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Anew the way back down south (BDS) to Nouakchott/Bamako. Isabel Fiadeiro.

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Monday, November 06 2006

2 years, 3 months, 15 days

Nouakchott, Mauritania

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

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Manfred is creator of ThisFabTrek.com, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journies. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Land Rover 47,032km

Trekking 313km

Ferry 803km

Train 150km

Other cars 24,542km

(Hyundai 7,065km)

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

MSConex, Renewables and Environment

Generizon, Renewables and Environment

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm.

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Friday 20/10 Back on the road.

Map: Down South, in a Hyunday Galloper.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

Setting out. Driving away from home always intails a feeling of senselessness.

The car, a Hyundai Galloper V6 Automatic makes problems from the beginning. Later at night in Germany temperatures drop to 4°C, it starts raining.

The electronic causes the engine to shut off repeatedly. Is it the sparking plugs, the petrol pump/filter, wrong fuel, no idea.

The Hyundai coming from Iran was in a customs depot for 9 month.

I stop often, check what ever I can check. The cause for the repeated intermissions though will remain a mystery for the entire journey.

(PS. 2007/01 It was as assumed sand in the fuel tank and filter.)

Still these first days I worry and seek assistance when possible. An it slows me down.

When the first day is always a "why am I doing this, why am I not at home in my wife's bed?" questioning, it only takes a 2nd (day) to find the answers: This is my life. I am so much better when on the move. Out and about.

In Strasbourg I meet Michel, who I climbed the Toubkal with and met subsequently in Marrakech. In Tours I meet Birgit a old, old-friend Austria related.

Michel and I in Strassboug
Odd glasses competition.
Birgit in Tours
Always a couch to crash on.

Weather is sunny, nights are getting colder though.

In Clisson, in the Nante region, in a blue festival tent I remeet and have a series of wonderful days and evenings with Nico who worked for Festival sur le Niger, Mali, which helped me much getting into festival photography.

Festival Tent
A multi cultural event, Clissolidaire.
Nico Legandre
Reenter society in Europe.
Carmen
Friends with Nico and Julie.

And I meet many others, in Clisson Raphy, Patrice and Christine in Nante, Henk and Moran, Philip and Caroline/nowadays Cornelia in Gaillac. And last but not least Julie in Toulouse and Daniel in Madrid.

A word on Andorra as my route BDS takes me through here. It is probably the ugliest place in Europe, at least in summer. I do not even want to stop for a coffee (same as last time really, 9 years ago). Architects have stopped progressing after the 70s. Building sites everywhere for businesses catering to those that come to buy cheap cigarettes. I won't come back.

Catalunya then in Spain, Spain has identity. Madrid is always on the road BDS. "That's why it was so powerful 200 years ago!" On the road to Africa and the Americas.

After a week on the road I am very happy now to be on my way to Africa. And happy that I now can say I have family in Morocco. I am ready for the new adventure, whatever it may bring.

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to Nouakchott

3 days with my new family in the Casablanca region. Maybe Hasna and I will base ourselves here for a while once the babies are born. There is still a lot to be discovered about/in Morocco.

Onwards I drive the 31st of Oct further BDS. The non availability of 98 octane petrol poses further problems for me and the Hyundai. Switch to leaded Super. -- Toujours des problèmes.

All saints day, past Tan-Tan I hit the coast, there is a police post, some drizzle. I take a couple of hitchhikers first to Tarfaya then Laayoune, we don't talk much, the straight road, the overcast sky, all gives the space in time, inspires to think, ponder away.

The cafe opposite the Al-Massira Hotel in Laayoune, Nass-Nass (half espresso/half milk), a cigarette. Memories from my Western Sahara trip last year come up, Smara, El Hagunia, Galtat Zemmour ...

... girls are beautiful in Melhwas, the sovereignty/autonomy issue, the UN, the Saharan Series/Santana Land Rovers, a friendly/relaxed atmosphere, some rain. Now I am "half" Moroccan, married to an Arab.

Not much it seems has changed for the Sahara, Moroccan or Occidental, but it is being discussed. You can raise the topic. But it always ends with who lies? Who has the older rights? Who manipulates? Or who's brain washed? Morocco has been pouring too much money onto this desert country to let go easily. "And those Saharawis will never express gratitude."

ms, Saharawi coast
Why always the same photos here?
the Western Sahara road
Because everything else is flat!

Further south near Dakhla, Hassan and friends set up a little cafe, with virtually no funds/help. To few customers. They invite me to the Nescafe and the 3 cheese. In return I bestow them with 2 cans of beer. You can make friends so easily here. The cafe is on the sunny side of the street/road. In a year a proper terrace and parasols. I a few years a hotel.? "In-challah!" (With the help of God!)

Hassan and friends aoutside cade
Hassan, on the right!
Roadside Cafe Sahara
Still desolate, one day a nice hotel?

Another 3,400 km later I reach the last stop before the border. You come here, spend the night and leave for the border post in the morning. Always. "On a bien fait!" I want to say to Hasna, as if she was here. Down here from Casa in less then 2 days.

