What are Santiago's first impressions of Tangier, and how does it differ from Spain, in The Alchemist?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago does not like Tangier, and feels out of place there.

Santiago takes the trip to Tangier in order to find his treasure after he has a dream where a child leads him to an Egyptian pyramid. Santiago thinks that Africa is “strange.”  He describes the people as “infidels.”

In just a few hours he had seen men walking hand in hand, women with their faces covered, and priests that climbed to the tops of towers and chanted -as everyone about him went to their knees and placed their foreheads on the ground. (part 1)

He also forgot that the people only spoke Arabic.  He runs into someone who speaks Spanish and learns that most people there do because they are so close to Spain.

Although Santiago likes traveling, he feels uncomfortable in Africa.  He does not seem very open to new cultures or experiences, and is judgemental about the people and the customs.