Monthly Archives: June 2007

current location: Dakar, Senegal

Senegalese cell: +221-240-2331
me@christophbangert.com

Some new pictures. Please click on ‘read more’ below in order to see them all. If you want to see the images in a slideshow you can then click on one of the pictures. The slideshow can be controlled with the ‘next’ and ‘prev’ buttons on the upper right and left side of each image.

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Africa Dispatch: Senegal

Senegalese cell: +221-240-2331
me@christophbangert.com

With the intention to finally start to select about 20 pictures from Iraq for a gallery show that will open in the fall, I am turning on the computer. As usual the little machine is placed on my knees while I am sitting in the front seat of my Land Rover. Outside it’s already dark. The sun was swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean some time ago, ending a hot and humid day. The inside of the vehicle is being dimly lid by the computer’s screen, making me blind to the dark surroundings of the makeshift campground that I am calling my home for more than a week now. I am the only guest. Just a few moments ago, while deep in thought, I noticed some sort of movement on my right side. When I looked up I saw the dark face of a huge man just millimeters away from the glass of the car’s side window staring at me out of the night in total silence and with great seriousness.

Overcoming my shock and surprise I stumbled a clumsy “Bon soir.”, gratefully recognizing the man’s face as the one of the night watchman, who had come to say hello and observe me at work.

I am in Dakar, Senegal.

First of all I would like to thank everybody who responded to my last dispatch. Not all responses were positive, which I was quite happy about, because it helps me to improve things. I never felt very confident about my writing and I only see it as a supplement to my images. I am a photographer not a writer. Nevertheless I feel that it is important to condense some thoughts into words sometimes. I am continuing to write in my little blue diary every night.

To sum up the reactions to my last dispatch: My mother loved it. My sister thought it was too negative. My father probably did not read it because it wasn’t in German. (And I admit, it was terribly long, too. He has my full sympathy on that one.) My girlfriend just kept laughing.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you want to be taken off this email list. I do get tons of annoying mass emails myself, so if you think that my occasional dispatches are just unnecessarily adding to the mountain of “free Viagra” and “Instant penis enlargement formula” emails, please tell me.

I completed the first part of my journey. From Daun in Germany to Dakar in Senegal. 8,515 Kilometers in about six weeks. The trip went very well so far, but it has to be said that this was probably one of the easiest parts of the journey. I am in good health, and the car is running without any problems. Like an old steam locomotive. It’s not the fastest or most elegant vehicle around, but it just never stops functioning.

I am happy. It was a bloody good idea to do this trip. If I’m lonely? Yes, I little bit. I miss my girlfriend. A lot. It makes a huge difference if you are in a relationship or not when you do such a long journey. When I was traveling from Argentina to New York, I had no girlfriend, well, most of the time, so there wasn’t really anybody to miss.

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current location: Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Mauritanian cell: +222-763-3098
Thuraya Sat phone: +88216-51071135
me@christophbangert.com

Some new pictures. Please click on ‘read more’ below in order to see them all. If you want to see the images in a slideshow you can then click on one of the images. The slideshow can be controlled with the ‘next’ and ‘prev’ buttons on the upper right and left side of each image.

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Africa Dispatch: Mauritania

Mauritanian cell: +222-763-3098
Thuraya Sat phone: +88216-51071135
me@christophbangert.com

Dear all,

I am in Nouadhibou in Mauritania.
I’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 wasn’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 hometown’s only stationary store.

At night you can see me sitting in my car accurately noting the day’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 everyone’s eyes. Otherwise it wouldn’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 didn’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 wouldn’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 don’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 don’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:
http://africablog.christophbangert.com/

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 “Jingle Bells” and are now slowly, after some consideration, moving on to a Shakira song that I can’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.

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