After an extensive Sylvester party in the hotel lime trees to Rengsdorf Westerwald in a marvellous winter landscape and the Carnival days, I had in March 1973 for my company after Al Aaiún, at that time still Spanish Sahara, a place south of Morocco and inhabited of the Touaregs (blue men), which pulled in the Sahara for thousands of years around. In the time general still governed Franco in Spain and because it handed phosphate occurrence there gave, the Spanish government a contingent of soldiers had stationed around the dismantling of the phosphate against attacks of the Polisario to contactors. I took thus my wife and mine to son, at that time three years alt, inoculate to let and also after Al Aaiún on the plant site. Our journey led from Cologne to Madrid, where we became to receive a sister company of the KHD AG group friendly from the agency of the company Cent Union, and in a good hotel for two overnight accommodation found accommodation, there I still some in the office of the agency to clarify and prepare had.
Arrival in Madrid, my son in the right picture over me on the stairs and my wife left in the picture. One had us the evening, which begins evening in Spain always only at 9 am o'clock, in the restaurant of the hotel regaled. On the next day, after which discussions, we became from an employee of the company by Madrid led, which showed us all objects of interest in the city. My company had procured all necessary papers, like visas and Flight tickets, and stood it to the far journey nothing more in the way.
Picture right, Palacio de Comunicaciones to Madrid, a building from the middle Ages. Since one expected me only on Monday on the plant site, the company in Madrid for us had a double room on Las Palmas for the weekend in five stars hotel Cristina, which reserves and pays most expensive hotel in the place. I was surprised over as many come to meet and service, obviously one wanted us, before we had to go through into the Sahara on the plant site the missing, still the life sweet. It was very important for the company that the laboratory worked perfectly over at the acceptance the phosphates dressing plant the quality of the product to prove. We have then also, as left in the picture recognizably, this long weekend full expenditure-cost, also in the hotel of the evening at the bar, after we had brought the son to bed. We are still with a taxi outside of the city Las Palmas driven and the landscape shown had ourselves.
As we determined consisted the island Gran Canaria of a volcano expired and the sand on this island were over here blown in the course of the time of the Sahara by storms. Right in the picture, the crater of the volcano: on Spanish, la Caldera de Bandama. Down in the crater the condensation in the course of the night, which over here originates from by day damp air blowing of the sea and so the plants watered, collects itself.
On Monday the twelfth March 1973 we flew with a Fokker Friendship to Al Aaiún, as the airplane before the coast of the Sahara approached briefly caught it to fly jerkily on, this of air turbulences were caused, which developed by high temperature of differences of air layer between the sea and the country. Briefly before we flew after Al Aaiún, I saw experiencing under me in the sand of the road along bright sunlight reflections, later had I that this by the many empty bottles, which are disposed at the roadside, was caused. The bottles were exposed and thereby with the time by the sand were destroyed, so also to the regular sandstorms the glass of the car headlights.
Into Al Aaiún landed, we were driven directly from the airport to our accommodation, at Flats past and did think the houses are not so bad however then the area ever more primitive and drove finally at the outskirts of a town of fastened roads without lighting, at houses past about which the walls straight no longer pulled up and with white lime were painted, then we held at such a house. By a simple outer door one arrived into the corridor, where directly on the left of the door to our dwelling found. The area was simultaneous sleep, eat, living and cook opportunity, with a total area of approximately 15 square meters. In the corridor looking, one could see the blue sky upward, from here over odd stone stairs arrived one into the floor over our dwelling, in relation to this area, one stood already on the roof, were a showering and a wash room with a water tank above it, which administers at the water net of the city of the military after desire and moods, if the military had covered its water requirement and still which was remaining, one refilled. With the water had to be economically proceeded and because the water tank stood on the roof by day in the burning sun, we had always warm water available.
A road continued to live a Hippy couple, it was arranged for my company also only for this plant site, which to tea had invited us and as we then sat so there, I was not unpleasantly surprised, because she rinsed the not yet clean cups in the toilet and poured out us, we did not drink with an apology the tea.
Picture down shows the Flats and right in the foreground the Hotel El Parador, right over the hotel, the white coloured buildings, is our residential area. In this hotel one, since it was for Travellers, could find accommodation only for maximally three overnight accommodations. This hotel was from the inside cool and very clean, the table was covered with care and the meal was excellent. We were quite often for hours sitting in Seat areas on sofas when tea drinking. Directly opposite us a Touareg family, which had become established, for those lived was we somewhat unusual and it stared to us always curiously on, to understand could we it Arabic language not there. The houses were together built all, because at the back directly adjacent at our dwelling also Touaregs, these lived had their goats in the house and we could them at night hear, because our bed stood at this wall set up.
