Day 18: Smara Camp to Tfariti
In bright sun, sharp shadow and a cold wind the drivers Bachir has organised to take us several hundred miles down the West Saharan borderlands to the Mauritanian frontier are loading up. Our overnight bags are being squeezed into any available space left around the 200-litre fuel drums, which weigh down two small pick-up trucks. Ourselves and the rest of the baggage, as well as a cook, food and cooking materials, are divided between three four-wheel drive vehicles, which stand as tall as the house we're about to leave.
The children are going to miss us. We've been like a travelling funfair for them, and the extended family presses things upon us at the last moment, including a cassette of Saharawi music and a near-impregnable can of Spanish ham, which none of them is allowed to eat. As a parting gesture, eighteen-year-old Hadi, Bachir's pretty, coy niece, introduces me to her boyfriend. He's a young soldier and doesn't smile. The long-suffering Krikiba is persuaded into a hug and even, for Vanessa, a kiss.
Choose another day from Sahara