The rumor "the Japanese tourist who has a bunch of money stays in
the hotel" might be spread out. From the next day, guide applicants
came up one after another. The hotel employee called me up even in midnight.
The prostitute came and said I had made a deal with her. Of course, I didn't
know the deal.
"Gash, they could take everything from me" What was worse, everybody
advised to me "They are gonna deceive you. Believe me."
On the 3rd day in Mauritania, I made mind going to see the desert. "Yes.
I came here for seeing the Sahara"
Once I got out from the city, there were the world of sand. In the great
Sahara, I thought I was released from the stress ....... But, on the way
back to the city, at the regional border, our car was stopped by the police.
The driver and guide got investigation.
I was ordered to pay 50 USD for fine because I had taken photos in the
town where we had visited just before. I could not understand the reason
of the fine. But finally, I gave it up. By the way, why the police knew
I had taken photos in the town? The fact was much more queer to me than
the fine itself. "If all these people cheating me together.... I can't
I paid 100 USD for the driver and guide. I also paid 50 USD extra for the
fine. I spend 150 USD for just one day. It's very easy to come back from
"the dream Sahara" to "the hell of reality". I had
presupposed that the adventure must be expensive. But it's far beyond my
estimate. "So how much I need for 3 week stay, after all?" In
exchange for the adventure, my wallet was desertificating.
I was depressed at the hotel lobby. "You'd better to go to Dakar of Senegal rather than stay here. You must be happy with it" Senegalese merchants gave me the advise.
But unfortunately, I didn't even know how to get to the border.
My stress reached to the limit. On the 4th day, I went to the air line
office and changed my return flight on 14 days later to next day. Then
I was ordered to change the tourist permission. I couldn't understand why
I need such a complicated procedure to shorten, not prolong, my schedule.
It took 3 hours.
The travel which completely weighted on the heel, did it change to another
one if was more positive?
On the last day in Mauritania, I visited a travel agency for exchange.
After listening the story of travel which was shortened to 5 days, the
old owner showed me a photo. It's the photo of "the camel tour on
the dunes" which was held by the agency. In the photo, Japanese young
women in Mauritanian traditional dresses were smiling delightfully on the
dune. He passed me wrinkled French Franc bills and smiled. His smile involved
some pity to me.
"Blue man" Nouakchott, Mauritania 1999
Paris-Dakar Paradise beyond the dune After glow