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Old 06-29-07, 08:27 AM   #1
lucky53s
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Nouakchott, Mauritania

Please, please, please someone tell me they have heard of Nouakchott. I am about to move there and would love to talk to someone that has actually been there. I road bike, I MTB, I don't want to have to stop. Unfortunitely it doesn't look like there is much of either considering it is the western part of the Sahara. But if you have anything at all to say, whether it's related or not, feel free to add your 2 cents.
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Old 06-29-07, 08:31 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by lucky53s
Please, please, please someone tell me they have heard of Nouakchott. I am about to move there and would love to talk to someone that has actually been there. I road bike, I MTB, I don't want to have to stop. Unfortunitely it doesn't look like there is much of either considering it is the western part of the Sahara. But if you have anything at all to say, whether it's related or not, feel free to add your 2 cents.
Look at a Surly Pugsley! Those 4" wide tires get good flotation on sand!

and HYDRATE!
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Old 06-29-07, 08:33 AM   #3
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I'd like to do it without buying a new bike. But that could be the plan. Turn the F80 into a SS for when I move home and commute, keep upgrading the Trance til I can come home and ride trails, and buy a Surly for the year in Africa.... I like where your head's at.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:34 AM   #4
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Whoa... WEIRD! I hadn't heard of Nouakchott until May of this year when I went to North Korea. Every single world map had Nouakchott labelled, and I sheepishly had to admit to my guide that I had never heard of it. Apparently Kim Il Sung travelled there, so everyone knows about it. In addition, the ONLY cities labelled in North America on these maps were New York and Ottawa. Go figure...

Sorry if this doesn't help you much, but I thought I'd share . Tom's idea of a Pugsley is a good one!
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Old 06-29-07, 03:17 PM   #5
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Luckily it's not Communist. Yet. It's an Islamic Republic so I guess it's safe.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:10 PM   #6
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I'm sorry. But I need either a translation or someone who can phonetically spell it out for me. And what part of the world?
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Old 06-29-07, 09:13 PM   #7
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What the heck are you going to Mauritania for??
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Old 06-29-07, 09:15 PM   #8
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I'm sorry. But I need either a translation or someone who can phonetically spell it out for me. And what part of the world?
Saharan Africa
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Old 06-30-07, 03:03 AM   #9
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It's not 100% sure that I'm going yet. I'm in the military and I get moved individually because I work in embassies. Unfortunatly we happen to have one there. It's in Western Africa along the coast as Tom has been so kind to post the map for us. I posted before that there was a chance of me going to Africa and everyone scolded me for not being happy about it. Now that I post that I'm probably going nobody has many words or encouragement. If you research Mauritania much you will discover that it's pretty poor (average income $2800 USD/year) and it's on the edge of the Sahara. To travel 500 km to Nouadbibou north along the coast takes 30-50 hours on "terrible roads" so I'm guessing that being a roadie for the next 14 months is probably just not going to happen.
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Old 06-30-07, 03:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lucky53s
It's not 100% sure that I'm going yet. I'm in the military and I get moved individually because I work in embassies. Unfortunatly we happen to have one there. It's in Western Africa along the coast as Tom has been so kind to post the map for us. I posted before that there was a chance of me going to Africa and everyone scolded me for not being happy about it. Now that I post that I'm probably going nobody has many words or encouragement. If you research Mauritania much you will discover that it's pretty poor (average income $2800 USD/year) and it's on the edge of the Sahara. To travel 500 km to Nouadbibou north along the coast takes 30-50 hours on "terrible roads" so I'm guessing that being a roadie for the next 14 months is probably just not going to happen.
Use some of your hardship post pay to pick up a stout mountain bike that you wouldn't cry over if you lost and some bombproof tires. Or ask the GSO guys where you can find a bike when you get there.

Last edited by Ziemas; 06-30-07 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 06-30-07, 05:51 AM   #11
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Look on the bright side, you're not far from Saint Louis. Home of the worlds best Barbeque!
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Old 06-30-07, 07:12 AM   #12
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Ziemas, read from the beginning and notice the mention of a Pugsley. Four inch wide tires for the desert sand. Anything less will probably just not cut it since there are mostly unpaved roads and no sidewalks.

Stacey, Saint Louis? What country?

I just looked up plane tickets and the cheapest I can get back to the US in the Southeast is $1850. I'm not too stoked about this. For anyone who cares feel free to read up here, stories from people who have been there. To sum it up, bring a 4x4, no fast food and limited restaurants, entertain in your house because there is nothing to do, you can save lots of money because there is nothing to spend it on. On the light side, I can buy beads and silver adorned jewelry boxes.....finally, unique Christmas gifts to ship home.

Edit: Helps to include the website:
http://www.talesmag.com/rprweb/the_r...uritania.shtml
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Old 06-30-07, 09:39 AM   #13
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Stacey, Saint Louis? What country?
Sengal, of course!
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Old 06-30-07, 10:24 AM   #14
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Of course. I know a guy in Dakar for a few more months. How much do you know of the area over there? Should i expect to be able to ride a bike at all? Perhaps I'll take up professional kite flying, I hear it's one of the best things to do there.
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Old 06-30-07, 10:26 AM   #15
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If during your time there you are able to attend the Festival in the Desert that is put on in Mali by the Tuareg people, I understand that it is one of those experiences people remember for the rest of their lives. Beautiful music, and that's not even the half of it.

