The quest for Visa's

Trip Start Jul 13, 2010
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Trip End Jul 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Historic Medina

Flag of Morocco  ,
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

OK, so we arrived in Rabat and set about trying to get Visa's for Mauritania and Mali.  I knew where the embassies were and we set out early on foot.  After walking in the early morning sun for 45mins with no sign of them we decided to head back to the hotel, check out and seek tourist information.  The tourist information centre, reliably pointed out on the map by a very helpful woman on the hotel reception, seemed quite far away and shut at 12:00, we set off in earnest.  After much searching (and just in the nick of time) we found the tourist office.  The only problem being that this was the national tourist office for Morocco, nobody had had information of any sort.  After a short while of using incredibly bad French we found out the tourist office was right next to our hotel (now miles away), gained a German language tourist guide to Rabat (neither of us speak German) and an A1 folding road map for the whole of Morocco.  Its quite funny when you think about it, its like turning up at Boris Johnson's office and asking for a tube map!  Upon leaving the national tourist centre I saw a stress less building (very apt).  We got back in a Taxi, driven by an utter madman and finally reached the tourist information centre.  A very helpful man bundled us back into another Taxi and we were on our way to the embassy.  Rather depressingly the car drove down the same road we initially walked first thing in the morning, the embassies were just further down, to add to low moral the Mauritanian embassy was closed for the day!  I was sure the Malian embassy was just down the road and urged Kk to give it a try... it was open.

The Malian embassy was totally bizarre!  Kk was offered tea, when she said yes the man simply stole the cup of tea from another man, leaving him tea-less.  I too was offered tea and declined, not wanting to strip some other poor sod of their tea.  After a bit of random waiting around the 'official' collected some poorly photocopied sheets for us to fill out.  I was a little concerned that the forms weren't even identical, but shrugged it off.  We filled out the forms, then waited.  A few minutes later the 'official' started singing to Kk.  He sang for around a minute.......

 "moooonnnneeeyyyyyaaaayyyy mooonnnaaayyy muuuuuunnnnaaaayyyyy mooooonaaaaay moonay moonay moonay"

... then stopped abruptly and said "money"!  Apparently annoyed that we hadn't realised this song was actually a request for a cash transaction.  We handed over our passports and 50euros and were told to come back in a few hours.

We returned and to our amazement had newly granted Visa's.

We found a cheaper hotel, which had bed bugs, so slept on the floor.

The next day was more positive and we got a nice hotel, a Mauritanian Visa and transport to the bottom of Morocco, scheduled for the next day.
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