Welcome to Morocco!
It’s been an extremely long and tiring day. As usual, straight after Fajr we set out from the car park we stayed at, making our way to the port. We managed to get an early night last night, as we more or less had yesterday off and spent it looking for a place where we could have a shower. Me and a few brothers tried one of the local hotels in Algeciras, but the owner, a Muslim, didn’t allow us to, unless we rented the room, so we didn’t bother. Although we didn’t manage to get a shower we found some decent food in one of the local shops which made up for it.
After leaving this morning for the port, we caught the 9.30 ferry to Tangier, Morocco, which was surprisingly quick and only took about 45 minutes. A few brother did feel a bit sick but I don’t think anyone actually threw up.
Clearing the customs upon arrival wasn’t too hard, alhumdulillah, just the usual time-consuming ‘procedures’ of so many different officers taking your number plate, with uniformed and non-uniformed officers running around, making it out as if they’ve actually got something to do. In fact it’s very comical and looks like a chaotic scene from a down-town market place.
Another thing that we find amusing is their need for so many traffic policemen all doing the same thing, ushering us on, one in front of the other. I suppose the local people must appreciate that we’ve come, they probably saved a lot of money getting away from the bribes they would’ve had to pay if the cops weren’t busy with us.
When going through borders you usually have to submit a ‘manifesto’ which is a list of the contents of the vehicle. Most of the times its more of a formality and I can’t imagine them doing anything more than just chucking them in the bin once we’ve left. In fact today the guy at the customs forgot to take it off us, which proved our theory, as surely if it was that important, he wouldn’t of forgot.
We were slightly disappointed he forgot, as due to boredom, we thought we’d be a bit cheeky and write down the different flavours of pot noodle we had, to go on our ‘official’ paperwork. Well…we found it funny at the time; it’s hard to take these officials and there improvised formalities serious. We enjoy winding them up, we do it all the way. It’s like being back at school and giving the cover teacher a hard time.
After entering Morocco, we headed towards Fez where we stopped on the way to have a meal in a local restaurant. It’s really nice to see the generosity of people, when a Moroccan man who lives in France offered to pay for our food, may Allah reward him. He felt upset that the Moroccan’s charged us toll fee’s when they’re fully aware that we’ve come for a humanitarian purpose and we felt that we shouldn’t have had to pay.
Although we did pay in France and Spain, at least we were free to roam and go where we pleased. Here in Morocco, it’s as if they can’t make their mind up if we’re prisoners or guests. They don’t allow us to go anywhere without police escort and it’s totally unnecessary, they say it’s for our safety, but I don’t believe a word of that.
We’ve passed through France and Spain with no problem, what are they anticipating will happen to us in such a big group. Had we truly been guests, then they would have wavered the toll charge.
They’ve arranged a very nice hotel for us, but again, it’s more for keeping tabs on us than anything else. We call it guantanimotel and last convoy they made it very difficult for us to leave from this hotel. It’s the exact same hotel as the first convoy and it’s very strange to be back at the same hotel but at the same time I’m happy I can get a nice hot shower and get a comfy nice sleep.
It’s 1 in the morning and I feel shattered, I hope I haven’t been babbling on too long, take care and keep us all in your dua’s.