I understand that the best bikes for use in most of Africa are single speeds because they don't need as much maintenance or costly repairs/parts that are hard to get. You may not be able to be a roadie there, but you may discover a love for a different kind of biking during your stay. There's nothing bad about falling in love with more bikes and other riding styles, IMO. Kona makes bikes to donate to Africa for people in need, so I'm wondering if you contacted them, someone there who works in that program may be able to help make specific recommendations for you. I think other manufacturers do, too, but Kona's the only name I know.

The only other thing I can think of is to consider a different set of cycling clothes if you're used to tighter fitting spandex. I know that there are actually modesty customs amongst men in some African countries, and spandex shorts and tight fitting jerseys might come across as very offensive to the locals. Maybe there's someone at work who can help you look into that issue?
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Old 06-30-07, 10:32 AM   #16
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Donna, for clothes they said you should leave your shorts and tank tops at home for the city but since it's a coast (or near coastal) city you should be sure to bring your bathing suit, even girls. I MTB (actually originally MTBer) so I have baggies and loose jerseys that should be okay. As for the bike I will have to wait til I get there but if there is someone in the embassy community that bikes I will go to them first. First hand knowlege is usually the best. If not I probably won't bike because nice new shiny bikes in poor countries are like having a target on your back. In even poorer countries you will get killed for it. In a country like that, I would guess maybe just knocked off and stolen. Either way, I won't bike alone, it's just not safe.
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Old 06-30-07, 11:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucky53s

I just looked up plane tickets and the cheapest I can get back to the US in the Southeast is $1850. I'm not too stoked about this. For anyone who cares feel free to read up here, stories from people who have been there. To sum it up, bring a 4x4, no fast food and limited restaurants, entertain in your house because there is nothing to do, you can save lots of money because there is nothing to spend it on. On the light side, I can buy beads and silver adorned jewelry boxes.....finally, unique Christmas gifts to ship home.

Edit: Helps to include the website:
http://www.talesmag.com/rprweb/the_r...uritania.shtml
There is always Peter Justesen for snacks and such.
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Old 06-30-07, 03:44 PM   #18
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Netgrocer delivers to APO boxes so I'm happy enough. I have bags and bags of dried fruits and such. I try to snack healthy.

I just talked to a girl that was out there with the Peace Corps and she said it's very safe, nice people, great Mediterranean food, beautiful beaches. It is all desert though, no green. Not even near the ocean. Oh well. She said they have beautiful swords and daggers and such. Plus decorative boxes and other items inlaid with silver. I can make the best out of it. But she said she didn't see any biking. Bummer. At least I'm going to be close enough to visit Dakar and Rabat. And I'd like to go to Mali and Egypt from there. Watch, now that I'm not bummed about going there they will probably change it before I leave here. That is how the military works. haha.
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Old 06-30-07, 03:58 PM   #19
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...the ONLY cities labelled in North America on these maps were New York and Ottawa.
"Wha??? No Howeywood?!"
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Old 06-30-07, 05:07 PM   #20
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Mauritania is a bit of a hole apparently. A company I used to work for has operations there and my ex-boss was supposed to transfer there - until he went there on his pre-contract mission. He arrived soon after the attempted coup a few years ago. He said it was dirty and there were military checkpoints everywhere. Huge disparity in wealth as well. I wouldn't expect you'll be doing much riding there.

Check out Michael Palin's Sahara as in it he travels through Mauritania.

I assume you speak French.
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Old 06-30-07, 07:18 PM   #21
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I speak no French. I am probably going to have to remedy that but in the military we don't pay attention to that. I know it's a bit of a hole but I have no choice so I'm trying to get myself stoked for it. I guess I'll play a lot of video games and work out and maybe take some college classes.
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Old 06-30-07, 07:24 PM   #22
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I for one am very excited for you! You know, even the suckiest places to be stationed at the very LEAST make for great stories to tell your friends and family. Not to mention "Let me tell you about that time I was living in the desert in Africa..." will be even more exciting for your grandkids than "I had to walk 10 miles to school, uphill both ways, in the snow 12 months out of the year."

You mentioned the cost of airline tickets back to the states... Is Space-A not an option?
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Old 06-30-07, 07:41 PM   #23
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http://www.comebackalive.com/phpBB2/...c.php?p=101327

EDIT: If you punch "Mauritania" into that forums search engine, you'll get quite a few hits
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Old 06-30-07, 07:41 PM   #24
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There aren't bases out there so there are no planes that have space A. I work at embassies. And that one is VERY small from what I hear. It's so new there is almost no info in the net about it. Luckily one of the girls I know was in the Peace Corps there so I got all my info from her. At least I know it was first hand. And yeah, it will make for great stories. And if anyone wants to come visit I'd welcome you all with open arms.
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