Lunchtime during the Gibraltar contract in 2010
Thursday 11ish. I need to know if I can get a ticket on the ferry (Tangiers) tomorrow. Spanish website doesn’t work.
I start marching down Main street in Gibraltar to get to Tourist information in Casements Square at the other end. Just before Casemates Square a large group of Eastern European tourists is gathered at the end of Main Street. I stop and look up and the huge tobacconists, which is covered in scaffolding, has got two Barbary apes up there messing about and squeaking at the humans. This is probably the busiest place in Gibraltar.
I’ve been here a couple of months now and ape cheekiness around here is no longer a surprise. I move on.
Tourist Information Centre directs me back towards Ferry Agents in Irish Town. Walking back past the ape incident into Irish Town I pass a motorbike cop (looks exactly like a British bike cop but the bikes are nice 80s vintage CBX750 Honda's in traffic colours) headed towards ape terrorism with genuinely worried look on his face.
Ferry Agents tells me we won’t know if there will be a ferry on Friday until.. Friday. There is some dispute with the Spanish.
I get lunch in Moroccan themed lunch bar. Walking back down Main Street I approach The Convent, the old Governors residence, which has two armed soldiers on guard outside at all times.
Further down the street two fire engines with lights and sirens blazing are headed obviously back in the direction of the ape terrorism. They are being held up by some total fool in a 4x4 (loads of 4x4s in tiny Gibraltar) who is trying to maneuver his vehicle out of the way of the fire engines in medieval streets to allow the fire engines to pass. Driver of 4x4 isn’t taking enough notice of the one traffic cop at the scene. Then the two soldiers (both look under 20) march over to 4x4 with their assault rifles, with polished bayonets fitted, and forceably instruct 4x4 driver to get out of the way of the fire engines. 4x4 driver drives off the road onto pavement immediately and nearly hits a newsagents. Loan traffic cop thanks soldiers who return to their post outside convent.
Fire engines take off headed for other end of Main Street to either rescue and/or restrain apes. Bemused Eastern European tourists take a lot of photos.
I go back to work