January 29, 2004

Dinner's on Tony

I was originally going to leave Mauritania yesterday, but due to circumstances beyond my control (OK, circumstances well within my control), I didn't manage to do it. The night before, a mosquito, lack of food, and an overactive mind conspired to keep me awake until 3am. At 9am I was rapidly searching for a reason to justify me not getting out of bed, and I came up with - "I haven't sent my postcards yet". That did the trick, and I stayed an extra day.
The day was pretty uneventful until early evening, when I met a guy who was here doing research on landmines. He had worked for The Red Cross in Afghanistan and Bosnia, and for a landmines organisation, so was here doing a freelance report. He mentioned that a British geologist had borrowed his notes, and he was bringing them back later, and they were going to dinner, and would I like to come. So off we went to the Moroccan Restaurant, which was very nice, and even had beer. The icing on the cake, being that when the bill came, the geologist said, 'Don't worry, this one's on Tony'.
There was no Tony at the table which was a bit confusing, until he said, 'Yep. It's on Tony - Tony Blair. The goverment will pay - you can get something back for your taxes at last!!'. The geologist, being a civil servant, had a good expenses allowance!
The night was not however, over, as the mine researcher being a young fellow like myself, had arranged to meet a guy from the Congo to show him the 'nightlife' of Noukachott. The first stop was a restaurant with a bar at the side, which I thought was not a bad effort for Mauritania. The next stop turned out to be an unmarked door down a sandy side alley. I was most surprised upon opening the door, to find a bouncer in a tuxedo on the other side. I was even more surprised when he told me to take off my hat, and surprised further still, when there was a full blown nightclub at the end of the corridor! They were even playing what I believe the younger generation might call 'house' or 'rave'.
It was only about half full, and contained an even mix of foreigners, locals, and prostitutes. It wasn't massively exciting to be honest, and the landmine guy declared it a 3 out of 10. The Congolese guy had a bit of a dance, and we took our leave. Ironically I got to bed at the same time as the night before, but this time I was determined to make it to Senegal the next day.

Posted by paul at January 29, 2004 09:13 PM


Ah, good ol' Tony. He pays for your meal, forces his back benchers to vote for a bill they don't like and then shafts the BBC in a royal manner. I'm beginning to think that the control freak is a little self centred and evil. So he'll probably get voted in again.
As for tax, he says pedantically, have you ever seen a footpath at night under a streetlamp? I rest me case(s).

Posted by: tom at January 29, 2004 09:41 PM