The capital city Nouakchott is a little more ‘upmarket’ than it’s second city Nouadhibou and it isn’t until you wander into the market areas or away from the relatively tidy central city streets you realise it’s not that different after-all. From a photographic point of view it offers very little, so I had to be creative with this post. What’s amazing is the sand is everywhere, covering the sidewalks and in the backstreets, it makes up the main paths.
Outside our auberge which lies a few kilometers from the center and it’s not just the sidewalks, it’s as if the buildings and roads have all been built in the sand. As I wandered around my boots would fill up with it, a reminder that I must get myself a pair of sandals.
Speaking of the auberge, these budget establishments put the Moroccan hotels to shame. Not only are they very well run, but much cleaner than many of the budget hotels I experienced in Morocco. It really is quite comfortable, I’m meeting a variety of fellow travelers and enjoying my stay here. The only downside so far has been the mosquitoes, of which there are very many and however much I try I end up getting bitten. Another reason I enjoy sleeping in my tent.
Along with all the friendly staff and probably the friendliest Polish guy I’ve ever met, I’ve been very fortunate to run into Ben, a fellow Brit who has converted to Islam and is studying in the desert. As he speaks both French and Arabic we have shopped together round the markets and shared meals out, which has not only saved me money (his bartering skills are fantastic!) but I’ve finally solved the problem of outer garments to wear in the heat, as with his help I had them made up.
But what seems uncanny is that Ben was having problems with his laptop, which after a bit of fiddling about with I managed to sort out. I’m extremely thankful we met and I’m also very aware that I seem to be meeting the right person(s) at the right time.
I haven’t been in Mauritania that long, but it has already made a big impression on me. I’m fascinated by the locals and how they seem to take every opportunity to try and eke out a living. Roadside vendors are everywhere plying their trade and you can find just about anything if you look around. This shop below was doing good trade when I passed by earlier in the day (but wasn’t able to photograph).
And the local car wash had no shortage of customers.
But what has really made me smile has been the food, which I’ve found cheap, varied and excellent. Eating in the local fast food outlets has also introduced me to more locals and I’ve gained some useful insights and information that will undoubtedly help me with my future plans, more on this later. Tonight I treated myself to ice cream, which I’ve been craving for weeks. It was quite expensive in Morocco, so I thought I’d splash out with £1’s worth here and as a bonus I can use the container for my boiled eggs!
And on that note I’ll end and go do battle with the mosquitoes. More soon…