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Bike in the desert
The Bike in the Atlas Mountains


Green Card at the Morocco border - 1997

"Hello, what your name?"

"Er, pardon?" I said as I pulled off my helmet.

"My name is A$*&#@l, what your name?" the man in white robes repeated.

"Oh, Martin." I mumbled.

"Follow me Martin, I official guide, I show you what do." said the white robed man pointing to his official looking badge as he headed towards the row of custom's buildings. Not sure what else to do I followed him.

"OK Martin first go that building, get green form, go that building, get white form. Fill white form; take green form that building with passport. Take green card there, then...!"

Half an hour later found me standing at a counter trying to explain why I didn't have a green card.

"This no green card." the guard huffed, throwing my insurance certificate back at me. "Where green card?"

"This good for Morocco." I said imitating his pidgin English and shoving the certificate back. "My insurance company told me so."

"No green card, where say Morocco?" The certificate came flying back.

I scanned the document for the word Morocco, but was unable to find it. Swearing profusely I gave-up and stomped back to the man in white robes.

Back at home my insurance company had assured me that I didn't need a green card for Morocco. Sceptical at the time I deferred to their greater wisdom, and in the event I end up paying 8,000 dirhams (50) for insurance at the border (a nasty phone call recouped the loss upon my arrival back in the UK).

Finally, a cursory search of my bags by a grumpy looking guard, mostly intent on knowing whether I was carrying a gun, and I was free to go!

"OK Martin, I help you, now you help me." The man in white robes held a sweaty hand under my nose.

Not completely unexpected, I dug into my newly changed stash of dirhams and produce a few coins which I deposited into the waiting hand. As a disgusted look formed on his face I sped-off across the border leaving his curses to die on the wind.


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