I struggled to get back to sleep after Dennis’s crazy idea to get up at 1am. So at 5 we decided we would get up and on the road back to Nouakchott. By the time we had cooked porridge and packed up it was 7.45, but still pitch black.
I wondered how we would cope with the dreadful track with Poki’s not so brilliant headlights. The sun gradually came up. The reddest sunrise I have ever seen, it just goes to dismiss the old adage about “Red sky at dawning, shepherd’s warning”. It was obvious a baking, blue sky day would follow.
It wasn’t easy in the dark but the problem was we somehow missed the turning retracing the route we came on yesterday. Our Sat-Nav hadn’t recognised the road and still didn’t. She wanted us to continue straight ahead. We realised we must have gone wrong but kept following on the horrible track. We knew we were going east, as we were heading into the sun, which made visibility and avoiding the bumps even harder.
Lost, sort of.
I thought we were on the track between Diama and Rosso, as there were glimpses of the Senegal river from time to time on our right. Eventually we entered a township where the morning rush, including of donkey carts, was just beginning. A not very edifying place with copious amounts of litter and severely potholed roads. Some shops signs revealed it was indeed Rosso.
Rosso is also a border crossing point. However, we were advised by everyone we spoke to and by everything we have read to avoid this crossing. The trucks cross here and it takes hours. It is the corruption of the officials that is the main problem though.
Now back on the tarmac road we made good time until we got to the city boundary. Traffic was a chaotic mess from now on. Red lights and one way streets ignored. A free for all. Our first destination courtesy of our Sat-Nav was the wrong one. Google maps soon sorted us out and we arrived at the Senegal Embassy.
We immediately bumped into the Russian/German couple who had been at Auberge Triskell in the van. Russian passport holders need a visa. The Russian lady had just been to collect hers, having lodged her passport the day before.
It was so nice to meet a friendly official at the Senegal Embassy reception. The young man explained to Dennis that he needed to fill in a form and supply 2 passport sized photos, with a copy of his passport. He said we would have to hurry as the Embassy was closing at 1pm. We ran back to Poki for the necessaries and filled in the form (all in French, of course, but I think we got it right!)
Back we went and had the form checked and we’re then invited into the inner sanctum of the Embassy where another lovely helpful lady entered all the details into a computer and said the visa would be ready tomorrow afternoon. We asked if it could possibly be ready in the morning to give us time to drive to Diama. With a bit of friendly persuasion, she agreed.
We decided to go back to Auberge Triskell. It has become somewhat of a home/haven for us in Mauritania. It is literally 2 minutes walk around the corner from the Senegal Embassy. We should be able to be on the road to Diama in good time tomorrow.
Dennis spent the afternoon doing some minor interior repairs in Poki, then washing her. Something I considered a complete waste of time. She will be filthy again within minutes of us getting back on unmade roads.
I was feeling lazy so spent the time communicating with family, before making us afternoon tea with biscuits. In order to be prepared to set off early tomorrow, we did some shopping for provisions. Then chilly-con-carne for dinner and an early night.