[ Nouadhibou, Mauritania]
Hello All, and Greetings from…
The Islamic Republic of MAURITANIA
I arrived late yesterday afternoon at the border to No Man’s Land–a small, politically fraught area between Morocco and Mauritania. Because I was riding strong and there wasn’t an interesting place to camp on the Moroccan side, I decided to make the crossing. I love Morocco, but…enough is enough; time to move on.
The visa process was the only problem–their network connection was down, so it took three hours (and lots of tussling in line with the so-called “fixers”). This was just long enough to usher me into my second ever African country at dusk, unable to ride further for the day. I pitched the tent in the dark, camping an arm’s length from the barrier that marks the border, directly in front of the Mauritanian Border Police office. A couple of senior officers pulled up chairs in front of my tent to watch me cook (and eat) dinner, asked a bunch of questions, and then wished me a good night.
I awoke this morning to the sounds of trucks lining up for the day’s crossings, grabbed some supplies, packed up, and headed off into the Mauritanian Sahara. I fall in love with every new place I go, and Mauritania was no exception. The desert itself was next-level, the amount of infrastructure infinitesimal, the sense of isolation massive. The improvised nature of everything I saw put me in mind of Mongolia–always a bonus.
Early in the day I had an encounter with the famous iron ore train (more info to follow on this later), followed by one last cell-tower break, before hitting Nouadhibou just after lunch. That’s when I REALLY fell in love. So much so that I’m going to spend a few days here and shave some time off of my stay in Nouakchott (the capital) later. (Unlike Morocco, I only have 30 days on my visa.)
Oh. And I finally ended up finding a place to stay for a couple of days: a fully furnished 6-room apartment. It’s 45 Euros per night. I got it for (wait for it…) 5. Jim’s Private Party Pad (only, like, without the Party).
Here are a few images from the day, and there’s more information in the captions, as usual.