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Don't take your scope to Morocco

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Old Saturday 31st August 2019, 21:42   #1
jacana
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Don't take your scope to Morocco

Just seen this tweet:

https://twitter.com/wildalmeria/stat...530844165?s=19

Be wary of travelling with your telescope to Morocco. It could be confiscated at the border.
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Old Monday 2nd September 2019, 21:18   #2
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I think this is most likely a misunderstanding, and does not stem from official law or similar as suggested by some in twitter. This happens now and then, but they are isolated cases. E.g. it happened to the Swedish birders of the Big Year WP 2017 at the Rabat Airport (I don't agree with them about the reason this happened).
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Old Friday 6th September 2019, 14:41   #3
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That is a bit worrying to be honest. I love Morocco, been 3 times and am planning on another visit before too long.
Recently found out that Jordan also confiscates scopes, had been thinking about a birding holiday there but that leaves one less destination to choose from.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 13:04   #4
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The WP group also reported that Marsh Owl at Merga Zerga was ‘hard to flush’ perhaps people like them are the reason

I had no problem with my one sighting - i did spend 2 days/3 nights just mooching around and looking. It’s called patience and fieldcraft...

Laurie -
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 13:20   #5
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The WP group also reported that Marsh Owl at Merga Zerga was ‘hard to flush’ perhaps people like them are the reason

I had no problem with my one sighting - i did spend 2 days/3 nights just mooching around and looking. It’s called patience and fieldcraft...

Laurie -
Tough to see when I did it but that was down to the fact that it didn't become active until it was just about dark This is probably the reason that they tried to flush it before it was ready to start hunting?
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 13:36   #6
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Honestly, if this ever happens to me, I am gonna turn around on the spot and redirect my trip into a country that is being grateful for people visiting it. So far, I had no problems in neither Morocco nor Jordan.

Misunderstanding my ass. There is nothing to understand here, "language barrier" is not an excuse for behavior that is blatantly absurd without speaking a word out.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 13:42   #7
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The WP group also reported that Marsh Owl at Merga Zerga was ‘hard to flush’ perhaps people like them are the reason

I had no problem with my one sighting - i did spend 2 days/3 nights just mooching around and looking. It’s called patience and fieldcraft...

Laurie -
Or hiring a decent guide, as I did. I carefully avoided all those saying they could show me Slender-billed Curlew.....
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 14:13   #8
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Just seen this tweet:

https://twitter.com/wildalmeria/stat...530844165?s=19

Be wary of travelling with your telescope to Morocco. It could be confiscated at the border.
That is one disappointment for you and your group

My partner and I decided a while ago that there are places in this world that we are prepared to visit due to the culture or anything related in any way that could harm us (let alone having our optics taken from us) -simply not worth it.

I had a discussion about this with a group of birders I was with this year and they could not understand why I felt that way - in my own mindset I feel that we are both in our 60's are feeling self preservation is most important to us now.

Years ago, I remember forgetting a small knife I had in my hand luggage at one of the airports in Spain and I was taken aside by a young woman with a gun holder and I was mortified and was let off eventually.

This year during our visit to Spain, my partner was shouted (in full blown Spanish) at by an airport offical, that he had a suspicious belt (drugs??????) around his middle (it was just a leather belt). My OH was treated like a criminal, (he does not speak fluent Spanish), and he was rather upset because the whole airport could hear him being abused by the airport staff. The official was told to be quiet by one of his work mates - and we got no apology at all!!!

We have been going to Spain for many years, and to be treated in this manner made me feel very angry - we are visiting their country and my partner is treated like dirt for no reason at all.

What is this sad world coming to.... paranoid or what
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 14:24   #9
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This year during our visit to Spain, my partner was shouted (in full blown Spanish) at by an airport offical, that he had a suspicious belt (drugs??????) around his middle

What is this sad world coming to.... paranoid or what
How would you like a Spanish official in Spain to shout? Full blown English?
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 14:44   #10
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How would you like a Spanish official in Spain to shout? Full blown English?
LOL - all I know is that my partner and the official did not understand each other - maybe my partner looked Spanish in appearance - no not really. We never understood what the issue was in the first place and still are none the wiser.

