Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Our First Bribe!

We are over sand! But to reach this feeling was well worth the effort, riding the dunes directly east for 540 kilometers from Nouadihbou to Atar following the train line along the Border of Mauritania and Western Sahara and at one stage riding on the tracks for a little releif from the sand. We teamed up with Blair and Kati who made it possible for us as they were able to carry some extra fuel for us to make the journey possible. We made it after 4 days and a few laughs and on day 2 we also had to perform minor heart surgery in the middle of the desert on Amys Baja, carb problems but a stocking may have been the solving factor in the end.

Fishing port in Nouadihbou

Beginning of 540 k Piste to Atar......translation is Danger Death!!

Directing the mothership is thirsty work out here in the Sahara...I need water

From Atar we went north into the Sahara again to an old old city and then it was the long journey to Nouakchott to get the Senegal visa. This was our first experience of having to been extremely patient, we arrived on Wednesday got our applications in first thing the following day only to be told it would be Monday that we could collect them, that ment 5 days in the capital and I can tell you it is no place you would want to hang out for that long but what choice did we have. So we spent our days, eating, reading, relaxing and come 4pm every day a ride to the beach for a well deserved swim..........maybe it was not that hard to fill in 5 days hey!

Our swimming hole in the capital Nouakchott.

Fishing boats in Nouakchott

Received our visas Monday afternoon at 5 and set off out of town and camped over a dune or two. The waiting of the visa had created a little problem, our insurance had ran out, we only had paid for 10 days but the waiting process of the visa ment we had been in the country for 14 days, but up til now we had never been asked for it, so I tried not to think about it much and continue on our merry way. So on our last day in Mauritania and our last 150 kilometers down to the Senegal border I prayed every time we came to a check point that they would not ask for our insurance. Not only was this on our minds but this road was like been in a real life computer game, dodging the endless amounts or goats, cows and camels, one stage I nearly had a camel as a new hood ornament or maybe if the collision occured the opposite way around, he was alot bigger than me! 10 kilometers to the border, a checkpoint.......first thing he asked for was insurance, oh shit what do we do, we tried stalling him for awhile but he insisted we present the insurance, so reluctantly I handed it over and what do you know first thing he noticed was the date.......monsoir insurance not current, he said........I played dumb saying really, oh no. He wanted us to turn around and ride the 600 ks back to Nouadihbou and get more, we explained this was not possible due to our lack of fuel and quite frankly this was not going to happen anyway. Eventually he said you pay me 20 Euros and puting his hand over his eyes explained we can pass and he turns a blind eye.......what the hell lets pay the bugger and get the hell out of here!! Our first bribe.

Onto Senegal we road and did some more relaxing in paradise at a placed called the Zebra Bar just south of Saint Louis, it was hard to leave but we had to else we may well be there this time next year! Rode down the coast to the famous Paris to Dakar finish line, yeah I was imagining away in my helmet. And now we are in Dakar try to sort out a Cameroon visa so we do not have to try for it in Nigeria, rather spend time here waiting than in one of the worst countries in the world but time will tell on that subject.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Western Sahara to Mauritania

Well Western Sahara offered us nothing but 100's of kilometres of nothing but at times again I swear we were on the moon, although the roads were straight and long there was the occasional camel, donkey and random Arabs just walking in the desert with nothing, where they come from or where they are going is a mystery, and like I said with nothing no water, no food......mmmm glad I am aboard the 750 Africa Twin!

Gateway to Western Sahara....Tan Tan

Because of the hostilities on the boarder between Western Saharans and Moroccons there are loads of Gendermere Royal(police and military checkpoints) which did become tiring been asked, the usual questions, destination, profession, etc but the first question they always asked was tourist or rally Paris Dakar, always we answered tourist so then came all the next checkpoint when they asked Paris Dakar Rally I answered ¨wee¨ and they waved us on!! Great so from then on we were apart of the Paris Dakar Rally, but the silly buggers don't know its not on til January, works for us though.

Camp with a view

The border crossing from Western Sahara to Mauritania was interesting, exiting Western Sahara we road on dirt tracks for about 5 kilometres with instructions to stick to the road due to landmines known in the area!!! Interesting, after three hours and numerous checkpoints getting insurance, visas and the like we road into Nouadibou( Noo-adi-boo) where the streets are filled with tooting cars, dust, almost more goats than people walking around and the people are very black, feel we have reached another part of Africa, I love it.

Sourced some oil gave the steeds an oil change and check over, so far they have been great, except I have been in puncture Mecca with three in the previous days and my Africa Twin is eating my rear PIRELLI tire for breakfast, lunch and dinner!! But Amy's is fine.......guess shows who is spinning the back wheel more hey and one might say having the most fun.......ha ha!