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Mauritania vol.1

I think a travel should be a positive thing. You must put all the weight on the toe. But in my experience, there are some travel doesn't like that. In another words, it's the travel which weight backward, on the heel.

The trip to Mauritania for shooting my work "Dune" must be one of them. I didn't have enough information although I decided to go to the Sahara. My anxiety was piled up. Add to that, the aerial photo of the capital city, Nouakchott, looked like a nest of ant. The city was covered with reddish sand and had a lot of small holes. I supposed those were houses. "I'll stay this city for three weeks" Watching display on my lap top PC, I gloomed at the hotel room in Paris.

Therefore next day my step toward Charles de Gaulle Air Port was really dull. Only the fact that I had a ticket forced me to go there. I arrived the air port just 20 minutes before the departure time. I almost gave up the flight. Actually, my mind was so negative for thinking that I would go if possible. But fortunately, or unfortunately, the flight had delay. There was a long line in front of the air line check-in counter.

The check-in was started. It's already 11 o'clock nevertheless the departure time had been 10. I had waited for long time even after finishing passport check. The air line company distributed a meal coupon. But it's not the end of the long waiting. I had to wait more in the transit area. At 5 o'clock in the evening, they gave us another meal coupon for dinner. "Is it OK for management of this air line company?" That's none of my business, but I worried about it. Actually, the airline company was bankrupt a few years later. The deficit of heavy distribution of meal coupon must be a cause of it, I guess.

When I was almost canceling the flight, a boarding gate was open. It's 6 o'clock. It would be at mid night to get to Mauritania. "Perhaps, no money exchange office will be opened, and no public transportation neither. I gloomed again. But the plane took off easily against such gloom and gravity of the planet.

At 1 o'clock in the morning, I was at the passport control of Nouakchott airport. Tourists were not so many. They tried to get an immigration card from an officer so quick. "Why they are so hurry?" While I was going leisurely, the cards in his hand had all gone and he said. "That's all for today" Hey! come on! It's not card game.

After all, it took an hour for going through the passport control. I could make sense the reason why the tourists so hurried up. Of course, they had gone by hotel's bus much earlier, means I was just standing alone in front of the Mauritanian airport at 2 o'clock in the morning. Maybe only person who approached such traveller would be an illegal taxi driver.

As I had been expected, a driver with women came up to me and I was brought to a hotel in the city. "You travel alone?" "Yeah" "You come here for what?" "To see the desert" "Is that only reason you came here? You speak French?" "Neup" The woman next to me shook her head. The driver added words "Mauritania is a bad country. Keep in mind" I paid excessive fare and hotel charge and finally, got into bed. It's 3 o'clock in the morning.

Nov. 2005

Today's piece
"Still life" Boutilimit, Mauritania 1999

1 Room on the 6th1/2 floor 2 Going Morocco during Ramadan

fumikatz osada photographie