One heck of a boarder crossing


Once we arrived on the African Continent Mom and Dad felt they were still a bit shaky from the boattrip. You can feel your body sweated because your armpits smell, your feet inside your sneakers are on fire and you are not hungry nor thirsty because your stomic did not appreciate the afternoon rollercoasterin’. BUT.. life goes on, so we decided to go for the boarder crossing to enter Morocco and find a spot to sleep. Hindside we probably would have liked it better to wait for a new day with new energy…

We drove up to the boarder with Morocco and on our way we met a lot of landrovers from the groups on our ferry. We saw them driving around and thought they were all looking for their meeting spot. As it terns out they were not. We entered the line at the Spanish boarder side and two Moroccon men in army suits start screaming and waving at us…Oh Nooo what did we do wrong? The only words they could give us were TICKET, TICKET…! GO AWAY…TICKET!
Our response was: ‘ What ticket, Where do we get a ticker?’ The response: ‘ Follow that car…Go Go Go NOW!’. We didn’t see any car in front of us so we thought: What Car????

We had asked on the boat to receive and fill out an immigration card as we had read in our travel book. But the lady said we didn’t have to do that anymore. We left the boarder and parked besides the road trying to figure out what ticket we should get where…We saw a Spanish Landrover with a couple we talked to on the boat and they said to follow some yellow signs with text that made no sense. They waited for their friends to verify and would catch up with us later because they didn’t know either. Previous years there was no TICKET needed, they said. Not knowing what we were looking for we followed one yellow sign. Then a roundabout followed heading either to a village area or a big parking with people in orange saftey vests, but no yellow sign! We still didn’t know what it was and why we should park there. Maybe we need to walk to an office somewhere to get the ticket? and is this ‘ticket’ an immigration card? Do I have to pay for the ticket? Does every person need a ticket? Or do you need one ticket per car? Does the ToughTail (our travel trailer) need a separate ticket? What is the mystery behind this ticket…!

We get guided into a line of 2 cars, just to the right oftwo other lanes with 6 cars. They are all inside the car and the motor is off. We try to ask the guy that guides us to our spot and ask if this is the line for a ticket and he says: You wait here! What am I waiting for? For how long because I have doggos that eventually will have to go potty…Hello? Anyone…? Nope: Just…wait here just like everybody else in this trap of lanes on this huge parking lot, in the sun. Then we see other cars from our boat entering this huge parking going into other lines to our right. Then the first line (two rows to the left) are all of a sudden allowed to drive off with a ticket. Perhaps to the boarder? Now we figured out that most likely this is just a waiting area. To prevent one huge trafic jam from the boath, through Ceuto up to the Moroccon boarder. Which is very likely to happen in the middle of the holiday season. Every 15 minutes the next row gets released and soon enough also we get a ticket.

With the Willy-Wonka-Golden Ticket in our hand we drive up to the boarder a little bit insecure. The guy remembers our car and says: Ticket now??? And we proudly give him the ticket. The guard says Welcome…NOW GO TO BOARDER! Okay yes sir!!

The boarder is expected to take up around 2 hours and leaving the Spanish side is easy. Slow but easy. No hard questions about th trailer, Mom or Dad, tickets or us doggos. We don’t have to open anything up, we are free to leave Spain and Europe. Before we get in line for the Moroccon boarder we have to drive through a checkup by the police and boarder security. Then we were let through to pick a lane for the actual boarder check. With our talent for ALWAYS picking the wrong line (also in all stores we always pick the new cashier or slow line that needs price information etc) we fearfully choose a line together and go for it. Once parked in line the waiting game starts. Mom started making bowties from the fabrics she brought on this trip, to sell in our store: Finleys Bowties . She even joked around how many she would be able to make during this boarder crossing.Little did she know… Sooo adorable when she is optimistic like that!

