I went to Nouakchott for a 24 hour round trip, so I could clear out my apartment there. Landed Saturday late afternoon. That evening Babacar, Lisa and their kids came over with pizza and sweets. I had brought all what was left of my American supplies in Las Palmas to give to them. Lisa is from New Jersey and I thought they would enjoy the rest of my American stash. Babacar was also kind enough to stop and purchase the one souvenir that Barbara wanted from Mauritania, a dagger; but more about that later.
Sunday Jennifer came a picked me up, no guards, no GPS; I am no longer an employee. Jennifer is the partner of Kinross’ Security Manager. After my escape from the apartment we were off to breakfast first and then a tour of the parts of the city I was never allowed to go to. Got pictures of real life in Nouakchott, the busy markets and streets. I also got pictures of the two biggest mosques in Nouakchott. The one with the two minarets is the Mauritanian mosque, the one with only one minaret is the Moroccan mosque. The minarets are where the “call to prayers” is broadcast. I found many of those calls very peaceful. It depended on which mosque and who was doing the call. There was one early in the morning that I could hear from my kitchen window, and another in the afternoon from the office window.
Off to the Nouakchott airport for the last time. Remember that dagger? It caused quite a stir at the airport. The guard found it when the bag went through x-ray. Hell, I even buried it way under my bras and panties thinking they normally won’t touch those and give up searching. Not this time! Instead the dagger was inspected, examined and even searched in their database by up to 7 guards. Good thing I got to the airport early! Luckily the Kinross escort was with me and he could explain it was a “gift” just a souvenir.
However, I learned one very important lesson each time I passed through this airport. Just stand there looking humble and let them act important. My knees beep (metal) and the first time it happened I raised my pant leg to show the scar, not realizing I would offend a Mauritanian man. After that Barb wrote me a “note” with a picture of my x-ray as well as a French explanation of why I beep. The inconsistency in how this issue was treated was always an adventure. Everything from one guard yelling at me as to why the note wasn’t signed by the doctor, to another guard laughing and staying “ding, ding”. Yup “ding, ding”. So that became what I would say to them when I handed the paper.
Other times I would be asked how much money I had on me. I guess a while back that meant they wanted to search your wallet and then get a “tip”. So, I started always carrying my money in my jeans pocket because there was never a woman
guard who would be able to search me.
Finally, the plane took off, but this flight stops in Nouadhibou. I was able to get some decent pictures as we flew in. Nouadhibou is a fishing village/city. The pictures, unfortunately show a sand storm blowing in so they almost look foggy.
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