Big saharan town

Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
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35
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Trip End Oct 27, 2010


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Flag of Western Sahara  ,
Saturday, October 2, 2010

We arrived into Laayoune late at night after some heavy police presence during the way. The landscape was certainly starting to look more exotic in the sense that it was now proper desert. Flat plains and straight but beaten roads. Like the old western films where telegraph poles followed railway tracks, there were big power lines parallel to the main artery of the desert. The battered and solitary desert motorway..

Entering the town in the dark i could make out a beautiful lagoon. The buildings were all salmon coloured. This fashion started all the way back form Hashims place in Sidi Wassay, near Agadir. The place hasn't got much of the charm of some historic Moroccan towns and has a more European feel to it. I notice that there is a huge presence of white UN jeeps and apparently its because they encouraged the cease-fire between morocco and the polisario front in 1991 i think..

We book a room in the Jodesa hotel somewhere in the town center. Its got hot water and clean sheets for a pleasant change. Its only 155Dh (13.80euro / 12 quid) for both of us, bit more than what we're used to paying but its a good price since we're in the middle of town and next doors rate is above 200Dh.. We leave our stuff and go for a walk into the main areas. We stop at a supermarket and it has pretty much everything a normal supermarket in Europe has although local stuff. Actually they have quite a few imported things and we both get some good old spanish biscuits. Jay picks up a packet of "Principe" and i get some "Yayitas desayuno" from the classic Lu manufacturer. They taste so good and the psychological factor that they contain at least 73% fibre printed in big on the front makes me feel almost at home! The young guy at the cash register tries to overcharge me 10Dh for my mach 3 blades but im always watchful now.

Next morning i pop down the road and pickup some lush avocado smoothies for breakfast. I try to explain theyre for take-away and he finally understands and serves the stuff in two Winnie the pooh plastic containers. I ask for a non-transparent plastic bag and take em back to the hotel. Combined with the fiber biscuits i bought last night its a true breakfast of champions. Outside we get the cars ready and a unsolicited "guardien" demands some money. He gets upset when he only gets 5Dh but we didnt ask for any service so tough luck..

We head off next to the airport, the mechanics area so to speak to sell some more of the stuff. Again progress is a bit slow and more watching and huddling round is done. People are asking rock bottom prices and its more of a battle. At some point i manage to repair the front passengerTowards the end an old friend of Jays turns up who used to live in Tenerife. Achim speaks Spanish instead of french which is quite a relief. He is a real Saharawi and his dad is part of the Polisario. He invites us to his home for lunch where we have a nice meal prepared by his wife who is tucked away upstairs. I eat Camel for the first time in my life, its actually been very well prepared and i probably hadn't been able to tell the difference fully if i hadn't been told. We are invited to stay at a house at the beach nearby so we agree on the prospect of being able to relax for a bit. We drive over and pass the famous lagoon type oasis that is full of flamingos. We stop at a distance and i can only take a few shots with my zoom wishing i could be there snapping away some superb shots. Further on its a flat landscape full of sand dunes that are trying to cross the road and queuing up on one side. The prevailing winds hit the road at a perpendicular angle which causes the sand dunes to migrate over the road. To remedy this big caterpillar trucks help them over. Nature meets human intervention..

At the beach town the weather has gone really cloudy and we decide its best to head off to Boujdour, our next stop down as we are actually way behind schedule. On the way down we stop off at the big harbour and inquire if we can catch a sand boat that leaves Laayoune on a daily basis on its trip back to the Canaries loaded with desert sand. Its getting dark and head off again in the dark. Outside of town we pass a huge sand-processing factory that has a huge conveyor belt coming from deep within the desert.


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Comments

Ahmed Salem Amr Khaddad on

Hi There and good luck for the rest of your trip.

I drop you this message to correct the flag closed to Laayoune in the top of your message. This is the flag of the separatist faction of Polisario Front backed in Tindouf camps south Algeria far from the Western Sahara region.

You are there. Would you please tell us if you see this flag during your trip? I guess no as the region is administered by the kingdom of Morocco.

Best

Ahmed Salem Amr Khaddad

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