DAY SIXTY-NINE We got up with the sun after a cold night and packed up.
The Niger border guards were friendly and totally corrupt so for £30 we more-or-less went straight through!
We drove across the 15 KM of sand that makes up no-man’s-land to the Algerian side and our troubles began.
The Poms¹, as we had feared, weren’t allowed through. A telex to Tamanrasset got permission for Scotty to go through as he is the driver but Snake, Craig & Ian were out of luck. We drove back to the Niger side and dropped them off to make their own way back to Kano and fly home.
We returned to the Algerian side and sat there all afternoon only to be told that they weren’t going to let us through because Scotty didn’t have a letter of authorization to drive the truck. That was complete bullshit of course, as he has a briefcase full of papers for the truck but they were adamant.
We camped the night out in the desert and everyone tried to blame Scotty for our trouble which is pretty typical². Scotty solved the problem by getting pissed!!
²By this stage of the journey, a faction of people, led by an Australian fellow called Russ, who had been a travel agent, that were discontented with the way the trip had been organized, had begun to oppose every decision and to blame our driver, Scotty, for every mishap, even those that were outside of his control. Eventually, these people would leave the trip for an extended period, a situation that actually made the coming journey through the remainder of Algeria and into Morocco a much more pleasant experience for the rest of us.