These days, nothing but sand. Life in the Sahara.

MAURITANIA_08

After a day’s walking, I saw what looked to be a desert commune in the distance. This made me very excited. I jumped off the camel, ran to the head nomad and said, ‘Can we stay here, can we stay here? Please, please?’. I ran-around in circles like a dog when he hears the leash and works out he’s going for a walk. I ran so fast I tripped over, head first into the sand. I then burst into hysterical laughter. He glanced at me in disgust, and kept walking. ‘Ah C’mon mate, lighten up!’. Strained tolerance. That’s how I’d describe his feelings towards me.

We ended up staying a night in the commune. Whenever I first awoke in the tent, I’d look up and see all the nomads staring at me. I’d get a bit of a fright, ‘Aaaaahh! What the hell did I drink last night? Where am I?’. I then remember I’m riding a camel through the Sahara with nomads. ‘Oh yeah’ (nodding to myself agreeably). I look at them and smile,  ‘So, how are we all this morning?’. I say this in a very strong Australian accent. That’s greeted with a unanimous giggle. I always get laughed at when I travel. I laugh too. Louder. And more aggressively. So as to drown them out and teach them that I’m not fucking a party trick! I have feelings too.

‘So, what’s for brekky?’. I don’t rate Mauritanian breakfasts. At first I thought it was just the hotel I stayed at upon arrival. But it kept happening. Breakfast generally consisted of a massive loaf of bread. I looked at it on my plate, and thought, ‘Hmmmmm’. You know when a dog gets a bone so big, at first he doesn’t quite know how to deal with it, such is its overwhelming presence. He takes a few moments to observe the bone. He might even circle it. Then it thinks, fuck it, I’m a dog, just dig in and gnaw. So that’s what I did. I picked up the monolith and started gnawing into it. It was quite a sturdy loaf, so it cracked my front teeth. I didn’t want to lose face with the nomads, so I just spat the teeth out, laughed, and kept gnawing (I was crying on the inside though). I got about 3 bites in before putting it down saying, no more, no more. I’m tender. I can’t do this. I’m used to strawberries, yoghurt and cereal for breakfast. That’s when they handed me a knife, butter and jam, with a look that said, ‘Patience is a virtue’. Balls.

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