A Dakhla Birthday for Mikaela…

Yesterday Mikaela celebrated her 22nd birthday. Having been reminded of the importance of birthdays in Mikaela’s family home, I knew that my well-being depended upon her day being special.

So I thought I’d begin with an English breakfast in bed. This was no easy task, and the menu choice was of course dictated by a lack of pork! The final result of my market shopping skills was fried tomatoes, eggy bread, scrambled eggs, avocado smoothie and the pièce de resistance Heinz baked beans. Not a strictly traditional menu but Mik was content to break from the normal routine of a cheese triangle smothered roundbread.

I hear you asking “where on earth did you find Heinz baked beans in Western Sahara?”. They were in fact purchased in a tiny shop in the even smaller town of Olonzac in the south of France, which had a small section for English holidaymakers. The tin then survived several thousand kilometers undetected by Mikaela in one of our panniers.

On the morning of her birthday, I snuck out early to seek a kind café owner who would let me use his kitchen (a stealth operation for those who know Mik’s light sleeping and early morning wakening). Using the fresh supplies from the market, I clumsily stuck the meal together, turning down a few potential buyers of her breakfast. I then cautiously loaded it onto the plate I had also bought in the market and woke Mikaela to the smell of beans and toast.

Sometimes the things that at home are pretty normal become much greater tasks and sweeter surprises in this case! Equally the hairbrush and nail varnish that Mik unwrapped with the excitement of a five-year old were appreciated so much more. The little, simple things that can make us smile.

So now, with a birthday behind us we are ready to leave Dakhla. As we try to make sense of my knee grumbles, we are approaching the deadline of our single-entry visa to Mauritania on the 4th of November. So it seems we’ll have to load our bikes onto another truck at least until the border where we will negotiate the generous no-man’s-land by bicycle.

The next part of the journey brings new risks that we have not had to consider before. The route we must take through Mauritania has seen a rise in kidnappings of Europeans and after seeking the advice of everyone from the FCO to security experts on the region we have taken the difficult decision not to cycle. This is really a simple case of risk outweighing benefit and whilst disappointing the timing is actually pretty good for my knee injury. Besides, we can’t deny the child within that relishes every moment of truck fun, sat high up above all the other cars honking at donkeys and camels, every cloud has a silver lining


7 responses to “A Dakhla Birthday for Mikaela…

  1. Imran,
    10/10 for effort. Mik is a lucky gal.

    Michaela, Belated Happy Birthday. I did like Jay’s b/d card to you on FB. Very ingenious.

  2. Hey guys, great news – both the birthday breks (well done Eeny), the birthday song on Facebook, and the trucking decision…. good stuff, I’m glad you took advice from various sources and acted on it…. no one would be impressed if you became a statistic on the European kidnappings list :o(( Enjoy the rides and take care. xxx

  3. Hilary franklin

    you star Imran.What a wonderful birthday surprise .Good to hear you are doing so well .Do take care of your grumbling knees they have to last you a long time .Love to you both xx

  4. Hi Both!
    Happy belated birthday to Mik, glad that Imran is looking after you so well. Continue to have a safe & exciting time

    Love to you both
    Sandra, Kevin, Mark, Mel etc etc etc xxx

  5. Grim and Grumps

    what a fabulous thing to do for Mikaela Imran, l expect that she was very close to tears as she realised how much thought and trouble y9u had gone to to make this breakfast and her special day unforgetable. Glad to hear that you will be trying to hitch rides on trucks, as you say Imran it wll give y9ur knee/knees chance to get better.(l hope). Lots of love and hugs to you both, this journey will be a journey that will linger in your minds for a very long time. l know that we here are looking forward to your next post.XXXXX

  6. Belated Happy Birthday to you lovely Michaela! I celebrate you both so much and adore following your blogs,thankyou for being such vibrant inspirations!…and violet light to your knees Imran,reiki to you both if you would like.Terembi…with love every step of your journey,Heather and Mia xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. Huge Birthday hugs to you – i was away in a Welsh valley celebrating Samhain – celtic new year- now doesn’t that sound a lifetime away from your desert adventures – Stuart and I are so enjoying your blogs- the joys of modern technology – he is getting envious at times but coping! bringing back lots of great memories for him. Love boost over the bumpy bits to you both

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