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Sahara

Day 30: Nouakchott

Michael Palin - SaharaShe nimbly sidesteps the knotty question of slavery, which was only formally abolished here in 1981, but acknowledges that the Moorish social system is complex and tribal, with warrior and scholar tribes.

There are two national sports. One is dhaemon, the desert draughts I played in Chinguetti, and the other poetry.

'In a decent gathering like a wedding party the young men are expected to improvise four verses of poetry and others to compose a reply. Everybody can recite lots and lots of poetry.'

She sees similarities between Mauritanians and the British.

'They love wit and they're always ready to say something funny. And you'll have noticed the country runs on tea. The cooking is, likewise, not terribly noteworthy.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 30
  • Country/sea: Mauritania
  • Place: Nouakchott
  • Book page no: 102

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