Sun 21 Mar
Agadez is full of "tour" companies who only really want to charge you for a four-wheel-drive taxi service. I'm sure they have their favourite routes but it seems to me they know little of the people, customs, and off-road geography.
Eventually I track down a chap called Mousa Touboulo (mentioned in Lonely Planet). I like him from the start. He looks old and wise. He reminds me of a Bedouin I’ve worked with many times in the Sinai desert. This is the guy with whom I am going to have my desert adventure.
His price, however, is extortionate. He’s asking for US$400, rather expensive for one person. I get him to break it down. The four-wheel-drive transport is more than half. From my enquiries earlier in the day I am sure I can get the wheels for significantly less, perhaps saving US$100.
Mon 22 Mar
The next day we firm-up the itinerary and he reluctantly agrees to use my vehicle. He's angry and disappointed. He's not happy that one of these towny, cowboy operators is getting in on his business. Part of the deal is that I buy some things to give as gifts along the way. He writes me a shopping list including matches, tea, tobacco, sugar and a “jalabaya” (Arabic robe) for myself.