My Mauritanian friend gives me some cash to catch a “sept-place” private taxi to the border with Senegal. I catch it somewhere in the outskirts of dusty Nouakchott and receive honest treatment from the taxi operators. It is not too far to the river Senegal and the border, and the scenery is already getting richer. Some brushes, even trees start lining the road and by the time I got off in the village of Rosso the desert was behind me.
I cross the river on the free ferry. On the other side, a group of locals jumps on me (the only white person) and tell me about taxi fares and that I have to provide a proof that I have enough cash to live in Senegal and that I have to come with them they know it better they’re local.
I say “no”. I know what I’m doing. And I walk on a few hundred meters, thinking how much I like just being alone walking along the road until after the stalls where people smile more and more, this is the main road to Dakar so I march on for two minutes then hear the roar of a good engine, I stick out my thumb – a black BMW stops, and the Mauritanian television producer gestures me in. He’s going straight to Dakar, of course, and I am welcome to join him. We talk about his work. He is going to Dakar to learn from Senegalese TV producers then apply it to the Mauritanian market.
Through the open window I hear birds and smell green again.
We passed St. Louis (he said I should visit it) and arrived in Dakar quite late. Before I could tell him anything, he had offered me his hotel room. That night I slept on my sleeping back rolled out in the corner of a hotel room in downtown Dakar, fully air-conditioned and immaculately clean.