The night in the tent is pretty cold and when the sun rises a little past eight I stand up. Its Thursday so I need to go to Senegal Embassy to collect my visa today as they will be closed Friday and Saturday for the weekend. My bike registration only lasts seven days so I need to get to Senegal on Monday… No time to lose so. Nouakchott, the capitol of Mauritania, is a crazy town. Kindergartens for example are open at night only because daytime is to hot anyway most of the year and all of the freshwater in town is delivered on wheels – mostly by trains and trucks!
I have to search for more than an hour to find the embassy as there is only a small flag at the top. No signs, nothing. When I come there I got the wrong file printed so the guard at the door is very helpful and tries his best to print the right file from my usb pen – unfortunately without any success. I meet Andi and Julia too and say hello when I enter the embassy but they are just being called into the office. I have to solve the printing problem anyway – but no problem, a young guy who is there just jumps on the bike and shows me the way to a shop to print (I would never have found alone) and back. I expect him to ask for money but no, he smiles at me and thanks me for the ride on the bike.
When I come back Andi and Julia are gone but my papers (Copy of the first 2! Pages of the passport, 1 picture and the print of the email confirmation with the barcode – as well as the passport of course) are fine so I am told to collect the passport at half past 2. That was the nicest embassy abroad ever I think and go to change money, get internet and care for the yellow fever vaccination.
Suddenly a guy tries to stop me but I simply ignore him and stop a few hundred meters later in front of a money changer. The guy comes after me and starts talking to me. He is dressed properly and looks ok so I ask him where it is possible to get coffee and wifi. He actually offers to change money at a pretty good rate but I don’t do this on the street usually. I invite him for a coffee and he tells me a lot about Mauritania and what is possible here. For example a one year residential visa for 80 euro – half a year would be 60… I will need a visa on the way back and getting it in Dakar will for sure be more expensive than 60 euro… I really start thinking about this option but answer that my vehicle registration is valid for 7 days only.
No problem he says and stands up. I pay for the coffee at an amazingly beautiful black girl and we go. 10 minutes before I have to be back at the embassy I have a 15 day extension for the vehicle registration in my pocket and the Senegalese embassy is just around the corner. When picking up the passport I meet Andi and Julia again, my new friend is waiting outside. Visa is fine so we decide to quickly get a green card (vehicle insurance) for West Africa too. Unfortunately this seems to be not possible in Nouakchott. Moltar (my new friend) changes some money for us and then I say good bye to Andi and Julia as I want to stay in Mauritania a few more days and they will head to the border tomorrow.
I haven’t eaten all day so Moltar and I go back to the café this time to eat something and for me to get internet. I invite him again which is very ok for me for all the help and somehow expect him to ask for money… But after exchanging fb contacts he suddenly stands up, says thank you for the invitation and maybe we meet the next days and leaves me alone being very impressed.
When coming back to the camping ground an intercontinental rally has just arrived and I am very pleased to see many KTM Adventures. I get some very good advices during this evening.
At one time I just come out of the kitchen and fall over a dog who bites me in my trousers – clearly my mistake and I say excuse me by petting him a few minutes. Later one of the guys from the kitchen visits me in my small hut (had to change from the tent because they are reserved for the rally people tonight). We make music together for a long time and he tells me about Mali. What he is telling is not the first recommendation and the south of the country seems to be perfectly safe. I will go to Mali embassy maybe Sunday and check if visa is really possible.
At one time I recognize the dog I had been falling over lying in front of my huts door (which is actually a more a curtain). I ask him to come in but he is too afraid and as I try to pull him in walks away. Later, when writing this lines he is outside again. I think he is my favorite new friend of the day even tough this is stupid to say. It was such an amazing day and I met so many incredibly nice people I could write five more pages and still have not told about all the great and beautiful people I got to know today. What an incredibly beautiful country!