By the way I meant to say this was on the journey back from a trip with a Birding Company for a week to Extremadura, but as we where on our way home so we had said our goodbyes to them.
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Old Friday 27th September 2019, 18:22   #11
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Originally Posted by Acrocephalus View Post
I think this is most likely a misunderstanding, and does not stem from official law or similar as suggested by some in twitter. This happens now and then, but they are isolated cases. E.g. it happened to the Swedish birders of the Big Year WP 2017 at the Rabat Airport (I don't agree with them about the reason this happened).
I hope you are right, its been a good few years since I visited Morocco and I'm missing dearly the beautiful place it is. I always remember, in the wilds of the Atlas, setting up my scope one evening for some children and their Mothers so they could see the moon. They were so thankful. Such lovely people and an unforgettable experience for me.

All the same, maybe Morroco's Birdlife partner could write a letter to the customs authority so they can identify people with scopes as "the right kind of tourist" ie; not crooks

Unfortunately it does seem that customs around the world are tending to be more bad mannered.

Last edited by Simon Wates : Friday 27th September 2019 at 18:27.
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Old Monday 30th September 2019, 19:06   #12
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False alarm

It’s just a false alarm. Birding in Morocco is business as usual!

For anyone truly interested, please see this blog-post (and read it until the end): http://www.magornitho.org/2019/09/bi...ptics-morocco/
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 08:53   #13
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It’s just a false alarm. Birding in Morocco is business as usual!

For anyone truly interested, please see this blog-post (and read it until the end): http://www.magornitho.org/2019/09/bi...ptics-morocco/
No, it is not a false alarm, since it happened! Why are you so invested in marginalising this issue? Instead of running around the forums and trying to convince birders that nothing is happening, you should be running around your own country, trying to change the absurd practices of the customs. Those people are public servants and you are the bloody public.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 09:23   #14
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No, it is not a false alarm, since it happened! Why are you so invested in marginalising this issue? Instead of running around the forums and trying to convince birders that nothing is happening, you should be running around your own country, trying to change the absurd practices of the customs. Those people are public servants and you are the bloody public.
It's not a false alarm, but by what I read in that blog, it is marginal.
Acrocephalus can't help if there is an overzealous customs officer.

It seems like the cases of confiscated scopes were either because of suspicion of using stuff for journalism / professional filming or for selling.

I am pretty sure anyone that can explain he is entering the country as a tourist and birdwatcher will be fine.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 09:48   #15
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How would you like a Spanish official in Spain to shout? Full blown English?
Well if he was dealing with an English person who isn't fluent in Spanish, and actually wanted to do his job rather just shout at a powerless foreign tourist for his own gratification, it would make a lot more sense to shout in English, wouldn't it?
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 10:50   #16
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Well if he was dealing with an English person who isn't fluent in Spanish, and actually wanted to do his job rather just shout at a powerless foreign tourist for his own gratification, it would make a lot more sense to shout in English, wouldn't it?
Hmm, granted the official didn’t sound like a particularly nice person, but would for example, an Italian person be spoken to in Italian by such an official in a UK airport in a similar situation ?
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 12:01   #17
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Hmm, granted the official didn’t sound like a particularly nice person, but would for example, an Italian person be spoken to in Italian by such an official in a UK airport in a similar situation ?
No, of course not, mon ami, but Italian is hardly the world's lingua franca , and to be fair I have flown in and out of UK airports hundreds of times, and have never seen anybody being shouted at by airport personnel in any language. The point is that shouting at anybody in a language in which they are not reasonably fluent is simply pointless.

Funnily enough, I worked at St Helier port for a couple of Summers, mostly dealing with French day-trippers. We used to shout at them in French!
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 12:04   #18
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No, of course not, mon ami, but Italian is hardly the world's lingua franca , and to be fair I have flown in and out of UK airports hundreds of times, and have never seen anybody being shouted at by airport personnel in any language. The point is that shouting at anybody in a language in which they are not reasonably fluent is simply pointless.

