Cycling through Western Sahara it feels like pedaling in alien environment. Here Sahara meet atlantic, this give it a stunning appearance
It is thrilling to cycle here but it equal threatening due to it extreme heat, wind and cyclone not to mention the trucks and fast Mercedes taxes. The accidents which I encountered time to time are quite gravely, in these long roads drivers dozy.
The desert is monotonous, it always the same landscape. Sand dune show up time to time in other places almost blocking the road. Mostly of the time it flat barren land and ocean stretch as far as eyes can see. Looking at horizon the road grow narrow and narrow to the point that I can visualize Mr. Devil steering giant pot of heat and head wind.
There is some dry lagoon, some places still have vivid evidence that it was under water rocks. I sometime stop and take a walk through this land which seem to have little mercy to any living thing, there wind chant constantly sometime violently blowing the soft sand which bit the skin. In the night this wind brook my tent polls which are now growing tired with weathers.
Non Self Government Territory.
The first cycling day out of Guilmim which is considered to Moroccans as the door to Sahara, my Moroccan flag was dismissed with locals. They claim that ‘this is Western Sahara and not Morocco’ . It is until I arrived in Morocco to learn that it almost forbidden to mention Western Sahara, Morocco occupy Western Sahara and all is under red flag with green star. It said that this was once a great empire. It another political complexity.
Well, Western Sahara territory is classified with UN as territory without self government. The most sparsely populated county in the world, a formal colon of Spain but left in partition to Mauritania and Morocco instead of helping to set up independent.This resulted to long time war and political conflict. Mauritania retreated.
Population is swelling, there are good number of new cities in the desert. These cities which possibly were former oasis and fishing villages they are so artificial and pose so many questions for their sustainability. Almost everything have to be haul into the desert, government subsides lot of things. Fuel is sold for half a price, no tax is charged for running business, etc. To provide drinking water and electricity for the growing population is another question on the realistic of this program. Another environmental if all this will depend on fossils fuel which so far it is, there are couple of wind mills and some cell phone tower powered with solar electricity. A sign for hope.
Part of traveling and particular travel with bicycle is to feel close touch of things, I hear different stories over and over from encounters, family and friends I made here. It is not pleasant sight to see injustice or oppression of any sort. Perhaps it such feeling of ‘young dream to save the world’ or frustration of inexperience of humanity complexity plus the physical and mental tiredness of this stretch that I left with this feelings.