Within a year I have been here 3 times. The station, petrol and hotel/restaurant has developed nicely. No more rubbish all-around, tasty food is being served to quite a few customers/over landers/pensioners, tourists on their way to Mauritania. And the espresso machine in morning works (not so last time) and the waiter wears a white shirt.

I reach Nouakchott at 3 in the afternoon on the 2nd of Nov. It is dry and hot. Mid day temps are 46°C. There is a gentle breeze at night. Sleep outside on the terrace of Auberge Sahara. Not many mosquitoes this time.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Auberge Sahara
Mohamed Ibrahim.
Luis Antonio Sanchez Perales, Auberge Sahara
Antonio, Terrace Auberge.
Sunset colours from Terrace, Auberge Sahara
Sunset colours.

And again it is the blend of cultures that fascinates. Arab, Moorish, Bedouin on the one hand, Black, African on the other and the mix is all to obvious in colours, music, food and - attitude of people.

And we manage to party, Sans Souci (next to the Israelian embassy) is the place to be, Herman from Auberge Sahara, Mohamed Ibrahim, the Scottish covert who came to walk the desert with camels, and Antoñio from Peru, on a round the world trip.

A top band of African musicians is playing Africando, but also lots of Bob Marley, Cheb Khalid, Ali Farka Toure and Jimi Hendrix. There is at least twice as many musicians then instruments, so the set-up and voices change all the time. And they serve beer. ;-) The bar is crowded (tourists, expats and prostitutes) and hot just as elsewhere in Africa. We never thought that possible of conservative Mauritania.

Sunday and Monday we take to the markets, Marché Marrocain, Marché Capital. But market people are less easy to have their pictures taken. Just manage sneaks.

Near the Moroccan Market
Near Marché Marrocain.
Near the Moroccan Market
Crappy Merc and donkey cart.
Market Nouakchott
Car market.

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Isabel Fiadeiro.

Isabel Fiadero, Nouakchott
Isabel Fiadeiro.

Monday evening we all go to the Isabel Fiadeiro vernissage in the Centre Culturel Francais Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

Artist Isabel Fiadeiro, daughter of French and Spanish parents lives and works in Nouakchott, speaks 6 languages among them Hassaniya, the language widely spoken in Mauritania. She has travelled the country extensively for some 3 years now, encountering its traditions, nature and people. And she photographed and painted them.

Having met with Isabel on former visits to Mauritania, I saw her putting down graphical designs with coloured pencil on her notebook. I was not aware she had been working on and already going a full portfolio of large scale coloured paintings.

Her favourite surface is paper, whose texture blurs with the paint, which she lets run out in columns, leave stains elsewhere at the same time calligraph over it rendering sharpe, dramatic expressions to portraits and landscapes. Her style invites to step closer to the painting look at the details and question yourself: what is behind the image?

Isabel Fiadero Bandit
Portrait of a bandit.
Isabel Fiadero Girl
Portrait of a girl.
Isabel Fiadero Girl
Portrait of a girl.
Isabel Fiadero Girl
Portrait of a girl.
Isabel Fiadero, man with turban
Portrait of a man.
Isabel Fiadero and Maryam
with Maryam.

Yes it is difficult to take photographs with a flash (no tripot avail) of paintings behind glass.

Maryam
Maryam.
Sidi Mohamed and Herman from Auberge Sahara
Sidi Mohamed, Herman, Auberge Sahara.
Isabel Fiadero and Spanish Ambassador
with Spanish Ambassador.
Auberge Sahara crew, Herman, Bilaal, Sidi Achmed, Maryam.
Herman, Bilaal, Sidi Achmed, Maryam.
Isabel Fiadero exhibition, Nouakchott
Isabel Fiadeiro exhibition.
Isabel Fiadero, old woman portrait
Isabel Fiadeiro.

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Road to Mali Impressions.

I leave Nouakchott the next morning for Bamako. Clear skys, the end of the rainy season. Vegetation in plenty. Cattle and Camels gather at waterholes.

Camels Waterhole, Mauritania
Waterhole Camels.
Camels Waterhole, Mauritania
Mother and Child.
Siyassa, Mauritania
near Siyassa, still Mauritania.
Rocks near Siyassa, Mauritania
Roadside rocks.
Cattle herder boy, Waterhole, Mauritania, Sahel
Another waterhole, Cattle.
Cattle herder boys, Waterhole, Mauritania, Sahel
and two boys with turbans.
Cattle herder boys, Waterhole, Mauritania, Sahel
Essential protection from sun.
Cattle herder, blind old father, Waterhole, Mauritania, Sahel
Blind old man.
Cattle at Waterhole, Mauritania, Sahel
Cattle at Waterhole.
Diema Didiene, Truck, Mali, Sahel, Dust
Dust, merciless truck.
Diema Didiene, evening colours Sahel, Tree.
Evening colours. Mali.

In Bamako late evening Wednesday the 8th, at Relax a large Castel, Kefta, Homos, Taboulet. The Lebanese hang-out kept me driving all day. Really really hungry. Peter and I, both we are happy I arrived savely with the Hyundai after, well yes, some 8,588km. So Nouakchott/Bamako another 1,500.

See you later.

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