Blogs from Adrar, Mauritania, Africa


Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Chinguetti December 24th 2019

Quando una nazione genera quasi il 50% delle sue esportazioni da un solo prodotto, si suppone che per lo meno abbia sviluppato le infrastrutture necessarie ad una sua rapida e sicura movimentazione. Tanto di cappello percio' alla Mauritania, un paese quasi del tutto sprovvisto di trasporti pubblici ma che scarrozza il suo prezioso minerale ferroso da una miniera in pieno deserto fino ad un porto sull'oceano bene al sicuro su di un convoglio di piu' di 200 carri merci che vanno a formare uno dei treni piu' lunghi e pesanti al mondo; grazie alla SNIM (la Societa' Nazionale delle Miniere e delle Industrie) la Mauritania si assicura anche una forma di trasporto pubblico del tutto insperata: una carrozza passeggeri viene agganciata in fondo alla fila e cosi', partendo da Nouadhibou sulla costa, i mauritani possono raggiungere ... read more
La mia ombra dalla cima di una duna
Chinguetti: Il minareto della vecchia moschea
Il mio vagone privato

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Chinguetti April 2nd 2011

I am on the back of a Ute high above the roof sitting on some bags. It’s pitch black and I am concentrating so I don’t fall asleep. If I do and fall off no one would know for a while. Only one other guy is up there with me and he is facing the other way - The rest of the passengers are squeezed inside. There is no evidence to suggest that I am in the Sahara. It’s just the sound of the tyres crossing compact sand. It’s cold and we are driving at a fair pace. I thought the toughest part of the trip was over but I was only in the middle. I didn’t know it then but by late afternoon I would be stood up by camel. I heard an irregular sound ... read more
2 - Old town Chingetti the former Capital of the Moors
3 - Ready to start gutting at the Fish market Nouakchout
4 - Me with Chingetti locals taken by a kid

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Choum March 31st 2011

Will there be somewhere for me to sit down, lay down? Will I have to stand up the whole time? What about a toilet? Will I be able to breath? Where’s my luggage going to go? Even if I am able to sit or lay down, what’s the state of the floor or seat? Will I be able to cope catching an iron ore train for 12 hours not equipped for humans and getting sand blasted by the Sahara for my troubles? I crossed over from Morocco and we cross the train line, which was going through maintenance so that brought confidence and concern at the same time. I reached Nouadhibou, which is the second biggest city in Mauritania. It is used for its port and is a desert landscape. It is also the location to ... read more
2 - The station
3 - the train going the other way
4 - view from the window

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Chinguetti May 31st 2009

So the trip in the desert has been going reasonably well. Not exactly what I wanted but at least I am seeing beautiful dunes and oasis. Tonight, my third night outside on the dunes and it seems like the best place yet. Last night was shitty as I was next to the town and in the open. My God is it hot during the day. I spend 12 and 5 pm at the Oasis reading (I just finished Margret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake” --- it’s very good) and drinking water. Actually I have two guides --- I feel like a true colonial overlord. I was somewhat uncomfortable about this at first but I’m getting used to it. There’s plenty to eat --- last night we had camel stew and bread cooked in the sand. The stew ... read more
The Camel's none too happy...
On the dunes...
Bread cook in the sand...

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Chinguetti May 29th 2009

First some reflections on the pick-up ride yesterday. A once in a lifetime experience. I stress ONCE. However, it was very cool despite being somewhat hellish. So yesterday I decided to take a six day camel excursion with a young guy (Evoku) from Chingetti. Once we finally got to Chingetti (blown tire on the truck) a French woman gave me some good info on Senegal. Later her Burkinabe friend gave me info about Burkina Faso so I can stay at his house --- how unbelievably friendly since he has no idea who I am. Staying with Evoku’s family which includes his 18 year old wife and two children, as well as a large extended family. I’m supposed to go to Oudane but that plan got shot due to oil exploration (?). Also there’s a problem with ... read more
Evoku and his YOUNG family
Evoku's family's house
Chingetti 2

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Atar May 27th 2009

Wow, I’m exhausted!! Yesterday did little - Mathias and I tried to get some beer at the end of the night, but the only place (Novotel) seemed far too pricey. Today, after trying to exchange my pounds sterling, I said good bye to Mathias and grabbed a ride to Atar. 1500 UM seemed to be a good price, except for the fact that there were seven of us (including two paratroopers) in the bed of a tiny pick-up truck for seven+ hours. OH GOD IT WAS HOT! Also an Islamist tried to convert me. Islamist: “do you know where all non-Muslims go?” Me: “Somewhere that’s even hotter than here”. He seemed to find it funny. In Atar at Bab Sahara. Bed. Sweet bed. ... read more
On the back of Pick-up 2
Oh god! Am I exhausted!

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Chinguetti July 14th 2008

chinguetti was beautiful, but I dont feel like writting about it much. just check the pictures, Ill post something else instead in a while... oh yeah, just wanted to say that if you want to go to chinguetti you should go noow. since the killing of a bunch of frenchies in mauritania its a dessert city. me and the ppl that came with me were the only tourists in the city, and besides some CIA spies, I mean peace-corps volunteers, also the only whites (nassar in hassanian arab, a word I start to hear more and more in sentences such as: youre not like the other nassar, you dont buy stuff, you poor !)... read more
nomad door

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Choum July 11th 2008

there are no words nor images nor smells to describe the train trip. but Ill try... so heres the thing, the train comes to nouadibou from somewhere in the middle of the dessert full of minerals, is emptied in the port, and then goes back. this happens two or three times a day (insh alah!), and of course the train is only cleaned before its loaded with minerazls, which means that by the tilme it gets to nouadibou it has a pretty thick layer of toxic silverish . and so the train leaves from nouadibou port, and sometimes (god onbly knows the algorithm determining when) it stops and lets people get in (get in is some of an undertstatement, as Ill explain later). I was lucky enough to only have to wait 6 hours for the ... read more
empty train
train stops to pee
train leaves

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar November 30th 2007

Hey Everyone, I think it’s being about a month or so since I updated my blog. Don’t know if anyone even reads these but I thought that I would still write on the chance that people are. Things have being very hectic the last few weeks. I have being at site for about five weeks, which is to long for me. After about week four, I’m feeling the need to talk to my parents or use the computer. School has being slightly chaotic. My school director left to go to another town and he was not replaced for about two weeks or so. Then a new director came but he did not plan on staying in aoujeft and was only their for a week and a half and then left and now we have a new ... read more

Africa » Mauritania » Adrar » Chinguetti October 20th 2007

After a night in Nouakchott to shower and catch up on food shopping we ventured away from the coast inland to the old trading city of Chinguetti. Once a major player in Mauritania, it is still considered by Mauritanians to be one of the holiest places in Islam. The city itself is a shadow of its former self and is slowly giving way to the sands of the desert that surround it. It's incredible to see the many buildings that are half-burried in the sand, and one can only think that it is one major sand storm away from completely disappearing. How many people get to celebrate their 30th birthday in an ancient city in the middle of the desert? Naturally, camel riding seemed like a unique way to celebrate! They're such funny looking animals, but ... read more
Driving 1
Driving 2
Driving 3

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