Hot Cocoa Swap – Question of the week #4

And this week question is….

What is your most memorable vacation? Where did you go? What made it memorable?

This is so easy! 😀 eh eh eh

It was without any doubt the rally I made last year. It was a charitable rally, running from Plymouth (England) to Banjul (The Gambia) – around 7 thousand kilometers. The track was supposed to be similar with Lisbon-Dakar Rally. I travelled in my old Renault 19 trough Portugal, Spain, Morocco, The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. And yes, the car survived!

I’ve seen so many different cultures, met so different people, seen so different landscapes. I’ve fallen in love with African smell, African colors, African people. I had no idea Moroccan guys were so beautiful! Tanned and with green eyes! OMG green eyes!

I know my life was in danger sometimes. But when I was there, everything was so intense, I seem not to notice it. For instance, once we were in Mauritania. We had just crossed the Sahara desert heading for the border with Senegal. I had a very violent car accident and basically, the wheel fell off.

We went to a camping site to weld it to the car again. I’ve met the owner, a beautiful fancy drug dealer man that looked very very rich. He was drinking his tea, offered me some, and while my friend was trying to weld the piece, he was over the jeep talking to me. And then he turned to my friend and asked if he could marry me! LOL and he said no!!! I could be a millionaire by now! After that, the gave me compliments and went away.

It was dark, very dark, I was closed inside the jeep, only with my camera and a very little knife. Shiny objects started to appear all around me. Objects that turn out to be guns. Big ones! And I was only carrying my little knife… The guys were getting closer, closer, and my friend appears from nowhere! Scared the hell out of me!

The piece was ready and we went back to my car to fix it, where the rest of my group was waiting. The guys put my car back together, and since it was night, very late, I had no lights in my car and it was always overheating, we decided to sleep in the cars and head for the border first thing in the morning.

Perfect, right? No, not really.

Five minutes after we all get in the cars to sleep, a jeep full of soldiers appeared. I was the “boss lady” (only because I can speak French) and the huge captain turned to me and asked me to marry him explained that we couldn’t stay there for the night. It was a military road, and no traffic was allowed at night. For who doesn’t know, Mauritania is in war and the Dakar Rally was even canceled this year because they received so many death threats. So as you see it isn’t a safe country, at least for a foreigner little girl like me. I tried to explain what happened, the troubles we were having with my car, and that we road wasn’t safe for us to travel in those conditions. But he was intransigent. We either could choose to go to the near campsite (HELL NO!!! I didn’t want to be surrounded by guns again) or to go straight to the border. After a conference, we all agreed the best thing to do was to go to the border. We tied my car to one friend jeep so we could see the road with the jeep’s back lights and wouldn’t have to start the car, cause he was overheating and we couldn’t stop.

We got to the border safely (at least is what I like to think). After giving away tons of money, border soldiers offered us tea and we were all drinking, talking and eating pot noodles. We slept in our cars until 6 a.m., time that Senegal border was open.

After getting out of the shit hole called Mauritania, Senegal seemed a paradise! Everybody was so happy, so relaxed! I really liked Senegal. But as everything in life, it had highs and lows. The biggest low was undoubtedly the poverty. I had some goods with me to give to children. When I handed them clothes, toys, food, school material, they were so touched and I was so touched that I couldn’t help some tears from falling.

I had so many adventures within that month… We got lost everywhere! We escaped (non intentionally) from Moroccan customs. We waited for 3 hours for a pizza in Pizza Hut. I’ve seen the most romantic landscapes ever. I slept under Sahara Desert stars. I ate what we call Dust Bread, cause we were so hungry, that we bought some bread in a little village in the desert. And all that bread tasted of was dust and sand. But I ate that. We got lost in the desert. I’ve driven in the beach, ocean in one side, desert in the other. I was robbed. I was asked in marriage at least 50 times (and I’m not exaggerating). I was sexual arrested by 3 Senegalese women. I had a food poisoning. I had a car accident. I was in a little ferry boat with people hanging on the sides, wondering when it would sink. A little girl asked me to bring her with me to Portugal. I cried and laughed. I ate the best pepper steak (don’t ask me if I was sure it was that) ever in a very fancy Gambian restaurant for only 1 Euro (2 Euros is a mensal payment there for loads of people). I have been treated as royalty in Banjul airport. I had met good friends. And more, so much more!

A Moroccan Police Station. We had to stop a gazillion times to deliver our ids.

We starving patiently waiting at Pizza Hut

Sefrou at sunset

South Morocco

South Morocco

First car to fight the sand

Sahara desert (we caught a sand storm)

Sahara desert road

Senegalese sunset

Ferry boat getting loaded

I could go on more, but I’m going to control myself. If you want, I can tell more stories about it.

It was the time of my life !sighing! 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Hot Cocoa Swap – Question of the week #4

  1. uhm, wow
    I haven’t had any vacations to compare with that!!!
    Looks fun and dangerous.
    Very brave.
    I may have to rethink the softee I was making…
    I am hoping to mail your package on Friday, but the mail has to deliver to me one of the package items. I am not very patient.
    your spoiler!

  2. ok, officially the coolest vacation story EVER! what was the charity and how did you get involved? inquiring minds want to know 😉

    ps – found your blog thru the cocoa swap!

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