The country of firsts

Trip Start Dec 12, 2010
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Trip End Dec 16, 2012


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Flag of Mauritania  ,
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Never when we were younger, did we imagine travelling to the country of Mauritania. Probably only 5 years ago we didn't even know that there was such a country. But after spending some time in Mauritania, we saw many things and experienced many things. We like to now remember Mauritania, the country of firsts.
So after a 7 hour border crossing from Morocco (Western Sahara) into Mauritania, we had our first 'we are in Africa' feeling. The people were darker and we admired their beauty against the bright clothing and local male dress that we now know as the boo boo. We were so impressed with the boo boo that Shaun was keen to purchase the oversized apron like clothing, in which he did, and the locals gathered around whilst he tried it on.
Mauritania was our first 'African' country, and straight away we felt welcome as we drove through the towns with locals frantically waving at us like they had never seen such a strange truck full of white people.
Our first night in Mauritania brought us our first alcohol free night for the entire tour group, as alcohol in Mauritania is illegal, so it probably wasn't best to drink when we had only just entered the country.
The friendliness of locals continued as we explored the capital, Nouakchott. Many of the locals were often keen to practise their English, and one even asked for a photo to be taken of them, not expecting any money in return, now that's a first.
Nouakchott was the first capital city we had ever been to, that was lined with sandy streets! We stayed in the centre of the city and it didn't feel like a capital, so undeveloped, but so cool in its own special way.
Our main agenda in Nouakchott was to get our Senegal visas, and unlike our experience in Rabat and Casablanca, it was the first time we were successful first try. We were lucky that the people at the embassy were so friendly, as they allowed us to apply for our visas on a day that there was no visa applications accepted.
After our visa business was taken care of, we hopped in a piece of crap taxi and headed to the fish market on the beach. The biggest fish market in West Africa, it was awesome. It was the first time we had been offered 5kg of fish in exchange for our point and shoot camera. And it was also the first time that young African guys blew kisses at Karen. Another first was when we took a taxi from the fish market, the driver was eager to please and tried to chase the sunset so that we could get a good photo.
In Nouakchott we ate some awesome cheap burgers and did some bargain shopping in the local markets, but soon departed, bound for Senegal. As we drove along the main highway, we passed the sand dunes of the Mauritanian Sahara Desert, glanced at the desert village life of the locals and were shocked at the amount of rubbish, even in the middle of nowhere, tens of kilometres from any town. This was Mauritania and it was our first visit, and looking back on our experiences, not being our last visit isn't out of the question.
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