Please login to vote.
Thursday, 11 October 2007

To the Edge of Nowhere: Tichit, Mauritania - Page 3

Written by Max Hunter
  • Print
  • Email
  • AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Rate this item
(0 votes)

There is nothing better than disappearing to some insane, off the beaten path place that nobody in their right mind would go to, and Tichit delivered on all accounts.

After circling my area with rope, I walked five meters into the darkness to relieve myself. While in the act I noticed the ground moving near my target and shined the light to find a venomous Saharan horned viper in a staring contest with my private parts.Max Hunter, To the Edge of Nowhere, Tichit, Mauritania, Nouakchott, Auberge Sahara, travel sahara, Dakar Rally, Moors mauritania, travel Mauritania

Do you happen to have an anti-snake rope with you?

No?

I'm sleeping on the truck, goodnight.

 

The next day we drove through a hellish sandstorm, usually off-piste, with a brief respite at a well that doubled as the local nomad hangout. Some poor camel had been tasked with Max Hunter, To the Edge of Nowhere, Tichit, Mauritania, Nouakchott, Auberge Sahara, travel sahara, Dakar Rally, Moors mauritania, travel Mauritaniarunning the rope through the pulley system to lift the buckets of water out, and by the time we left, I had fended off offers to trade three of the beasts for my motorcycle – a far cry from the eighty I had demanded.

I slept on the truck again that night.  The Israelis had cooked up some inventive way to smoke the dwindling hash reserves, which resulted in a Spaniard throwing up for twenty minutes with the rest of us trying to be sympathetic while failing to contain our amusement at his being such a lightweight.  I don't smoke hash, but they didn't mind. After all, the rabbit ate my share, remaining on a steady diet of ganja and Cornflakes mixed with whatever greenery we could find.  It was the most chilled out rabbit I had ever seen, even on the bone jarring pistes.

The next day we split into two groups.  The Spaniards, the Japanese guy and I would take the Land Cruiser and the bike to Tichit in one day, while the Israelis would spend two and a half days getting stoned and driving very slowly.  I was sure they would get lost, and end up as two more Jews wandering the desert for 40 years. But everyone was satisfied with the arrangement, especially the Mossad Boys, so we set off for the most difficult terrain we had seen yet.

The rest of the route was marked by disappearing piste and shifting sands.  The Paris-Dakar rally passes through Tichit each year with the deliberate intention of weeding out half the competition.  It is extremely difficult terrain for any vehicle, even more so when loaded down with gear, passengers, fuel, and water. Few other vehicles ever make it out there, especially during the summer when temperatures soar to 50 degrees or more.  We were 60 kilometers from Tichit, negotiating our way through deep, soft sand, when the motorcycle quit on us with a burned out clutch.

Max Hunter, To the Edge of Nowhere, Tichit, Mauritania, Nouakchott, Auberge Sahara, travel sahara, Dakar Rally, Moors mauritania, travel MauritaniaLosing a vehicle out there means you might never see it again. There is nobody to call, and no way to call with no cell phone reception, and even with a satellite phone nobody is going to come, anyway.  We tried for an hour to get the bike running to no avail.  In the end, we ditched her behind a sand dune a few dozen meters from the piste and hoped she wouldn't be hauled off by thieves or curious nomads the next day.  It would end up taking three days to find a pickup truck for recovery, and the fact that there wasn't a fingerprint on her despite still being visible from the piste was a testament to just how few people, if any, had been that way in days.

I was distraught at leaving my bike, which had been my companion and life for the past several months, but I had no choice but to continue to Tichit. Max Hunter, To the Edge of Nowhere, Tichit, Mauritania, Nouakchott, Auberge Sahara, travel sahara, Dakar Rally, Moors mauritania, travel Mauritania Coming over a sand dune, the oases surrounding the town laid out before us like the Garden of Eden. We were greeted by the sight of a camel herder driving his fifty strong herd out of town and into the nothingness beyond.  He looked like something from a Hollywood production, with a black turban covering his head and face, driving his magnificent ivory white camel with subtle taps of his bare foot along its side.

 

Max Hunter, To the Edge of Nowhere, Tichit, Mauritania, Nouakchott, Auberge Sahara, travel sahara, Dakar Rally, Moors mauritania, travel Mauritania


(Page 3 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

Search Content by Map

Search

All Rights Reserved ©Copyright 2006-2021 inTravel Magazine®
Published by Christina's Arena, Inc.