There are very few paved roads here, mostly just the road leading away from the airport and then the main road itself.There is sand everywhere and I mean everywhere, from grainy sand to finely ground talc sand to invisible can only be percieved by the back of the throat lighter than air gets stuck in your nose hairs and makes your eyes water all the time sand. It is also notably warm.
You know when CNN and National Geographic shows scenes from some city in the middle of the desert that has just been bombed and there is rubble and broken cars and people lying on the streets (on the sand) and everyone looks forlorn? Yeah, well that's how it looked before the bomb hit it too.....!!!! No shit.. This is Africa (T.I.A.)
All the men wear traditional white "jupa" gowns and black turbans, the women are sensibly and modestly wrapped from head to toe in long flowing indian cotton shalwars.
People sit on the roadsides (no sidewalk) literally on the roadsides in the sand or on a sheet of cardboard or blanket with their friends and jugs of tea,while their children play in the streets, they just watch the day go by.
No camel sightings yet but plenty of Donkeys. There is one who lives in the empty lot just outside my window and woke me up this morning at the crack of sand. He was probably a rooster in another life. I think I'll call him Seiko, like the clock. We have two little baby pusses who live in our garage. They are so sweet and friendly, we also have two grown up pusses who live in the hangar who are identically marked to our Lulu and Small friend, but grown up and regal. They get fed every morning before we get our coffee.What a life to be a cat, even in the desert.
The crew house is a traditionally styled desert house located in town (which is very affluent, packed with embassies and company offices and expats) built with modern materials, surrounded by a high wall, the garages open unto the courtyard planted with trees and shrubs, then to the patio through which you access the arab style sitting room (floor level sofas, short tables, big cushions on the floor, yadda yadda yadda..) thence to the TV room (fully airconned) and next into the large common kitchen with two fridges and a freezer, a small stove and two sinks (on opposite ends of the room)
There are eight bedrooms of which four are downstairs and four upstairs(the big boss, the chief pilot, the senior training Captain and His lordship who rules over all he surveys.......me!!!They all have bathrooms except mine (can you imagine that?) but I will be soon moving into Frankies room as he departs on Sunday (downstairs with ensuite shitter and soaper).
Another staircase takes us up to the open terraced roof with a splendid view of the sand.
There is a total of 12 pilots on the operation, 6 at a time.
The engineering staff are very entertaining with a mixed grill of Two Danes, Two Brits, a south african born Portugesian, an Irishman and a boxcarload of locals.
There a some really good classy(everything is relative T.I.A.) restuarants in town, including Pizza lina italian pasta etc. (had lunch there today) and the Shenker, which is an expat crewhouse/B&B/ restuarant and bar,swimming pool open only to Cardholders (non-locals), where one can have a steak, a hamburger and fries, a HAM sandwich, a $10 USD heineken or a shot of Jack Daniels/Vodka (name your poison)...yup, Mauritanias best kept secret....yeah right, they had to cut down the trees on the PAVED sidewalk to stop the locals from climbing them to peep over the wall..Allah-o Ackbar....praise for his mercies and so on.
It is rumoured that there will be another Coup attempt in the next few weeks, the foreign offices are in the know but the ex-pat population all smile and say 'bring it on, working holiday comin up' Even Capt X grins and shakes his head, he's been here a while and assures me that it will be nothing more than a nuisance because the foreign companies say to whoever is in charge this time,"if you dont sort your shit out RIGHT NOW, we will all leave and you will starve". So it has gone, in the last coup, the only gunshot was fired by a policeman who tried to stop an obstinate old local woman from walking down her street to get to her sons house, she completely ignored him and in trying to run after her while being verbally punished by the same old dear, he fell over and accidentally discharged his gun (into the sand of course) scaring the crap out of himself.!!
Tonight got quite chilly and the temp outside is now 21 degrees, it is lovely and as I sit on the roof and watch the sky, the cool sea breeze magics the dust away to reveal a most beautiful desert moon, like a silver sea shell in the depths of space.....
I think I'm gonna like it here.
More, Sean, more!
Check photos out on facebook for now, all you friends of Sean, or stand by and I will put some up here on the weekend.