DAY 2 – MALILLA TO NADOR TO TAZAR

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.

DAY 1 – MALLAGA TO MALILLA

Budget wise I made a Great start to my tour by flying with Easyjet to Malaga in Southern Spain and catching a ferry to northern Morocco. This worked out about half the price of the cheapest direct flight to Morocco.

I got into Malaga at 11pm and saved a small fortune on taxis and accommodation by sleeping at the airport. This is my first taste of airport sleeping and it wasn’t that bad. Early the next morning I promptly blew my savings by accidentally booking a cabin on the eight hour ferry to Africa instead of travelling on the deck like a backpacker on a budget should. These things can be quite difficult if you don’t speak any Spanish beyond “hello beautiful”? and “two beers please”?. On the ferry I attached myself to the nicest English couple. John and Emma are aspiring actors studying in Manchester and they paid a small fraction of what I did to spend the entire journey in the comfortable lounge of the ferry. Did I mention that John and Emma speak Spanish?

Today’s destination, Malilla, is a small Spanish enclave in northern Morocco. Malilla works sort of like how Gibraltar works for the English only in this case it’s the Moroccans who are kicking up the fuss and not the Spanish. It’s a nice little town but I can’t say that I’d recommend it to anyone if they weren’t on their way to Morocco.