Today we crossed the border into the bad lands of Morocco. The border crossing was pretty wild. It was stinking hot and it looked like something out of a refugee camp that you might see on the news. There were huge piles of rubbish everywhere and hundreds of the unwashed in a massive queue trying to get back into Morocco with anything they could carry. Soldiers with automatic rifles stood on ten-foot high walls shouting at people and while we were there the soldiers dragged off at least four women screaming and wailing at the top of their lungs. Scary stuff. Emma, John and I were the only western people stupid enough to be within one hundred miles of the place. At customs they didn’t know what to make of us and I got the impression that westerners don’t usually use the border crossing between Malilla and Morocco. At least 5 people thumbed through my passport in really rough manner. I started to sweat (in addition to the heat induced sweat) because the photo page on my six year old passport is starting to come apart from the cover. I have heard that this can lead to it being refused, or worse, confiscated at border crossings. After about fifteen minutes of serious passport abuse they decided to let me through with a stern ‘don’t cause any trouble look’. They also didn’t charge me for a visa. I am not sure if this is because I wasn’t supposed to or if they just don’t have the vaguest idea where New Zealand is.
It was a freaky way to enter Morocco to say the least.
On the far side we greeted a local man who spoke English and greeted us by saying “Hello my friends! Where are you from?”? We needed a taxi to Nador and since he was the only person who spoke English he was responsible for sorting out the negotiations. The price was exorbitant but we were all to shaken after the border to put up much a fight so we paid up and got the hell out of there.
Nador is probably pretty average by Moroccan standards but it was my first taste of Africa so I found it quite exciting.