I left Sweden Friday the 13th of January, today it has been two weeks on the road. Two weeks filled with new meetings, new friends and differences. One week ago I had just handed in my visa application to the Mauritanian embassy, found out I have to wait until Monday no matter how much money I paid. I checked in at a cheap hotel in the medina suggested by a guy I met outside the embassy; B, from Poland. We ended up catching a ride with a German man; M, who’s going all the way to Mali. Both of them are now in Mauritania, while I’m here. In Dakhla, waiting for Tuesday when my visa is finally valid.
I’m sitting in my hotel room, listening to the bustle outside, Arabic music playing from some speakers. I’m tired. Very tired. Outside my window is a balcony. A woman comes out, leans towards the reeling and looks down at all the people. I can see her mirror in the glass of the window, she stands there for a long time. Watching.
Yesterday as we were driving through the desert on the straight road, mile after mile after mile… the sun made my face shiny and after some hours both M and I started to see things that weren’t really there. But it looked as they were, the vapor from the sea rising and that straight line of sand… suddenly I could see all the faces of people I’ve met the past year. Everyone appeared so clearly, I saw people behind my closed eyes that I thought I had forgotten what they looked like. Situations I had forgotten passed through my mind.
The desert does strange things to the brain.
We have been driving for four days. One day of hills and bushes, three days of desert. Our driver, M, telling us stories from his travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Algeria… he has been all over the world, but it was the desert-countries he talked the most of. People he’d met, things that’d happened, situations, struggles and successes. All this sand. From where did it all come?
I have learnt so much from M. I can’t believe it! I need a few days now for it all to sink in. For me to remember. It has been so good travelling with him, and as he left this morning he said he’d give me a call in six months or so to check on how I’m doing. “I care about you, you see, I want to make sure you are doing well.” We also decided to maybe go to a festival in Niger next fall, I am so up to that!