Civilization

Trip Start Jan 28, 2011
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14
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Flag of Morocco  ,
Sunday, February 20, 2011

In Noaukchott, we met 2 Brits that were heading northwards too. Since we all had roughly the same plans we bumped into each other several times along the road, which was almost a given, since at least the border would take several hours. Actually, it was more or less the plan. There we decided to aim for the West Saharan city Tarfaya together or at least as far as our strength lasted. First we had to pass No Man's Land, the narrow strip of land neither controlled by Mauritania nor by Morocco. Just a stretch of land littered with scrapped stuff and a well travelled path indicating a safe route passed the mines. Some minutes later we rolled up to the Moroccan side of the border and went through all the usual procedures. It was somewhat late by the time we had cleared everything. It was with the help of the floodlights we carried on our roof, our caravan of 3 rushed through the wasteland that is West Sahara. Covering some 800 kilometers that day, we did the remaining 500 the next morning, arriving in time for a late lunch in Tarfaya.

Tarfaya is located in the border area between Morocco proper and West Sahara, and therefore also marks the beginning of civilization, that had been largely absent since we drove into Mauritania. The roads improved, the buildings were bigger and more well maintained and traffic become more than intermittent.

We took a slow half day, to rest up after the long stint up from central Mauritania. After a brief visit to a stranded ferry just a few minutes away, we sat down and talked, and soon started drawing up plans for our continued trip. Very soon Mark and Steve, as our English friends were called, suggested joining them for a drive into the country to explore smaller roads. Given the tense situation in the entire Arab world at that point, it felt like the prudent thing to do, to avoid the cities as much as possible, in case the demonstrations the coming days would turn south.
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