#08 – Amazing end in Morocco
Not sitting still
Due to a broken airbed I haven’t cycled for a whole week now, as I’m waiting for a new one. It gave me some time to work on my video and to work out a very ambitious social project: clean the Moroccan Sahara from trash and to turn the trash into art.
I have been lucky to find three guys who want to help me to set up this project, called Zero Waste Sahara. For the last two days we have met and changed some thoughts.
I will continue cycling very soon and communicate on distance with them. Said, Ayoub and Oussama are actually going to set up the organisation, as they know the way of doing things in Morocco. We are all very excited about it!
Waiting in patience
I’m still ‘stuck’ in Dakhla, waiting for a new airbed. Not that it’s so bad, because the family I’m staying at are wonderful people. They teach me a lot about the Moroccan culture and they make me love the local food very much. The cats are fun to play with also. Unfortunately, one of the young cats got sick and died last night.
I truly start to miss cycling. The sound of horning cars, the silence and nothingness of remote places, the merciless sun, the uncomfort of wearing sweaty clothes all day, the surprise of transforming landscapes. To end up in unexpected situations, to get physically tired and knowing that you still need to put up camp and make yourself a well deserved dinner. Watching the moon and the stars when you take a piss. It’s all part of just another day of cycling, but I love it, and I miss it.
However, I try to use this time useful by working on my video, my website and the Zero Waste Sahara project. Besides, the more I do now, the less I have to do afterwards and the more I can cycle.
Back to the road
Far in the distance I see a kite floating above the turning road. It’s one of the many kitesurfers, who travel to this place because there is lots of wind, a warm temperature en there are no waves in the water. Seeing this place also means that I’m leaving Dakhla. I’m back on the road.
More than two weeks ago, my airbed broke. Luckily I was about to stay at a family who didn’t mind if I’d stay one day or two weeks. I had a good time with them and they started to feel like family to me.
I had to make a giant u-turn to get back on the main Sahara road which will lead me to Mauritania. It seemed that the wind blew harder, the sun burned stronger and the desert become more desolate. Time, however, went as fast as before. Before sunset I found an army post to camp at. I’m back in the rhythm of cycling around the world.
Dromedaries and fishing villages
A dog is barking from a distance. The monotonous sound becomes part of the surrounding, like the sound of the wind and the ongoing waves of the ocean. For two hours he went, till I finally went back on my bike.
On the road I passed a big group of dromedaries, and I was even able to touch these fascinating animals. A few moments later I pass a fishing village. More than a hundred small fishing boats were collected on the beach, making it look very impressive to see.
The rest of the day wasn’t very interesting. Most of the times my eyes were nailed to the horizon in front of me, staring at the road, which in the far distance reflects the blue atmosphere. I stayed at an army post again and enjoyed some Moroccan hospitality once more.
The soldiers shared some food and water with me again, and this time I appreciated it more than ever. I was running short on it and although I would make it to the next destination with it, it gave me some more guarantee.
Between me and the next stop was about 80 km, with nothing in between. I passed a few crashed cars, burn spots on the road and lots of broken tires. And suddenly a man walked by, on his bare feet. It was unbelievable, something I’d only seen in movies or on Discovery Channel. He probably had quite a story, but that didn’t matter. I gave him some bread and a bottle of water. It left a big impression on me.
A short while later I entered the police check in front of a town, still early in the afternoon and ready to cycle some more kilometers. “There are two option, spend the night here or cycle to the border 80 km further in 2 hours”, the police officer told me. A little bit disappointed I agreed with spending the night here. It wasn’t that bad after all, and it gave me the opportunity to enjoy a tajine one more time, during my last night in Morocco.
I woke up very early in order to arrive at the border of Morocco soon. It was still 80 km, but with some tailwind I made it to there in a few hours. Getting out of Morocco was quite easy and when I did, I literally entered no man’s land.
Around the Western Sahara is a piece of land claimed by the Polisario, a small group supported by the Algerian government. But nobody is actually living there, nor maintains it. Interesting as it is, many broken cars can be found near the path to the border of Mauritania.
“Only one more minute”, says a guy who just put me in front of the que to get a visa. Around me there are 20 men, all looking at me. I feel uncomfortable. Half an hour later me and some other people can finally enter the room with two officials. They are busier with handshakes than with their work. More than one hour goes by till we all have to leave the room, empty handed.
A failing internet system forced the officials to move to the police station. In the mean time, more people arrive and the chaos becomes bigger. Together with some other tourists, we were helped soon and after spending a total of 4 hours at the border, I entered Mauritania. I cycled some more kilometers to find a good camping spot near an army station.