Oujda – Food! Movie and chilled out
13 Jan 13
Taxi to Bni Enzar
Walk to Spain
Walk around Spanish Enclave
Its the 12th today. A very uninspiring day. Stayed in, watched a movie and chilled out. This was due to the fact that you can’t judge a book by its cover. We have been eating street food all over Morocco, mostly without incident. However on coming back to a city, we decided on a meal in a restaurant, as we had been living off said street food for a while, and thought it would be a pleasant change. This turned out to be a mistake, and we are paying for it today! ‘Nuf said
A busy day today. Not sure if our visa is for three months or 90 days. Unfortunately there is a difference, and we want to make sure we stay within the law. We caught a bus up to Nador in the morning. Here we travelled through rolling hills and green pastures. Olive trees again. This was OK as we haven’t seen them for a week or two, and you start to miss them.
After arriving in Nador, we didn’t have time to stay and check out the place, anyway we are planning on doing this on our way back. We found the Grand taxi station, and started our negotiations to go to Melillia, One of the Spanish Enclaves on the Moroccan side of the Med. It was 50Dh to go to the border, or 16Dhgto go to Bni Enzar. This is a port town right by the boarder, and we thought why waste the extra money? It took a bit of negotiating, as they didn’t want to take us collective, but we got our way in the end. The drive out was not that far. Only about 20km or so. Most of the place is fairly well built up now, and there is not a huge difference between the two towns. On arriving at the taxi station, we were told by the driver to go around the next corner and walk straight. This would take us to the border. On going around the corner, we could see the border post about 100m away. Not sure why there was such a big price difference, other than a last ditched effort to get some more money out of the tourists.
Walking up to the customs point, we were approached by people saying they were officials and had the paper work needed to cross over. Saying we were not interested and would get it at customs itself, they kept pushing. On further clarification, they again said they were officials, and not after money. We took the immigration cards proffered, and filled them out, only to find the hand up afterwards. We disputed this, and told them to get stuffed. If you lie to me, don’t expect any money. They were a bit put out by this, but didn’t cause any problems. Probably because there are police around, and we had a fair point. Oh how we are looking forward to Spain, in this respect.
Going out of the country was fairly easy. We walked up, found a doorway that was half open, and passed our paper and passports through. Stamped out and told to continue on. Walking over no-man’s land was a blast. It had been raining, and there were puddles and pot holes everywhere. Even more surprising was the amount of buildings here.
On the Spanish side, we were given another piece of paper. Filled out and passports. I was duly stamped into the country, and the immigration person waved Anna through. “EU – No Stamp!” And that was it! So much easier than flying.
We wandered over to the bus stop, and then realised we had no euro to pay for the bus ride into the city. When the bus did come, it was not a problem, and they took Dirhams. Our change was in Dirhams. It must happen a lot, as even the receipt was in Dirhams! (the exclamation point is for the receipt) It was a bit surprising, as the bus seemed to be full of Moroccans that had been shopping and were heading home to Melillia
At the main roundabout, we started looking for a hotel. There was one, but at Euro 75 we thought we could do better and wandered around a bit more. The city is not overflowing with hotels, but we did find a hostel at half the price. Still a shock to the system after Morocco. However it is Europe, even if we had hoped for Moroccan prices. The only issue is that it May be European prices, but definitely Moroccan quality. Still, its only for two nights.
Going back out, we found the drizzle had eased up a bit, and we went in search of food. There were plenty of places around, but they were all closed. The town also seemed to be a bit of a ghost town. Only then did we realise it was Sunday.
Everything is closed. We did find one place serving street sandwiches, and grabbed two, then went to find a supermarket. During the walk the wind picked up, and it was bitterly cold. There was garbage blowing everywhere, and it was not the idyllic walk around a coastal town you would expect. We did find a supermarket though. It was closed.
Walking back to the hotel, resigning ourselves about going hungry, we came across a small shop on a side street that was open, and we were able to pick up the ingredients to a rudimentary sandwich. On the up side, we also picked up a cask of wine to wash it down.
Back in our run down hostel, we made our pathetic sandwiches, wrapped in every blanket we could find, and drank wine that had more in common with vinegar than grapes. A good start to my first trip to Spain.