Western Sahara Part 1

A travel experience during the global pandemic

I almost didn't make it, but my stubbornness and resilience ended up paying

off. Alicante-Madrid by train, recently vaccinated (3 hours before) with the

second dose of the anti-covid vaccine.  Night in a hostel in the center of Madrid.

After a horrible night with fever and body aches, exhausted, I arrive at the

airport…. I don't even know how I managed to get here, but after a few hours,

late in the morning, I feel the energy slowly coming back to my body. I have a

flight to Marrakesh and from there another one to Dakhla, in Western Sahara,

with a stop in Casablanca. Yes, it is absurd to go up north and then back down

to the south, but it was the only thing I found at a reasonable price. The prices

for flights are sky-high.

At the airport in Madrid there is massive chaos, the airline workers do not

know which rules apply to which country, if they ask for a PCR or a vaccine or

a unicorn. Everything is new, nobody knows anything for sure…. When I talk to the people at the check-in counter, they tell me that I cannot travel, that Morocco doesn't let anyone in...

I sit on the ground, exhausted, disappointed, I was going to go to Western Sahara and from there travel by bus the 60 km that separate Dakhla from the border with Mauritania. In Nouadhibou I had a Mauritanian "friend" that I had met on Facebook who was waiting for me anxiously. She told me that the border with Mauritania was open. I sit there thinking, disappointed, about to give up. But then I think, it has been an odyssey to get here, the second dose of the vaccine hit me really hard. I had to try again, I had to check a second time. I decided to talk to the customer service from the airline. I explain my situation to the staff there, they look at a list and tell me that Morocco is letting Spanish citizens in, they give me the boarding pass, as easy as that. It seems incredible to me that 2 workers from the same airline contradict each other, but all I want is to get on that plane, so I decide not to check my luggage so that they don't cause me any trouble, luckily I am, as usual, traveling with just hand luggage.

I'm finally inside the plane yaay! But obstacles weren’t supposed to end there… Suddenly, I get a message stating that my flight from Marrakech to Dakhla (passing through Casablanca) at 18:50 has been canceled, and that they offer me a flight at 12:30, 6 hours earlier... The problem is that I land in Marrakech at 12 so no way I’ll make it. Second obstacle in these times of pandemic and I've barely had the first of 3 flights.