Soon enough we have to move the car a bit because all scooters and motors have to stand and wait in our line too. Luckily later we discovered that this did not make the line being any slower then other lines. Now only two cars in front of us and then it is our turn. Mom and Dad had a quick bite and drink in the car just now, as they don’t want to be disrespectful towards any people in Ramadan later in Morocco. Still feeling weird from the boat so a big lunch is not welcome at this moment in time. Moving along and only one more car in front of us. We are second in line when officers start to show up at our line pointing at our car. Asking us if we are part of any group or if we are traveling alone. We have no clue if our answer “alone” is taken either good or bad but the fuzz around our car is not yet over. The people around us start noticing the fuzz too and everyone (around 200 humans) are all looking and pointing at us. RIGHT…NOW WHAT…? One of the officers in a suede jacket threw us a bone and said: “There is a problem with your car, you cannot enter”. What..?Wait…? What now…? Come back… Why…Hellow sir…?
Then someone else popped in and gathered 6 to 8 officers around the hood of our car, pointing at Morocco on the map. Dad jumped out the car to check what was going on. However stepping out of the car without consent is NOT allowed nor appreciated. In the meantime Mom was already a bit gone and out of her head floating around safely in our car. Nesto is in a deep sleap and I am super curious to meet all these new human friends. I decide to sit on Dads seat for as long as he is outside talking to the people. We slowly understand that there is a problem with the map on the hood of our car. So it appears the Western Sahara and Morocco do not have the exact same color. But this appears to be a sensitive topic. In conclusion: The map has to come off completely, you will get a red ‘DENIED’ stamp in your passports and you can come back once again. End of story and no buts or ifs. Go back into your car and go away.

‘No entry today!’

As we are not yet sure who the spokes person or person in charge is… we struggle to get a proper conversation, because everybody shouts something and the vibe feels heated and iritated. Even from my spot in Dads seat I can see he is getting frustrated by all the fuzz. They will not let him talk and that starts to frustrate him. So…after waiting this long it is finally our turn and here we are blocking the entire line because they want us to leave and we want to talk/negociate/explain that we bought the map like this and it was a standard worldmap. Response: “No the map is WRONG! No Entry!” Mom and Dad take a second and overthink the situation. In the meantime they still hold our passports with them. We ask them:

  • Can we cover the incorrect card section with a sticker –> ‘NO STICKER’
  • Can we color Morocco and Western sahara black with permanent marker –> ‘Yes same color!’

Okay so we are getting somehere…when the suede jacket comes back and says “Remove all map then come back”.
We didn’t want to leave and get more confusing issues the next day so we kept trying. In the meantime everybody from other lines started asking what is the problem and saying we are in deep shit… Thank you but not helping!!!
Then Dad asks the guy if we can cutout the Morocco and Sahara section so the original color of our car shows again, making both the same color. The Suede guy says “YES, YES…REMOVE… ONE COLOR”. Allright… we have a second yes, keep going DAD!!
Then Dad takes out his stanley knife from his repair kit and starts cutting the map on the hood. While everyone is watching, screaming, running back and forth, more officers with badg, more drama tourists around our car. The fuzz is making Mom and Dad uncomfortable, but not me! I LOVE being in the spotlight and getting alllllll the attention. But meanwhile Dad is cutting away on the hood Mom realizes that actually everyone has forgotten about us doggos and our rabies documents, the lots and lots and lots of Meds for Mom and Nesto in our car or even the trailer entering Morocco on the same license plate as the car (which was why we got denied entering Armenia in 2019). This map became the most perfect distraction EVER! Nobody even seem to notice we had an elderly dog sleeping in the back of the car.

Before we could go to customs in the next booth, the suede guy says we need to write Morocco on the map now. So Mom took a permanent marker and was allowed to write ‘Marokko’ in Dutch on the original paint layer of the hood. The atmosphere changed fast and everyone smiled all of a sudden. Dad got a handshake and we got a ‘Welcome to Morocco my friend!’. We even got the chance to explain to them we did not want to offend anyone and that we are happy we could solve it. We got all the stamps we needed and customs did not ask us to unload our entire truck and/or trailer. We were allowed to go…!

Original map with Morocco and Western Sahara in two colors
Cut-out section of Morocco INCLUDING the western sahara

The heated and tense faces we got earlier versus the happy, smiling faces and waving hands was a difference between night and day. And all of us humanz lived happily ever after…

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