At night up-frightened with full moon, one of a donkey that loudly iah, iah called. The dwelling had only a small window at the road and was, like short time later placed themselves out, everything else than clean, because as if my wife the refrigerator forwards pushed whirled many kitchen scraping by the area and thus her a whole nest had freely put. Whereupon my wife had filled a bucket with the meagrely existing water and looked and laughed over the soil paid and the whole dirt by the outer door on the road turned, during its Touareg Mrs. it too, because such a thing they had not ever seen. Picture down shows a Touareg on a Dromedary in the desert. Drinking water gave it only in bottles, which were supplied with the ship by the Kanari islands here. This ship went with Fosbucraa at the Atlantic before the coast dropt anchors and with amphibian vehicles out of the Second World War the products was ashore driven, this could only with the calm swell happen, what the case was rare.
The charge was reloaded afterwards by the amphibian vehicles on normal of trucks and into 75 km removed city Al Aaiún driven, the road to the city with rotary bucket excavators from the sand was kept free, because sand blowing were the rule. Since our son was only three years old, we were dependent on the supply of fresh food. My wife went then with the son in the glowing heat Sunbeams into the city and could stay itself in a park there present on a bank under a palm, before she made herself with the food the way home. On such a day my wife got a weakness accumulation and from a Touareg to the physician was brought, with it her to recover could is we on the next long weekend after read Palmas flown and to have us first the half day to the bath tub put over to yield, afterwards in the restaurant extensively eats gone, whereby we were admired by lean Swedish holiday-makers. Right in the picture down, the four stars hotel Concorde, where we in-turned in regular time sections for recovering.
Picture on the left, show a Touareg on a Dromedary, in the year 1973.
Many food, fruit and vegetables, were transported from Morocco with trucks to Al Aaiún, which was worthwhile itself by the many soldiers. My company had for the house, where we lived a charwoman adjusted, them were a Spanish woman from Teneriffe and had with my wife a friendly relationship, later than we then finally home flew has we it our pharmacy left. At the outskirts of a town in a deeper place, because the city had resulted at a dry River bed (Wadi), with the time from the waste water from the city a sump had formed. The water seeped into the sand and it developed a biotope, a surface, where plants grew, many insects felt in addition also still terrible and well stank, if one approached the place.
Picture right our hotel on Las Palmas, in the year 1973.
Picture left, shows on the top right the sump developed by the waste water from the city and sand dunes, which formed in the dry river bed. In the foreground oozed water. The Dromedary in the foreground is a wild copy, which nevertheless property of a Touaregs is.
The evening before sunset we walked, like many look-merry, briefly often to the governor building and before the building of the governor set up ourselves, because each day the flag of a battalion became here Soldier caught up. The battalion came with much pride accompanied from music and a support as Mascot from the barracks to the governor building marched. Since I much with the Spanish laboratory personnel to do had became we often of to the attendance invited, which lived Spaniards all in the Flats at the centre of the city and all comforts had it only wished, they had to remain also longer in the Sahara than we. On one day if we were invited from some Spanish families to the picnic in the desert, these families had also small children with drove and as we then in a suitable place it us had made comfortable, with plywood from crates as packing of the machines had served, a grill fire had ignited and the bring along cockerels on the grill lay, I was suddenly up-frightened by arguing women, itself because of the children in wool had and like it like that with the hothead Spaniards the controversy is was fast settled and could that pick nick too a cosy end to be led. My wife had by that handling the Spanish charwoman already the necessary of the Spanish Language learned and could inform itself rather well. As I a daily of the plant site home, told my wife came, that the Touareg family on the road before our house in the sand one Dromedary had slaughtered, such actions caused that many mosquitoes near flown came, thank God was hot drying and, so that in shortest time all dirt decomposed, even the goats has through the food in the heaps of garbage of the environment formed in the proximity served. I wanted a correct travel into the desert on one weekend times make, had to pay attention however to the moods of the weather, because at least once in the two weeks there was a Sirocco (desert storm), if the storm did not rage could we because of the fine red-brown dust anything see, it is to present in such a way as if one would be with us in a violent snowstorm, it is still hot and stuffy too same and not possibly longer Time to be unprotected, in addition came still that it no air conditioning system in Gave house. After the storm, which raged normal way some hours violently, we had the fine red-brown dust everywhere in our house centimetre thickly lie, even in bed and could first everything make clean, before we to the everyday life back found. The storm begins always by day and that Wind comes from south of southeast direction, normal way was I always in the time on the plant site and if I then after end of workday home my wife came the house had swept again clean already, however also some was to be cleaned from the sand to on the plant site. I had a small Passenger car for the order, mark Fiat two-tact, with which I drove to the plant site and more was not in it, since I got along well with the start-up leader left to undertake it me the Land Roover around the desert travel, the car possessed a double roof, which while driving a refreshing effect had.
