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Crossing Borders

Rosso, Mauritania

The hotel receptionist in Nouakchott flagged down a local taxi to take us to the main taxi rank, we think he felt a little guilty for pestering us so much as Ben had previously told him to stop knocking on our door because Kat was ill.

We pulled up at the taxi station where we were bombarded with drivers arguing over who's going to take us and for what price. Men were trying to take our bags and shove them in the bags of their car; it was a bit of a tug-o-war match but we got a good price, 7000ogli for us and our bags for the 2hr journey to the border.

It was 1pm when we arrived and lots of people trying to 'help' us which left us feeling disorientated. It's illegal to take Mauritanian money out of the country and there is no official place to change it into CFA, only a run down shop with a man and an old calculator. We'd gotten the conversion from Oli's West Africa book so the one the man was giving us was way off and we felt the dread of being seriously screwed over. Arguing it the man who had shown us the shop took us round the back of it and down an alleyway. There were a few men sat in a lean to and one came out with a load of money in the breast socket of his shirt. We told him how much we wanted to change and what we wanted in CFA in return and he gave it to us no questions asked. Our next obstacle was the guard at the border gate... To give you a clear representation of Mauritanian police force, the guard said the gate was shut until 3pm so we'd have to wait for 2hours or pay him 3000oglis even though he was letting people in and out of the gate. Kat was feeling weak again and we just wanted to get through the border and into some shade so we paid the corrupt bastard. If Kat wasn't ill, we so should have given them hell as it's outrageous how much they try to take from you and we have a right to question it.

permalink written by  Kat and Ben on July 9, 2009 from Rosso, Mauritania
from the travel blog: Kat & Ben's World Adventure
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