented On ultietasking Probasus, being 6’5″., thought I Was Monkey of sorts With RED Snot heres’ ONE FRIEND, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUXD3kjI_PI

    Its Something On Breats that Tells Incredible lIES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-Rwmxtg77k In ARTS Being Short means Work under Stage, Thru Camers & Chords & Sewing, ALL for Room In Roosevelt Hotel & Supplemently Income. Heres What 90s’ Crowd Saw of Dr. Von D, AKA Dr. Eveoler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-JczFCAJWc&NR=1

    Not ALL Short People Are French, Yet FIT Under Table Pretty Well, Also In Back of Carriage Trunk, Taking IT Home, Up Close & Personal, ethier Way. Die Very Young, Like Asians, Often With Hemostatic Diseases’ As Lets Face IT, Who Really CARES. Same In aSia, Low Life Expectancy, Where Eugenics Have Made People Whom Cann’t Live Long. After CARE IN U.S. for ANYONE. about Smae, Whats’ REAL Difference. We TRY To Protect Children, Just Hope Very Young Short People Are Willing to Grow UP.
    Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D..

  4. thomasxstewart

    Heres Another Site that Is Cut Up By Ordinary Senors In Links:

    http://www.presstv.ir/default.aspx

    Its About Islam & governemnt & Perkin’ People In Frenzy In An On Going News site.
    Did You US Hon President RElishes Mohammeds’+ Execution, 4 Year Old Hear That & Flip In Islamic State. Those Poor Short People & Greasy Palm of Fate. Ps Short People Make Great Burglers, Too Young to UnderStand Responiblity, Small Enough For Small Opening & NOT ME.

    Signed:STeWie & Sensors.

  5. Barbet Schroeder’s ‘More’ was also filmed in 1969 on Ibiza but it sounds like you were on a different ‘pilgrimage’. Maybe that’s why you’re still writing and not in that Oxford gaol that made you so photogenic last year : )

    A good story evokes every good memory. Ten years later at the end of my teens in ’79 I drove from Munich to Algeciras by way of Almeria. Franco was gone, but those fishing villages along the southern leg were linked by an unimproved coastal road. I remember the best garlic soup I’ve ever tasted, and was amazed to find many Spanish restaurants didn’t start serving until well after 9PM.

    My girlfriend and I took a ferry-not to Ceuta, but to Tangier-with no ultimate destination in mind. I didn’t know it was the middle of Ramadan, or have the sense to take my car off the street at night. By chance we met friends of friends from Frankfurt on both crossings. I think we all wanted to kiss the ground coming back to the Fronterra de Algeciras in the shadow of Gibraltar.

    Naïveté defines the provinciality of youth, but spontaneity gives it the flexibility to endure the dissolution of the persistence of memory.

  6. Link to Grand Chinese New year in trafalger Square 2010. Shows Travel is Widespread Phenom2.

    http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/90873/6898730.html

    Tiger Drashek

  7. Pingback: Many years ago – it seems today « Mad Mike Magee’s Musings

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