Mauritanian cell: +222-763-3098
Thuraya Sat phone: +88216-51071135
I am in Nouadhibou in Mauritania.
Iâ€™ve been trying to avoid writing this dispatch. I repacked the Land Rover again and again. I filled some oil into the engine, I made travel plans, pored over maps, read in my guidebook, drove a lot through the desert, cooked some spaghetti, and drove some more through the desert. Finally there wasnâ€™t anything left to do but to reluctantly sit down and start to write this dispatch.
I like writing. I do write every day in my little blue notebook that I bought on the day I left on my great journey to South Africa in my little hometownâ€™s only stationary store.
At night you can see me sitting in my car accurately noting the dayâ€™s traveled kilometers, date and place into this small diary. I am writing about the highlights and low points of the day and about people I met. But mainly I am writing down my thoughts and ideas, as there is a lot of time to think about things when you are driving for days and days all alone through the desert or the mountains or on a Spanish motorway.
I decided not to write a daily online blog, but write an old-fashioned hand written diary instead, just as I did on my last long trip through South America. And although I know that this is a little disappointing for some people who where hoping to get more frequent updates on my travels, there are several good reasons for this. First of all a diary is something extremely personal and it is important that it contains some things that are not for everyoneâ€™s eyes. Otherwise it wouldnâ€™t be a diary, but a dispatch or an article. I found it very important for my last trip that I wrote very personal things in a way where it didnâ€™t matter how many grammatical errors the notes contained or if it made any particular sense to the reader, in my own language, German, and with the knowledge that not every online geek will read it. My last diaries were the basis for my first book, and it wouldnâ€™t have been possible to edit a meaningful book without writing things up in a very straightforward way while on the road. The only solution would be to write two diaries one on a paper and one online, but I simply donâ€™t have the time.
So there will be no daily blog, but there will be regular dispatches, like the one you are reading, every three weeks or so. And honestly, who really has time to read blogs? I donâ€™t.
I will mainly use the blog to post some of the images of this journey, my current location and updated contact information. You are also able to find my location on a map and all travel dispatches will be collected there. I just uploaded new images, so check it out:
I am sitting in the pleasant and shady communal space of a small dusty campground right next to a gas station in the center of town and I not only have to fight the blaring TV that is producing an incredible noise by presenting French afternoon game shows to the half sleeping guardian of this place, but also a local visitor, who additionally to the TV terror, has just decided to reset the ring tone of his brand new cell phone. The only possible way to do this, naturally, is by listening to all of the 50 or so different tones and songs that are on offer. We just finished listening to the entire melody of â€œJingle Bellsâ€ and are now slowly, after some consideration, moving on to a Shakira song that I canâ€™t recall the title of. I am sure I will be cursed to carry around the melody in my head all day, though.
I will not use these minor distractions as just another excuse for not finishing the task at hand, which is to write down some notes about my travels. I will concentrate as best as I can.