The following day, we were still ill and decided that we could not stay where we were but were too ill to cycle. We found a taxi and tied our bikes to the top of its roof and chucked our kit in its boot. After a short wait while the taxi driver topped up with petrol, we sped our way to Aoulef. Here, we swapped taxis after an omelette sandwich for lunch.
The next taxi was a yellow, Toyota four wheel drive vehicle, its driver a very loud mouthed individual. We were soon hurtling along towards the piste, the sandy stretches through the Sahara where there is no tarmac on the route and which is marked by posts. Dan and I were sitting behind the rear axle and were thrown around in an alarming way. Our driver drove at speed with one hand on the wheel and the other hand waving around in the air in a mad way, with loud Arabic music blaring out. It was a sight to see. The other passengers were a mix of Algerian and Tuareg men. The Tuareg types were wearing turbans of light blue cloth. The Algerian men wore dark crimson turbans.
We arrived at a campsite at In Salah where the first thing we noticed were the Swiss bikers we had last seen in Figuig. We jumped out and said hello, smiles all over our faces.
Next, we had an argument with the driver over the cost of the journey. Once that was over (we lost), Dan and I put our bags in a ‘zeriba’ (a small hut built out of rushes) and went over to see the Swiss guys.
Danillo, Marco and Claudio were their names. They had had real problems getting into Algeria with visas and had only been issued with ’10 day visas’ which was not much for touring the country. That evening, we had supper at a local restaurant with them.
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Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family, works in a technology company in London and does as many micro-adventures as he can.
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