Picture left, shows the oasis Saquia el Hamra in the far dry river bed. As one told me, it had already rained nevertheless for seven years no longer and water came from the soil.
Then it was finally so far that we could begin the travel, sufficient drinking water and provisions loaded as well as to the fuel tank with Diesel fuel filled up around the distance which we in one day to drive wanted to create comfortably. In the car only my wife, my son, was the start-up leader, he was 65 years old and I to tax, we wanted against noon at an oasis to be over there noon to make and as we then were, were I pleasantly surprised like the vegetation consisting of palms and bushes prospered there beautifully, it suddenly there flew some game pigeons around, as we to see could from Touareg children imprisoned, their parents had set up a tent. The Touareg of men was armed and it was good that we were not Spaniards, because then would have we determines difficulties gotten. In a discussion with experienced we that they did not permit it by the Moroccans to be controlled, because it is their country, was spoken Arab, supported with bearing language. The women were not masked and one loaded us to tea drink and Dates eat in. Since the oasis led much clean water, which did not stand, but seeped somewhat further again into the sand, the table-ware of the Touaregs was cleanly rinsed. Unfortunately I did not have Film more in my camera, with which I record the idyllic play, could. After some hours we have us discharged over in time forwards Sunset again back to be, while driving are we meets no humans. We could admire the sunset each day, because the sun coloured itself, because of the dust briefly before disappearing, fire red. The plant site, with name Fosbucraa, which was direct at the Atlantic, consisted of four plants, which were to be described as follows. First the power station was provided, which for the provisional Enterprise with three MAN Diesel and Siemens aggregates were equipped, until the gas turbines, which run many more calmly, took over the same impulse. The phosphate was transported from the interior with a conveyor, after which it was cut up before by the crusher, to a gravel bed store in the proximity of the dressing plant by Humboldt Wedag. This conveyor belt was built by the company Krupp and consisted of ten distances of in each case ten kilometres of length, each distance had its own drive and transfer station, all this in the speed one on the other, by a regulation of the driving motors, were adjusted. With the break a conveyor in the distance, the transportation volumes before the broken conveyor were stopped, the following transportation volumes ran immediately further to them empty were over then to be switched off. Each morning point 8 EM o'clock, if I notion less at my Roentgen fluorescence equipment stood and the analyses accomplished, there were enormous voltage drops while the raising of the transportation volumes the line, which could become balanced within a certain range from the automatic voltage regulator of the Roentgen fluorescence equipment, later with the enterprise of the gas turbines at electricity mains the fluctuations were impossible, insured one me.
Picture left from the year 1973, Phosphate treatment plant and Picture rigth from the year 1973, Conveyor belt.
The phosphate treatment plant had, like the name already suggest separating and preparing to flour in a certain refinement the task in the output stage by means of centrifuges the phosphate in the raw material from the impure material to. This flour stored in silos and from there promoted with an air flow, produced by giant fans, depending upon requires by a tubing system to the loading platform at the sea to the tonnage. Also on this plant site as on everyone, a heavy accident was to register, is put and only ajar some E-cabinet doors out against the cabinets stood, by a storm into the electrical circuits standing under power pleases and by the developing short-circuit a fire with devastating consequences released. The cabinets stand on in all directions the stages openly held, since it actually never rains, one only on the highest stage a roof had built and so could one for the cooling of the switchgear cabinets without an air conditioning system do. Only the area where the Roentgen fluorescence equipment stood was with an air conditioning system equipped, since otherwise by variations in temperature the analyses were affected. Likewise an electrician under power had measurer a safety device pulled is pushed, hereby a flash had produced and had burned its whole face laterally to the bus bar, without before switching the current supply off for the cabinet central. In the laboratory also a Touareg was as a chemist had employed, had studied it in Morocco, with it had I to do, because he for the future with the Roentgen fluorescence equipment to work, when I drove briefly then a daily to end of workday on the way before the operating gate, saw I had a man as Touareg dressed with euphemistic head coverage also into my direction going, continued and asked him whether he to ride along wants, after it had entered recognized I it only as the Chemist from the laboratory. He told me, he had for his parents and brothers and sisters to be responsible and cannot yet to marry, because the money which it earned yet was not enough. Its parents' house was not far from my house and likewise in such a way built.
