Thursday, March 19, 2017 | Spain – Andalusia, Sevilla | Petra
THE WORLD APPEARS DIFFERENT TO EACH OF US
There is one quite exciting story about our entry to Morocco we kept a secret until now. As a precaution we wanted to report about only when we are back on European ground. You never know …
In January when we arrive at Tanger Med and roll off the ferry from Spain, the friendly officer at the port signals to park our vehicle on the side. All the others caravans are allowed to move on to the customs. Our passports he retains.
The world map which once was painted on the side of our cabin full size by an artist, attracts the attention of the friendly officer. It’s not an interest in art, we learn immediately.
The problem is an elementary mistake of content in the world painting of the year 2004. We learn that there is no Western Sahara, but only a common Morocco, no two separate areas as shown on our map. That must not be, the borderline on the map has to be removed.
“Just remove it” is not an option for us because the map isn’t just a sticker. It is a handmade painting, painted with brush and paint and substantially sealed with several layers of clear lacquer. We accept to stick with a beige tape over the mistake and make it thus invisible.
Meanwhile more than nine officials, superintendents, no decision makers decision maker’s assistants and main decision makers rally around our map and discuss the problem. In addition a lot of phone calls have to be made and pictures to be taken of the corpus delicti.
No, taping is not enough. We have to remove the mistake completely. To scrape off. Even the argument that the map is “historical” and more than 13 years of age, does not convince anybody.
My graphic designer’s brain runs at full speed. “Why didn’t I take my acrylic paint and brushes with me? I could have worked miracles. What else do I have in the pocket that I could use as paint? Red, mauve and black nail polish is no solution at this moment”, it flashes through my mind.
Finally Win and I take it in turns to stand on the ladder and patiently scrape away the borderline and the ten letters of “Westsahara” from the varnish with scalpel and a sharp outdoor knife until deep furrows are left. Win’s heart was bleeding due to mishandling of surface. But what’s the point? You have to make sacrifices to travel the world.
After some minutes of heavy treatment it looks quite good – to our taste. Remember: Our passports are still in safe keeping by the police.
After a critical appraisal by many pairs of eyes, we are requested to remove the lighter lines which occured due to scraping. I rummage around in my graphic bag of tricks and decide for a correction pen for wood with the proper color Maroccan brown (“Cherry tree” is printed on). Due to the fact the glazing paint may dry smear-proof but not waterproof, the Gentlemen don’t accept the result.
Now it’s the turn of my nail polish, the colorless clear lacquer of my beauty assortment. I paint whole Morocco and seal the brown wood glaze with it. Finally I am entitled to write a second MOROCCO diagonally across the complete land area with my black permanent Edding (A gift of my friend Barbara from the year 2009 – who would have thought it?). After that again another sealing with nail polish.
We are stretched to the breaking point …
Photographs and phone calls again, after that we get our passports back, copies taken. You never know …
All officials are very friendly. They assure us that they just want to make sure that we don’t get into trouble in their country due to our incorrect map.
With a friendly “welcome to Morocco and good time” we are allowed to move on to the customs. We are well known there due to the fact that a certain reputation precedes us. Now one hour of delay for adjusting the map turns out to be an advantage. The customs clearance is prompt and we quickly get to the almost empty motor way. This is how we experience our first hours on the African mainland.
A exceeding aspect of the story is the fact that the Kingdom of Morocco is the only one who takes the view, there is no Western Sahara and it is all Morocco.
Wikipedia is explaining the details more precisely than I am able to do:
The Western Sahara conflict is an ongoing conflict between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco. The conflict is the continuation of the past insurgency by Polisario against the Spanish colonial forces in 1973–75 and the subsequent Western Sahara War between the Polisario and Morocco (1975–91). Today the conflict is dominated by unarmed civil campaigns of the Polisario Front and their self-proclaimed SADR state to gain fully recognized independence for Western Sahara. …
This experience resonates inside us quite a while. We would have never expected to get grilled once due to a graphic offense. Even in Croatia we have never been approached upon the fact that our map still shows the former Yugoslavia.
Australia ist cut off half on our map, New Zealand is missing completely and Russia fell victim to our living room window …
How can we prepare our map for the future in a more tolerable way for the world? We’ll give it a serious consideration.