Holiday in the Interzone – Tangier – Playa Blanca

Holiday in the Interzone – Tangier – Playa Blanca

Tangier, smuggler, Playa Blanca

June was a month full of strange surprises, not the least of which led to me having the month of July to redefine where my income comes from and have some time to play in Morocco. As July started, I found myself working very long hours and discovering that I have all that I need to support my wife and myself as a full time freelance writer. While this situation may or may not be permanent, it is a nice thing to shake off the shackles of wage slavery and find that freedom is indeed possible.
sand castle, Tangiers, Interzone, Morocco, world travel
That freedom led us to Playa Blanca, a small beach just outside of Tangier. The entire Tangier area was once known as the Interzone and made famous by William S. Burroughs in both a short story and in the novel, The Naked Lunch. The story of how the interzone came into being is wrapped up in French and Spanish colonialism and the creation of an ‘international zone’ around the city of Tangier where sovereignty was jointly held by French, Spanish, American, and British governments from 1912 until 1956 when Morocco gained its independence. The Interzone was about 373 square kilometers and had about 60,000 residents. That means that Playa Blanca, where we were staying with friends in a kick ass beach house, fell firmly in the zone, eh interzone.
Sunset in Playa Blanca, Tangier, Morocco
It seems fitting that my first holiday as a re-freed independent writer would be in the same area where writers such as Burroughs, Kerouac, Bowles, Tennessee Williams, and others cavorted and did more than a few questionable things, and I’m happy to say that there was a fair amount of cavorting over the five days we were there, though we kept the questionable things to a minimum. Playa Blanca itself used to be a haven for drug money in the 1980’s when South American drug lords built and bought beach houses there. Prior to that it was a smugglers cove. While it is only a 15 minute drive from Tangier, it is isolated and aside from the houses and one small hanut (food shop) any other purchases require a car or a taxi trip to Tangier which ends up costing about 100 dirham each way.

Here’s the view from our deck:

Tangier, Playa Blanca, Beach house, Africa, Mediterainian

Yes, that’s the Mediterranean Ocean if front of us. Just steps out the door to the beach and while during the weekend, the crowds on the beach swelled, there was plenty of space on the sand in the mornings and later afternoons. We explored tide pools, had nice dinners each night with our friends, read, watched TV, and since I’m now employed via the internet, we had an enforced break from my work since there is no chance of internet there, no cyber cafes, and even my dongle didn’t work…(get your mind out of the gutter).

We built sandcastles, swam, body surfed, and had fires each night and finally, at the end of it all, we got back on the train from Tangier and left the Interzone to come back to Fes.

Playa Blanca is romantic in Morocco, tangiers, beach house
If you’d like to spend some time on Playa Blanca and delve into the interzone yourself, here is the website for the beach house we stayed in.

Tangier Beach House

Now back to work for me…



  1. Your much needed vacation looks awesome – this is one of the reasons I keep telling my wife that we should move – although, I am thinking the Dom Rep – (citizenship is only $75k 8) ) The IM life isn’t bad – especially when clients pay or prospects convert! Kudos for the photos –

  2. Author

    Thanks Nick. Seriously, our little five day trip cost us less than most trips to the grocery store in the USA. Life outside of the US has some awesome advantages. Of course, the fact that the USA is the only country that expects its citizens to continue to pay taxes while living abroad is a good reason to consider that citizenship change…I hear that things in the USA are heading downhill quickly, but it’s hard to tell from Morocco where it seems capital investment may be at an all time high.

  3. Hi V, we live in Canada but are on a border city so we do see and often feel the plight & flight of the yanks. A Bro-inlaw works for a shipping company in Toronto and he tells me that more and more expats are moving back – as well – more US citizens are moving to Canada. He says the shipping requests are getting stacked up. Its alarmingly clear that things aren’t right over there – oftentimes here too… but certainly not as bad there. Just go to … good indication of how things are heading… if you can – rent the movie “idiocacy” – funny but somewhat scary real…

  4. I’ve known you for a LONG LONG time and I must say I have NEVER seen you look happier than this photo of you and Hanane. I can feel the love and joy from you both to each other- half was round the world. Awesome!

  5. Author

    It’s pretty good as long as she isn’t chasing me around the house with a knife…lol.

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