Two months ago, I was in Morocco with my backpack and my girlfriend, crossing the country from south to north. Somebody told us how cheap was to get across the strait of Gibraltar with ferry, so we checked and found one in the early early morning from Tanger MED to Algeciras for 20€.
Tanger MED is not the city’s main port if not a secondary one 50km away, so we imagined that it would be more comercial, quite left behind and almost without passengers. Well, we guessed totally right.
We got there at midnight and we were practically alone, with the exception of a couple of guys selling the tickets. We validated ours that we had booked on internet and went to pass the control.
Here the fun begins. After having the passports checked, we advanced until the control room, where there was a half-asleep guy, a conveyor belt where to place the backpacks and the common arch that detects metal. We put the backpacks in the belt and we got ready to pass the arch. The man didn’t even look at the screen with the scan of our backpacks and he gave us a sign to keep on going. Right after passing the arch, I noticed that I hadn’t take off my bum bag (so I had with me the phone, camera, wallet, coins, etc) so I told him I had forgotten and that I would take it off and pass by again. The guy told me it was not necessary and that I should move forward. We did so and few meters after, the following thought came to my mind: I had passed the control full of metals and it didn’t even beeped. Come on, the machine was not even connected…
My girlfriend and me commented this like “Mother of God,what a country Morocco” without knowing that the worst was yet to come.
We kept on going and we took the bus that would take us to the platform with the ferry. The bus, evidently, was totally empty. Once in the platform we met the only passenger that we are aware that travelled that night with us, a 30 something year old moroccan guy. We got inside of the ferry and we did what we were looking forward: Sleep in the first sofa that we saw.
After 3 hours more or less one cabin crew girl woke us up telling us that we had arrived already. The route was supposed to take one hour and a half and finally it took almost the double, but I’ll not complain about this, we could sleep more than we expected.
We went out of the ferry and we found basically a ghost port. There was nobody nowhere and everything was superdirty and like half construction. Anyway, we kept on going, looking for the exit and there was no way, there were one thousand platforms and not even one signal. We ended up trying one by one, until we got to a police control. This, for a change, was totally empty too and even there was a police tape that didn’t let pass by.
In front of all this confussion, we decided to go back to the same ferry and ask directly to the first worker that we saw where was the exit. So we did and the guy was giving us indications to get to the same police control where we had been already before. We told him it was not possible, that we just came from there and there was nobody, and he answered that it was normal, that at this hour a lot of times the agents would be inside having some sleep and that we should go to this room to wait that some agent would see us in the camera. Unbelivable.
Anyway, we went back to the police control, that was still deserted, left the backpacks and sat down. Five minutes passed, and ten, and even fifteen and nobody was showing up. We began to shout “Hello”, followed by “Is there someone there?”, having always the same answer: our own echo. We began to jump in front of their cameras so maybe somebody will get out. And nothing, the same.
We asked ourselves then if maybe the real police control wouldn’t be more in the end and this wouldn’t be in construction only. We decided to pass the tape, still shouting “Hello”, and we got until the next door, that we saw later that was the last one.
When we were about to get across it, a couple of port security men appeared, so we asked about the control. They checked in the cabin and they said that they were not there, but that we could simply pass by. Seeing my confusion face, they asked me where I was from and when I said Barcelona they told me that perfect, that I should go. Still confused I asked about my girlfriend, and they asked again where she was from and when I said from Italy, they told that Spain and Italy were like brothers, so we should just go.
Right in this moment appeared, finally, a couple of policemen in the control, and when I made a signal, passport hand held, to go there to check it they deny it with the head and pointed to the door.
So finally, and after more than one hour between comings and goings we crossed it. Without any control, of passport or luggage, by any spanish police. Not us, neither the other moroccan guy I guess, neither any other passenger that may travel with us. And even if the route is not the most transited, I dare to say that I’m sure that it is not the first or second time that something like this happens.
Personally this bothers me, and a lot, this lack of professionality because later these are the same ones who don’t let you pass some nonsense thing in the controls, they alert you how close we have ISIS and the danger that we run, and even worse, ultimately they are the same ones who provide us the disgusting images of civil police beating up immigrants in the fence of the border so they don’t jump it. Neither that much, nor that almost nothing. Neither showing police hostility nightstick hand held, nor a police border control empty.
Well, it’s been said already that “Spain is different” and is so right this slogan. Unfortunately, but is so so right.