Saharan Hospitality at its finest

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


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Where I stayed
la perle de la mer

Flag of Western Sahara  ,
Monday, October 4, 2010

Well, another uneventful day i thought to myself as although Jay was feeling better he was still ill. We went back to the pharmacy and bought a thermometer. Jays Temperature had gone down from 40c to 38c. He still had the crazy ambition in my opinion to sell some items after changing some tyres in town.

People flock around again to see whats on offer. I cant do much again except for help whenever i can. Jay sells a multi-CD changer that was in my car and as the buyer is requesting the connector we have to cut it out. I whip my leatherman tool out and begin to cut the thick DIN wire. Unfortunately there is still current on the wire and since im cutting i can hear it short-circuiting. We disconnect the battery and Jay takes out the car stereo to cut off the other end of the DIN connector. Despite disconnecting the battery it has done some damage to the cars circuits.. the central locking i worked hard to fix is now dead.. great. It still works manually though. The stereo doesn't work either, bit of a bummer since its a long 5hr drive to Dahkla tomorrow.

It hasn't done Jay any good but we end the sale and get to sidis house, an old acquaintance of Jays to sell a few items. There we ask if we can get some washing done to which he gladly accepts although we have to do it ourselves as there is no tap water. We grab our washing from the hotel and get to it. We have to carry the washing machine out into the yard then fill it up slowly with a pan from a water reservoir. Then its washing powder in with the clothes and put in on max time, 15mins. Then we get the clothes out and rinse it manually then put it in the centrifuge. Quite a laborious task and Jay aint up to scratch obviously. Sidis mum watches and helps a bit. I'm surprised she can understand Spanish and later find out that people in Sahara still speak Spanish since the Spanish occupied Sahara till the 70s i think. I should have known this but have been a bit ignorant..

Its back into town to get a haircut since this is pretty much one of the last places to get a decent Haircut during our long trip deep into Africa. We look at a few places as there are many but they all try to rip us off. Jay hasn't been able to eat in the last 48hrs and is getting a bit moody with this. We find a place in the entrance to town and finally agree that 30Dh for a haircut and shave is adequate. During the conversation a softly spoken local guy is captivated by our presence and politely introduces himself. His name is Mahmoud and turns out to be a reporter for Al Hurra television and is on holiday at the moment. He is very kind and polite and we commence an interesting conversation while myself and Jay have our beards shaved for the first time in our lives. We take some shots and Mahmoud kindly offers for us to come round his house. Jay is a bit reluctant due to his health but we accept the gracious offer. At his home we get some served some extravagant mint-tea that is prepared in true Saharawi style. A laborious task of re-pouring the tea till a lot of foam is produced, a real form of art! Im served the first cup and am totally honored! its always served half-full with plenty of foam almost like haute cuisine. It truly is the best Ive had in a while. To add to this Mahmoud comes out with a local gown, traditionally worn by desert people in general. Its found in many countries and has some intricate designs sewn into it. I get offered to wear it and accept graciously. I'm even allowed to re-pour some tea and i gleam with delight as Jay takes some shots of me. Jay is not feeling to well and has to go back to the hotel unfortunately. I stay on and unknown to me they have prepared some fish Tagine. I cant believe the amazing hospitality and start on an amazing fish Tagine, the best ive had by far. Afterward we sit around and i joke a bit and try to show off some Arabic words i have learnt. It goes down well and i find out that the people here share a lot more with Spain than i had imagined. Not only do most people speak or understand Spanish here they also have Gofio! For those who don't know, Gofio is ground wheat or Maize and is a traditional canarian thing. For the elders here its still called Gofio while the youngsters have adopted the name Gofia instead. I'm delighted by all this and soon its time for goodbyes as its late. Its hugs and am even escorted back to the Hotel. I'm touched by the great hospitality here and it certainly has opened my eyes. One of the main reasons for my trip has been fulfilled and i hope this repeats itself.

I do decide to take some shots of the stars since there is no wind and the sky is clear. I drive down to the beach but a thick mist has rolled in with some clouds so i try to make the most of things. I drive back and on the way i decide some urban night photography would be good since Boujdour has a big poruguese lighthouse as its most famous landmark.
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