In the picture, at the bottom left hand corner, the typical houses into the former around-pulling Touareg families lived and we naturally also. For my wife was not easy to bear the close primitive dwelling always.
The German colleagues with their families and we drove more frequently on weekend from our domicile to the beach at the plant site, over in the Atlantic to swimming. We were hardly in the water emerged there the first Touareg families, which children and their mothers have us from some distance in the sand on the beach sitting observed, however into the water did not go. The colleagues had us also times the evening late, without son naturally it were already in bed, also in generic term cures Night club taken, where on the traditional loamy soil it tore to kitchen scraping and we could dance to Striptease on the present dance music as well as were shown. In this restaurant we could eat freshly cooked Langoustes and for drinking gave it various alcoholic beverages. This restaurant gave it one year later, than I came for the second time into 1974 to El Aaiun, no longer. Also on this plant site we got Japanese to attendance, who photographed industriously everywhere and noted which it only could, because they were still endeavours technology to copy as well as everywhere their goods to exporting and outward to shield around its national Interests priority to lend, therefore I was to be shown much to it mindfully not too much or told. The Japanese were to be struck with the sales from industrial plants to the time on the advance the Europeans, which we got to, feel in the 80's with the bad situation concerning orders. Only in the 90's knew the industry in the world, which carried the European industry out and we got again the orders. On one morning at the beginning of May as I came on the plant site, I was surprised about the many thousands of barn swallows in vain tried somewhat edible to gotten, her sat everywhere in the plant and hundreds fell dying into the sand, we could unfortunately not help her as well known only insects in air to the food caught there. The swallows had remained on the through journey to Europe because of the strong north of wind exhausted back, on the next day were the weaker stayed in order to be only died. Second Natural occurrence happened likewise on the plant site on one morning, it thousands butterflies mixed with grass hops had appeared itself, which found likewise there nothing to the meal however instinctive because of the buildings stopped here, but after some days all gradually died.
Picture right, a mother Dromedary with new generation, these animals one meets here in the Western Sahara often in the free game course, belongs nevertheless to a Touareg family and becomes at present imprisoned from time. The animals are strangers opposite very distrustfully and if one brings them closer, they run away. The Bedouins say: Allah has one hundred names, but humans know only ninety-nine and add, the hundredth know alone the camel. The animals are completely dependent on meagre bushes, thorn bushes, dry herbs and Cactuses.
On respected June 1973 we flew with an airplane over Marrakech and Paris to Cologne home. The reason of my departure is to be read in a report of house after. In October 1974 I had once again for some days after Fosbucraa, for the regulation of the removal of the automatic Laboratories of factory in laboratory building and one confronted with the meanwhile political changes in the Spanish Sahara, because everywhere on the area artillery was located set up and in the city likewise. I stood thus again in a place in that World, where the war raved or began, now went it around it whether the West Sahara remained independent, into which hands of the Polisario or between Morocco and Mauritania should be divided finally has Morocco, that stronger, the West Sahara in 1975 takes in, after which the Spaniards had withdrawn themselves. On the last day before the final departure, I could acquire an artful mask carved from hard wood after some acting with an African out of Senegal.
In the picture; This Touareg tent stood at the oasis which we had visited, it looked so as it finally to rains would give, was however not so. On the last days on the plant site in October 1974 am I once again into the far desert gone and several hours sitting in the sand under the sun, which had already lost in this season at force, between the moving ends the silence has Sand dunes and do good-ends peace me to affect it lets and the soul free run leave because I did not know whether I still so an opportunity would ever get.
My feet moved the desert sand, on the horizon promising reflect, avid after adventure, the danger probably consciously, roamed across I the country West Sahara, kept in the eye the infinite sand dunes, here and there a pair wild Dromedaries, the swallows completely suddenly near-flown, more courageously than the near-storming desert fox, on the way into the north to their breeding places flew they, the strong wind came held those Weak ones up and died, finally disappeared them behind the horizon.