from my travel journal: 1 may 07
Yesterday was one of the craziest days, perhaps of my life. It definitely rates up there with an Egypt day. As the bus (from downtown Ceuta) took us closer to the Moroccan border, the state of buildings, roads, even people declined. When we finally got off, it felt like no man’s land. It was all barbed wire, caged paths, and disorder.
The Berbers ran parallel to us, up on the mountains. Later, Paul said he thought they were going to get shot. So did I. I didn’t realize they were rushing to meet people whom they knew and to get their wares ready to haggle people whom they saw as worthy targets, like us.
The experience also felt sandy, maybe because of all of the beige. And the fact that we could almost make it to the duty-free(?), caged chaos area with Moroccans, then backtrack to the car lanes, then go back to talk to the Spanish officer for questions, and then return to the lanes was completely mystifying and plain crazy. Quite surreal. Finally we got the proper stamps at one of the many booths sandwiched between the car lanes.
I almost died when the Moroccan officer–blocking my admittance by sitting on his stool–looked at my passport and couldn’t find the stamp which we had just ricocheted through lanes and officers to get. (Why do border officers stamp over other ones when there are passport pages of empty space?)
So the guy on his stool, directing the cars through the ramshackle tracks stopped me and wouldn’t let me pass. Thankfully his colleague sauntered out and found the Moroccan stamp, faintly sandwiched on an overused page.
Walking across a border is so political. So refugee-like. Now we may actually take the ferry back from Tangier. That idea emphasizes just how bizarre walking across was. Hustlers sound more palatable and predictable.