| We are on our way and 15m is now talking to the woman, who removes a baguette from the bundle and passes it forward to 15m. We arrive at her stop, a small village, where she gets out with her bread and the driver unloads he boxes one by one onto the side of the road. 15m takes the bread he was given, breaks off a segment and offers it to Gregg and I. It is possibly the best baguette I have ever tasted.
We pick up two more passengers who are instantly enraptured by 15m. One gets in next to me and greets 15m by wrapping his arms around him from behind. The boy joins us in the middle row so now we are sitting four side by side. I notice the boy has large hands and feet for his size. He pulls out some papers from his pocket—most are in Arabic but one in French. I can tell he wants me to look over his shoulder, so I do. I see it is an instruction sheet for a French exam in July: composition-6pts, vocabulary-3pts, conjugation-5pts, and grammar-6pts. He lights up another cigarette.
Outside, the moving landscape is sand in colors of red, yellow, gray and sometimes white. There are frequently animals crossing the road—goats, donkeys, and the occasional camel. The sun is high and beating down on the black tarmac road.
At 11:40am, we finally arrive at what appears to be our stop. We thought leaving at 7:30 in the morning would give us plenty of time to reach the border before it "closes" from noon to 3pm. As it is, we have to hurry, but first we have to change the rest of the ouguiyas we have as it is not allowed to bring Mauritanian money out of the country. We get off, grab our packs (how did they get so dirty in the back of a closed trunk?) and are waved off in the direction of a row of shacks. There are no signs or obvious buildings as to where we should go to cross the border—only a swarm of touts wanting to change our money, presumably at rip-off rates.