Right now, Lara, me, and a couple of our new travel buddies (Sonya the Kiwi and Ian the Canuck) are sitting in a random restaurant in Nouadhibou (not sure of spelling) in Mauritania…it’s an Islamic state and is pretty much like the wild west here….desolate, barren, sandy as fook and with an overbearing feeling of paranoia (we’ve been told to look out for bandits following kidnappings of some Frenchies doing the Dakar rally in recent times)…after crossing through no man’s land after the Morrocan border we passed through numerous landmine warning signposts! We’ve been told not to stray too far from the truck with the shovel and toilet roll…if you know what I mean?…our Japanese friend told us he understood these instrcutions with the simple words “not much food so only do little toilet”.
Despite all this, we’ve somehow found a quiet wee café with free wifi so we’re using the opportunity to catch up….on a veeery slooooooooooooooooooz connection.
So, 1 country down and 29 to go. 9 months left…Morocco was amazing…
Marrakech (touristy but with its charms), Casablanca (underwhelming…we definitely won’t be hearing Sam play it again), Rabat – where we spent most of the time chilling in the car park of an aforementioned MarJane as we waited for our visas for Mauritania, Mali and Ghana to come through at the respective embassies.
We started getting into the place and really enjoying the sun, we parked the truck up in a caravan car park right next to the beach and pithced our tents on a dune just over the top of the car park on the beach side. We lit our firem cooked oour grub, had an ‘Especial’ (local beer) or two then went to bed in the dunes at about 10pm. Luckily (!) I have a bladder like a sieve and at 3am I woke up to go for a jimmy riddle…when I went to unzip the flysheet, I noticed it was already partly unzipped, then I looked for my day bag which had been by the door…it didn’t have anything important in it (fifty quid in various currencies, toileteries, torch, penknives, batteries) but it was gone all the same. I woke Lara and hers was gone too…unfortunately hers had her ipods (one broken, one new replacement bought in a MarJane), camera, Ray Bans, passport, bank cards and prescription specs in (amongts other things)…I legged it to the truck to tell our driver and Lara roused the others.
It turns out that the groundsheets of four of our tents had been slashed open but only two tents had things stolen from them (ours and an American family lost their orthopaedic trekking boots and sleeping bag liners). The mothertruckers had opened the flysheet to reach my bag but actually slashed the tent to get Lara’s bag…scarily, Lara's bag was by her head and the slash was at her feet…they’d have had to creep right in whilst we both slept!
As we scoured the area looking for clues, or ther thieves, or any of our stuff, we miraculously found Lara’s passport (with visas) and her bank cards in a bush…we also found my toileteries but they were unuabale as the thief had had the time to take a dump on them as we slept…bar-steward! The next day at the police HQ was interesting to say the least…but I’ll leave that to our next entry.