Seeing multiple groups of camels each day now.
On the coast, there are fisherman in huts and others in shanty houses.
Dakhla is the last major city before I enter Mauritania in two days. My main task was to get Euros and stock up on food. Entering Dahkla along the long sandy beaches, there is a lot of wind surfing and it seems to be a tourist destination for locals.
Upon entering a bank, a fellow customer prompted me to place a key or bank card next to the others on the counter in front of the cashier. This indicates my position in the queue. I opted for my top box key (food storage on motorcycle), which is less important than motorcycle key or debit/credit card if it goes missing! The cashier informed me that I would need to present Dirhams cash, the receipt for that cash, and the bank card used for the with drawl. Simple, right?
Their ATM stopped working, so I walked to another bank. Withdrew 2,000 MAD, no receipt was issued, so I couldn't change this cash into Euros. I rode to another ATM, withdrew the smallest denomination, and again, no receipt. I rode around, tried about 9 ATMs, and was slowly gathering more cash that I couldn't change into Euros. I entered another bank who said the airport could change Dirhams into Euros, which was only a few miles away. Riding to the airport, I gave one last try to a new ATM—I got a receipt! I returned to the bank and collected Euros.
However, this left me with lots of Dirhams and no receipt to exchange into Euros. I tried the airport to discover it was an ATM for withdrawing Euros. I entered another bank who said it could be done but required the director who returned in 30 minutes. This was a perfect opportunity for to relax with a mint tea and chocolate croissant in the cafe opposite the bank. The sugar lumps were the size of a match box—huge! I devoured both lumps!
With a slight sugar rush, I returned to the bank, and successfully changed the remaining Euros. It was a long day frantically dashing between ATMs and banks in the heat.
I replenished food and treated myself to the fruit of the cactus plant called prickly pears. I saw lots cultivated in the Atlas mountains and for sale in Rabat, but have only just tried one today. Very refreshing and tasty! Highly recommended.
Leaving Dakhla, I felt really good having achieved my task, no matter how much of a challenge it was! I had been sweating all day, and now that I was riding, air passing over my body was cooling and soothing. Felt so good!
Made more friends with a group of goats crossing the road.
Found a spot to camp, but it's hard to hide from the wind out here! Preparation for cooking pasta demonstrated the impossible task of securing my setup from sand. I opted for brown bread with avocado, turkey pate, and cucumber, followed by a carrot, apple, and some almonds. Much quicker, no washing up, and less sand!
I was surprised to find a bird in the desert as it seemed very remote. A welcome friend though!
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