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Thursday, 11 October 2007

To the Edge of Nowhere: Tichit, Mauritania - Page 5

Written by Max Hunter
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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.

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

My enjoyment of Tichit was intermixed with anxiety about leaving the KLR behind.  I had to get word to America about my situation and find out if parts could be sent.  There is no cell phone reception in Tichit and the only way to get a message out is by Thuraya, the Arab World's oft-deficient satellite phone service.  We were having problems with the Spaniard's Thuraya, and pointing it towards Mecca (we were told that the satellite hovers above Islam's holiest city) wasn't helping.  So we went for local tech support.

Masato had made friends already, as he always does (language barriers mean nothing, people love the guy), and led one of the Spaniards and I down some sandy alleys and into the atrium of a local woman's house.  We sat down and soon wondered what exactly we had come here for.

Our tech support was a middle aged, heavy-set black Mauritanian woman with shades. Like all Mauritanians she moved very slowly, and we sat for ten minutes while she washed her hands, ate a meal of rice and goat with her friends, and sipped tea as if we weren't even there.  Another woman sat nearby with a breast out feeding her baby.  A few bags of what I hoped was camel milk were piled nearby.

Finally she turned to us and motioned for us to hand over the phone.  We did, and tried to explain that we could not get SMS to work, and did not know how to add minutes to our phone.  Of course communicating all this in English was getting us nowhere, so a ”translator” was called.

The translator was a young guy in his 20s, who although being from Tichit inexplicably could not speak French but spoke English. Or so we were told. Masato spent five minutes explaining in slow and basic English what we needed, and after five minutes of nodding, translating, and confidently proclaiming that he understood, our translator floored us when a look of surprise came to his face and he asked Masato enthusiastically "You speak English?"  We smiled, said our goodbyes, and promptly left, and I couldn't help but worry a little if whatever had just happened was contagious.

Max Hunter, To the Edge of Nowhere, Tichit, Mauritania, Nouakchott, Auberge Sahara, travel sahara, Dakar Rally, Moors mauritania, travel MauritaniaThere 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. Unfortunately, the KLR had seen better days and it needed to be rescued back to Nouakchott for a costly clutch transplant.

 

 

Max Hunter, To the Edge of Nowhere, Tichit, Mauritania, Nouakchott, Auberge Sahara, travel sahara, Dakar Rally, Moors mauritania, travel MauritaniaI sold my 70 liters of petrol for 13,000 ougiya and a liter of camel milk, which we passed around on my last night with the group. The others would continue on the piste towards Nema.  I spent two days limping back to Nouakchott, hearing the sounds of a screaming goat and my bike bouncing around in the back of the pickup truck as I reflected on my fond memories of Tichit.  There would be other adventures on other days, and with the clutch fixed I would soon be back on the road.  In shah Allah, as they say.

©Max Hunter

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

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