madnomad.com dispatches aperture poste restante etcetera

Big Boys and Tonka Toys
By Evelyn - 16 Jun, 1999

Page 5 of 6

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We arrived at our camp spot just as the sun was going down. Despite the windstorm that had picked up, we were camping out by the dunes a little ways from the 'hotel-restaurant'—two shacks in the middle of desert. Our ride had tents and said Gregg and I could sleep in the cars. As we were struggled to erect the tents and ground them, Tanguy and the others from the convoy showed up. Despite parking the cars perpendicular to each other in order to wall off an area, sand seeped in through pores of the nylon tent, making it unsleepable. Roger, Thierry and Laetiticia would need to sleep in their car. Gregg and I went with Tanguy to seek shelter at the “hotel".

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Everything worked out for the best and I sensed a turning point to the long trip as we walked out under the moon and stars with our bedding and dinner provisions. Our 'hotel room' was consisted of two metal sheets leaned together forming a V-shape, like a teepee. From inside, the sound of the winds roared. We borrowed a pot to mix together our tins of tuna-in-oil and corn, nicely complemented by bread and tomato. At that moment, there was no other place I would have wanted to be at that moment. Maybe this is what it’s about. I slept soundly that night and dreamt of snow.

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We awoke the next morning to the sounds of camels outside just as day was breaking. The morning was calm but we had to hurry. Thierry and Roger were determined to get to Nouakchott, still 400km away, as quickly as possible and they wanted to leave immediately to beat the heat. They made me nervous, as though they’d make no exceptions to stop. Tanguy wanted to say to them that he didn't think he could ride at their speed and worried that if anything happened to him in trying to keep up, it would delay them even more. Before he could say a word, Roger told him that today he would have to ride faster.

Once you reach the coast, travel is pretty fast-moving on the hard-pack sand surface. The worst in terms of challenging terrain was apparently behind us. Tanguy was doing great and in fact, Roger was having more trouble keeping up without overheating the Nissan. We passed through varying landscape, sampling the warm colors of the desert morning. Dunes—some colored ochre, some bleached white—cast hard-edged shadows as the sun was still low.



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