Port Bou

Here the Africa-Europe transition zone called Spain, with it's shabby infrastructure, shouting people,� and landscapes of strash-strewn tagged-up cities, gives way to France's pruned trees and silent streets. Civilization begins with a change of rails. The Spanish dictator Franco had the tracks built to an odd width to isolate the country. You are still obliged, more than 20 years after his death, to pass through an hour long mechanical process in Port Bou where the wheels are adjusted to euro-standard.� Next come the cops. In theory there is no more hard border between any two Schengen-area EU nations, so this is, in reality, a second line of defense against the dark continent. Sarkozy would be proud- Arabs, Africans, and hippies are singled out for scutiny. Every train leaves the station lighter by a few passengers, hauled off to some detention center for not having their papers in order. If you drive there is no apparent border. Or you can fly to france (it's even cheaper), once again no border controls.� But most immigrants w/o papers don't have personal vehicles nor credit cards to buy online tickets, so the Immigration Police lurk here in Port Bou like spiders.