Dots on a Map (Gibralter)

Gibralter Islandby Colin Leaky

This time Colin’s off to the Rock of Gibralter (see my blog on the Faroe Islands for more countries from his book). The southernmost tip of Europe is a lot like England, except Spanicized, with gangs of tourist-bullying Barbary apes.

Politics and Lager Louts

Since Gibralter sits right off the coast of their country, the Spanish would like it back. The Brits, having had it weighing their necks down for the past 400 years, aren’t averse except for the huge RAF airstrip – but the people living there don’t want to go. Most speak some form of Spanglish. In addition, Spain owns some properties off the coast of Morocco that the Africans would very much like back, but does that make sense to the Spanish? No. The whole situation was a bit much for this American. Of course, why and how we have a tiny piece of Cuba has never made sense to me either…

It’s like that annoying moment in Sid Meier’s Civilization when you realize those foreign troops running across your continent have created a city on your coast and there’s nothing you can do about it. You are invited to watch as they discover a technology advancement (no scribes please).

Not First on the List

Barbary ApeI think the author found this country to be a bit like I found Sea World in San Diego last winter: Lovely dolphins, lots of kitsch and blaring music. Super touristy, and politically charged. In the modern era, Gibralter seems to have more history than culture. I kept hearing the song “Torremolinos” – from Monty Python’s “Spam and Chips” clip.

The history of the island was super interesting – a strategic launching point for troops against the French and the Spanish…the Moors…whoever. One of the generals was a vegetarian, I remember that because it was so odd for the time period. Between sieges, famines, and disease, the population of the place went through a lot.

Good writing – Colin teased out all the humorous bit, as usual. The unintentional humor of the signs in the museum was my favorite – or maybe the Last Gift Shop in Europe (closed). Didn’t make me want to visit. Don’t know that it could be done, with so many more interesting bits of the world unvisited by me. I’d rather go back to Cornwall, or off to the real Spain or the Basque country.

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