Terjit Oasis, Mauritania, October 21 - 22, 2007
Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
85Trip End Jan 05, 2008
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Outside of Nouakchott you also see rather few women outside in Mauritania. Those that are out, however, are not veiled and mostly wear bright-colored dresses in African patterns rather than the drab black and gray shrouds prevalent in the rest of the Arab world.
Perhaps most women just stay at home in this strict Muslim country, or perhaps some of them are so obese as to be housebound
We backtracked part of the way from Chinguetti and then turned off the (apparently EU funded) tarmac main road into an impressive desert canyon. The sand dunes, brown and black rocks, acacia thorn trees, and brilliant blue skies created another very satisfying "Real Africa" atmosphere as we got bogged down in the sand a couple times on the short drive into Terjit.
Terjit itself is a cool, humid, date palm oasis in a narrow canyon, with hot springs that feed into several natural pools between the palms. The village below the oasis sprawls down and out of the canyon, and with its wattle and daub huts arranged helter-skelter along a single sandy track has a very stereotypical African village look about it.
Everywhere we walked in Terjit we were followed by herds of little children begging for cadeaux
Our campground at Terjit was situated alongside the canyon wall just above the village and just below the oasis pools. The campement was one of attractive round white-stucco huts with conical roofs that seemed very African looking but were much nicer than and entirely unlike any of the dwellings in the village. After dark there was not a sound of a single light from the village below. The canyon walls, however, created a phenomenal echo effect of all the sounds we made. Thus, when the first glimmer of the dawn's early light appeared the early risers' loud conversations and simple attempts at wit as they were wandering about in their head torches banging pots and pans around were magnified and repeated as the echoes resounded back and forth between the canyon walls.
"How ya doin', ol' boy........ol' boy........ol' boy..........ol' boy?"
"How'd ya sleep...........yasleep..........yasleep.............yasleep?"
I've never quite understood why some people feel the need to ask you first thing in the morning about how you slept
Breakfast was scheduled for 7:30 that morning, but the meager offerings were already being cleared away when I arrived at 7:20. I vowed to (and threatened) everyone that the next time it was my turn to make breakfast I was going to pour boiling water from the kettle over the hands of anyone who tried to approach the breakfast table early for anything more than tea or coffee. And if you're still wondering, the answer to the question is, "I had a horrible night and hardly slept a wink in my overheated stone oven of a hut!"