Last year Manfred got a 600 dirham fee for speeding in the dessert. This year Flavio got 62 Euro fee for not stopping in time by the police checkpoint in Western Sahara. But it was clear that he’s Italian. He understand bribes and corruption in a way that I never could. Quickly he had turned the fee into 30 Euro.
The sun had set and the darkness embraced us. Far to the right we could glimpse the lights of Dakhla, to the left only an eternal black hole, stretching all the way passed the nomad villages in Algeria, Libya and Chad to Egypt.
I fell asleep in the car, dreaming I was in a bed. Every now and then I woke up, tilted the seat backwards, fell asleep again. As I opened my eyes once more the sun was up, we were bathing in a yellow shine in the dessert and a french woman was walking by with her dog. She waved good morning to me.
I stepped out of the car and realized we were standing in a long line. In the front was the border station.
They said it would open sometime around eight or nine. By half past ten the first cars started driving across the border, and by twelve we could get our passports stamped by the Moroccan staff. But with all the hassle by the border, many bribes paid to make it smoother, the time was past three when we could finally look at the Mauritanian stamp in our passports and get moving towards Nouakchott.
While driving through Mauritania the polices by the check points made us stop every single time. And every single time we had to give away copies of our passports, though I was the only one who had it. I wrote Flavios details on my papers, “ici monsieur, c’est pour l’homme.” we told the polices and we could drive by. Ibrahim in the car behind wasn’t as lucky. He had no copies, and at one stop the military made him take out everything in the car. He had a lot of things.
“You’re my luck!” Flavio said as we passed the controls, “thank you thank you, saved a lot of trouble.”
So remember, bring lot’s of copies of your passport. We had to give away at least ten just during the drive Nouadhibou – Nouakchott. Also, having a woman with you always makes it smoother, just because it’s a woman. Yes, IT’s a woman.