After 4 full days, the police asked us to leave to Ceuta border and head to the Tanger Med Isolation Camp that the Moroccan government had set up for all of us stuck campers that weren’t allowed to cross into and ferry back to Spain.
Instead of parking near the group of other campers, we drove to the far end of the lot which was empty. After so many days not being outside, the kids finally had some room to stretch their legs.
But the empty side didn’t stay empty for long… at least we were positioned in the corner and had a little more space.
As soon as we were parked, a man came by and started to disinfect all the campers and belongings that were outside. We quickly grabbed all of the kids toys and chairs to prevent it from being soaked in chemicals and eventually stored into our van.
This parking lot we were in was just that. A parking lot. Nothing else. The government was adding required camping infrastructure as this was all happening. The temporary sewer dump ended going down a ditch near us and quickly got clogged. The smell was not pleasant. Our awesome New Zealand friends Simon and Cheri got to work to clogged it by moving gravel and other things that were compounding the issue. Eventually, tractors dug huge holes in the ground with black tank septic tanks that solved this issue.
More and more campers showed up and we were moved into the very corner of the lot. One of our new neighbors walked over to the ditch next to us and started peeing. I started to yell at him and point to my kids. And then he came back a second time to dump his bucket of black water in the ditch shortly after. I’m a quiet person and avoid confrontation but I had enough and he got an earful. Some people dumped their toilets into the street near Ceuta and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the same guy.
Use the proper sewer dump, man!
The next day, the government laid down power cables and now all the campers could plug in to recharge their batteries.
Portable toilets were also brought in case you needed to use them. And large trash cans.
There was a caravan that had happy hours every evening and hung out very closely together.
Us? We chose to keep our distance from everyone.
Officials started coming around asking questions about our health and started recording names, nationalities and license plate numbers.
Some of the campers really didn’t keep their distance from anyone which made us nervous.
People kept walking through our corner camp spot and we had enough. We set up a makeshift fence around our door and that helped resolve the issue.
Good news? A ferry was finally secured to France. Bad news? It’s really expensive. 2200 euros for a family of four with a camper and room. Not sure how much an extra person was going to cost us. Ouch. Especially since we already had a round trip ticket purchased back in February.
The government also had makeshift grocery store selling basic goods like bread, water, eggs, fruits and veggies.
How are we getting updates while here? The Croatian embassy in Morocco has been a tremendous help. We get calls and messages multiple times a day. They are in talks with the German and French government to figure this situation out. We also have their undivided attention since we are the only Croatian citizens in this parking lot of 500 campers. Did I also contact the US embassy? Yes. Did they respond to any of my requests? Nope.
I’m taking this a huge sign that we’ll be able to board the ferry tomorrow.
We’ve had officials come by multiple times to confirm we are actually citizens and residences of the EU. Our California plated van gets us in that predicament. Only EU citizens are currently allowed to board the French ferry that is on its way. Thank goodness I applied to be a dual citizen all those years ago. Came in super handy today.
Kids are in good spirits as always. They just go with the flow.
Silly faces from Mila.
Dan and I? We are super stressed. It wasn’t easy this past week or two. Between saving puppies, deciding to leave the Agadir campground, dealing with road blocks, having to deal with people who aren’t as concerned as us about the virus, people literally dumping crap near us. and making so many decisions on what feels right for our family. It’s wearing on us. You can see it on our faces in the videos Dan made during this time (that I link below).
A few weeks ago while in the Sahara Desert, I put up an IG post saying “I grew up hearing stories about my grandmother and great grandmother living in the Sahara as refugees during WW2. So I always associated the Sahara with that moment in my family’s history. But here I am now, adding to my family’s story in this beautiful desert.”
And then later I wrote this “Remember when I said my great-grandmother and grandmother were stuck in Africa once and how I wasn’t… yeah… spoke too soon.” (My Nona Ivka 2nd from the left in the top row and Nona Dinka on the right in the bottom row. El Shatt Refugee Camp, Egypt, 1944. )
Here is a playlist of the “Stuck in Morocco” videos Dan put together. It also includes a tour of the Tanger Med Isolation camp we called home for a bit.
Thanks for following along,