Funnily enough, I worked at St Helier port for a couple of Summers, mostly dealing with French day-trippers. We used to shout at them in French!
Quite right too
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 12:07   #19
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Quite right too
Mostly we were shouting "calmez-vous". For some reason, it never seemed to work!
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 14:37   #20
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Mostly we were shouting "calmez-vous". For some reason, it never seemed to work!
If my experience with our little nieces out here is anything to go by, they learn to pay no attention to ´calmez- vous’ at a very young âge
Anyway, enough of this thread hijacking, I don’t approve!
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 18:20   #21
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What i don't quite understand and i have been to Maroc 12 times down as far as Dakhla where believe me as soon as you go beyond Layouune there are endless 'security' checks. We were on a coach and the only pale faces so they were only really interested in us altho they did try and confiscate half our alcohol twice but as soon as the Bride started bristling they backed off :-). Is that your baggage is checked when leaving Blighty or wherever and i have never had my hand-luggage checked upon entry to Maroc so unless you are wearing bins around your neck i don't see how a birder would be different from any other tourist? The rear light on my folding bike was smashed by rough handling at Marrakesh Airport which was uncalled for as i had labelled the bag accordingly

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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 18:31   #22
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Opisska - calm down mate it's only a 'scope

As for Customs officials - JFK said the way you are treated at an airport is the way the Government would like to treat you all the time!

This was back in the early-60's and he was talking about his own country but the rest as they say is.....

I do not have any equipment on show (ooh Matron) at any airport it gives control freaks in whatever uniform someone they think they can push around.
I flew from Manchester to Lisbon and at the former they pulled my bag with its scope and monopod and gave it a grilling and i kept cool and gave them the full 9 yards of birding mantra/retired former teacher etc, then chipped in with the wrong demographic/religion/target audience etc - they confiscated a fookin bungee clip that i use for the monopod #puta

In Portugal i found a small Swiss Army knife and took it to customs where an armed female plod looked at it measured the blade and gave it to me to bring back

Laurie -
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 18:38   #23
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Peewit - get yer bloke to man up ffs

Reciprocate the invective adding the word 'Puta' - that will get their attention and hold it i can assure you.

Nobody needs to be treated or spoken to like Dog crap, it's a power and control thing - hold your ground, show a picture of Churchill and select a coupla fingers

Laurie -
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Old Thursday 3rd October 2019, 21:08   #24
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I don’t like to argue, so I will just mention some points.

False alarm refers to the alleged new rules or law. Everyone will agree that it was indeed a false alarm. Obviously it didn’t refer to the incidents.

In a civilised discussion, people don't take a slight criticism too personal. For example, if someone told you that you don’t know something, it’s not the end of world. But if one takes things too personal, he/she only makes life harder for themselves.

This link needs to stay at the of end of the thread (or if the OP, jacana, wants to edit his post and add it there, it would be even better):

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For anyone truly interested, please see this blog-post (and read it until the end): http://www.magornitho.org/2019/09/bi...ptics-morocco/
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Old Thursday 3rd October 2019, 21:42   #25
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On a slightly different note, on my last visit to the country, I had a 'nice' official at airport give me an entry stamp in my passport, then promptly put a line through it when he discovered I didn't have booked accommodation (as I was planning to drive south and pick up accommodation somewhere on route). Said permission for me and my four year old to enter was denied and he waved me away back to the the masses behind the queue.

Rather stumped, I then had to invent a hotel (actually asked another tourist for a name) and then queued up at another immigration officer and had to then try to explain why I had a cancelled entry stamp - fortunately he didn't seem unduly concerned and was happy with the hotel name, so gave me a new entry stamp.

So, lesson here, if going to Morocco, as well as perhaps being wary about taking an expensive scope, make sure you have a hotel name to write on the immigration form :)
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