TANGER MED – AN UNEXPECTED ADVENTURE

Surprise! 

After those few days of forced rest (we obviously complained a lot but hey… we have to adapt!), we finally take the ferry and cross the strait. Sunny and windy, so far so good. We take the car out of the boat and present ourselves to customs. Now that’s when things when bad… Well they did, 2 hours later, when a custom officier came to check us… His first question was very clear « Do you have a drone? ». Well… hum… hhh… yes…?

Let’s say that we didn’t see it coming… That question was really not expected! The custom officer, thrilled, ask Toni to give it to him and to follow him. And just like that, we learned that importing a drone in Morocco is completely forbidden. We’re stunned, by the consequences as well as our stupidity. Not that we have had a million opportunities to check on internet… They kindly inform us that it is no problem, that we can buy one for a very cheap price, right here in Morocco… Well, what a good news really!!

Strictly applying the rules, the custom officiers call the judiciary police in, and proudly take pictures of our drone with their phones while waiting for them. They arrive half an hour later, and ask to follow them with our vehicle to their offices. They will keep Toni for another two and a half hours before releasing him, the sentence clear but also giving us a way out: we have 45 days to cross back to Spain, with our drone, or it’s a gift for the government.

 

First night

It is now past 10PM, and it is nearly impossible to find a campsite in the dark. We land in the city of Fnideq, already bitter and looking for a hotel to spend the night. We’re welcomed in by some teenagers looking for trouble and throwing eggs on the car… What a start!! We finally find a place and eat a rapid dinner before going in the room we share with Ebrahim. I throw myself in the shower only to discover that the cleaning team has forgotten the bathroom… And that it really is not clean.

Toni goes down to ask if there might be another available room, but he faces a hard no, and that we can leave if we’re not happy with the one we have. Let me tell you that after what we’d been through, it didn’t take him for than 5 minutes to come back with the keys of not one, but two other rooms!! At last, something good… We finally fall asleep, furious and angry, mostly with ourselves.

 

First day

We spend the next morning considering our possibilities: turn around and change our plans to visit Europe (oh yes, angry as we were, we really did consider), or continue without the drone? We finally take the only decision making sense. Toni will cross back, on foot, to ship the drone back to France from Gibraltar, before taking the boat back to Morocco.

We enjoy the rest of day wondering around, and looking for a campsite for the night. Not so easy in this area where a lot of people try to cross illegally at night. Military forces, asked by Europe to guard the frontier, are everywhere and we need to negotiate to be allowed to spend the night. They finally accept and assign an officer, who will spend the night circling around us with his rifle on and his dog to keep us safe… A little strange but everything went well.

 

The waiting marathon

In the morning, we head to the customs at 8am with a firm intention to get this done quickly. But from there it will take Toni 16 hours (without eating and without even a book) to manage to get the drone back, take the boat on foot (the fact that entered the country with a vehicle really didn’t help), find a post office and ship the drone back, and finally catch the last boat to come back…

Meanwhile, Toni having signed a paper stating that no one would use the vehicle in his absence, Ebi and I are assigned to stay on the parking lot, not really what we had planned! But we have no choice and end up making friends with the security officer posted here. His smile and genuine fondness is contagious and soon we feel a lot better! At night fall, he shares his dinner with us, carefully prepared and packed by his wife. Bean soup with some bread, fresh fruit juice and fruits for desert…

It is way past 11PM when Toni finally comes back. Tired, we drive south and stop in the first hotel we find. I must look completely desperate when asking for a room, because the manager laughed telling me that of course, we can have a room… Better than that, we can have a suite for the same price! Checking the time on the phone, it’s past midnight… It indeed is a new day, and it starts pretty well!

Comments(2)

  1. Ross Backhouse says

    Hi Guys, Finally found time to sit & read your adventures. Plus look at the wonderful photos. We leave on our travels on 22 July, first stop HK, then Scotland & UK, followed by Guernsey, then a rapid transit of France to a wedding in Muenster followed by a leisurely trip South along the French/German border region before crossing to Hungary, Czech Republic, more Germany & finally Holland. On our way to Australia we have a few days in Kuala Lumpur, then 2 weeks with our family in Perth before returning to NZ. Ross has been working at Sherrington Honey since the beginning of the year. He does the factory work and really enjoying it. It will be hard for both of us to return to work in November. Travel safely, Ross & Kit

    • Solenne says

      Hello guys!! It is good to hear from you 😉 It looks like you’re on quite an adventure as well!! Wanna add some extra kilometres and come to Africa?? You’d be more than welcome! Safe travels also and all the best for what’s to come!! Cheers, Solenne & Toni

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