So near and yet so far


Oh Gibraltar! I can see you from where I am, once a day in the morning when the rising sun strikes your face.


Vaguely remembered crossing the airfield to town, bumped into another car, fleeced off 100 pounds, stopped by a bobby for something I can’t remember and didn’t have the mood to tour around.


In my awkward teenage years, my classmates used to tease about my out-of-position tooth calling it the Rock of Gibraltar. I thought they were being mean until I actually saw the rock which does look like an odd canine.


I should visit Gibraltar again – tour St.Michael’s Cave, the WWII tunnels, military museum, Moorish castle, the steps or go shopping.


Karen who has been there before brought me to a travel agent to enquire. Yes there are daily tours for 38 euros pickup point opposite the resort at 8.50am, 4-5 hours in Gibraltar, leaving at 4.30pm for Costa del Sol, arriving anytime from 6pm depending on the border controls.


No, don’t take chances, Stanley advised, unless I’m prepared to be stuck for at least 2 hours at immigration. Tensions have been building up between Spain and British Gibraltar in the past years resulting in long jams at the border. A simple crossing could take several hours without knowing when you’ll get back.


The day I was supposed to join the tour, there was a Royal Navy warship stand-off with a Spanish patrol boat over an alleged incursion into the Rock’s waters. Planes were seen flying around the coast, an uncommon exercise. Seems that the Spanish vessels have been entering Gibraltar’s territory as a form of harassment and UK is fed-up with it.


You wonder why. Gibraltar originally belonged to Spain until the early 18th century when it was given forever to Britain in a certain Utrecht event probably by men who had never been to Spain or this stony gatepost to the Mediterranean.


Don’t want to dig too much into history or get caught in the crossfire of the two sovereigns. For now, I’ll just to admire Gibraltar from the distance and maybe someday soon will be back to its shore.


Joan Yap


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