Having a Riot in Mauritania

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December 5th 2008
Published: December 5th 2008
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(Copied from email to family)

Hey Guys!!

Managed to find the dodgy-est (sp) internet cafe in Mauritania. I actually have a bit of time to tell you about the stuff ive been up to. Trouble is I cant really remember it now. Only when I walk away from the computer will it flood back. I can tell you about recent events but it may sound a bit dodgy. Awesome times though.

Sorry my email on Morocco was a bit short, but I didnt really fnid the place enthralling at all. The towns were either amazingly touristy or amazingly samey with the same amount of crap in each. The majority of the truck simply engaged in large amounts of steak eating before we hit the poorer regions or copious amounts of NcDonalds. Souvenirs from morocco therefore simply amount to a Fez (bought in Fez) and a pair of Jesus Sandles that I haggled down to 60 DH from 120. Beer is not cheap in Morocco - About 18 quid for a slab. Expensive piss up.

We left Morocco and have been driving in the desert for the past week. Down through western Sahara and endless police stops. I know its a disputed region but I have no idea why a nation would want it.

After a 6 hour border crossing into Mauritania we stopped the night at Nouadhibou just over the border. We met the special bus (our pet name for another overland truck full of westerners) and tried to be nice. Had our first shower in 5 days.

An early morning meant we gunned it straight down into the capital; Noukchott (or something like that). Like true heroes we hit the first burger joint and hit it hard! Doubles all round. When only me, AMber, Luke and clara remained a protest started on the main street. We looked at each other quizically as the rabble moved towards our tables which was 5 fet from the street. Just at the point the protest reached our table the 5-0 arrived. Of course by that I mean the army due t last years milittary coup and some ppl not being too happy about it. so the protesters ran like fuck in every direction. The heavily armed soldiers in riot gear decided to chuck tear gas at the crowd/us, which proper hurt. A sharp exit was deemed to be the best course of action as we gallantly legged it down the road with eyes and mouth stinging. 50 yards of running down the street ended with 2 more riot vans turning up, filled with some very battle hardened and un-smiley people you would ever like to see through watering eyes. More tear gas was deployed. Dodging into a nearby shop was instinctively chosen.

Throughout all of this I was still carrying my plate of chips. Waste not want not.

After a few minutes of banter and waiting for the nice men with guns to move along, we exited and strolled back to the burger joint. Reardless of the walks of life we all came from, we did the british thing and paid our tab. Getting back to the campsite became a large priority.

Later that night some heavy drinnking began and our driver Jay decided to wow the crowds with his rum drinking and Mangina showing. At about 11 Me, Mike and Jamie were asked by our random polish camp mates if we wanted to g to a beach party. Obviously we said yes. So in a Convoy of 2 Polish Mercedes and our Mauritanian guides in another we cruised the city at ridiculous and drunken speeds down alleys and strange roads picking up some questionably purchasd alcohol and drugs (dont worry nan - I just stuck with the booze). After an Hour we got to the beach and made drunken tits out of urselves. much famous grouse was consumed and many a marlborough smoked. Language barriers dissolved in hazes of hugging and chair flipping.

Woke up this morning. Massive hangover.

Any who. I'll avoid any protests I see from now on. It always ends in tears.

Dont worry. Still safe. Just have 4 more days till Mali - Dogon villages Timbuctu and relative safety.


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