The following day, our Swiss friends Danillo, Marco and Claudio turned up on their motorbikes. During the day, we changed money, walked through the market, the shanty town (with all its human excrement lying about).
In the evening, we walked into town with two Germans we had met in Tamanrasset and, at one point, found ourselves surrounded by prostitutes from Ghana and Nigeria. Why there were quite so many of them in desolate town was a mystery until we learned that nearby there were uranium mines, so these girls provided the miners with a service to overcome their dangerous jobs. With AIDS rife, mining seemed the safer pastime. We ate with the Germans in a local restaurant.
The next stage was from here in Arlit to Agadez, some four days away through the desert which would gradually turn into Sahel. We were to have the Harmattan wind accompanying us all the way to Ougadougou in Burkina Faso. There were times went in was in our faces which made cycling very hard. It was good to be back on the bikes after a few days of relying on getting lifts from the locals.
Marianne, the Swiss girl who had stopped in the desert to give us bread and water stopped us on her way back over the desert and into Algeria to say hello and that she was glad that we had made it.
In Agadez, we met up again with Danillo, Claudio and Marco in the campsite. They made us upper that night and we sat around amusing each other and drinking beer. The next day, we went into town with them and sat around in a bar and ate lunch at 'Restaurant Chez Nous'. E ate a delicious salad and ragut.
In the afternoon, we got our passports stamped by the police after dodging having to pay a 'Taxe Touristique', after which we went to a supermarket and bought strawberry jam which costs us a fortune but was worth it after the last four days of pasta and tinned fish.
We stayed for a couple of days after the Swiss guys left and hit the road, heading for Tahoua. During this stage, we experienced some of the most sever sand and dust storms we had come across so far. So thick was the dust at times that I could not see 10 feet in front of me. Our ears and eyes became clogged up with dust and sand. Everything was covered in it.
We passed four or five cut-down Range Rovers from Saudi Arabia which had falcons sat on the on a bar in the rear. We met a Bangladeshi chap that day who was helping the Saudis with their hunting. What a mix of people.
In Agadez, had picked up another dose of diarrhoea which developed into dysentery in Tahoua. A Frenchman reckoned I had appendicitis, but I knew I didn't have that. I had terrible stomach cramps and the pain was in the wrong place. Tahoua was not a particularly nice place due to its bad atmosphere.
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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