The 'normal train' that crosses the Sahara

Story highlights

  • Photographer George Popescu took a 40-hour train ride in a remote part of Mauritania
  • His images show normal life in a place that's both harsh and almost surreal

John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion. He documented slavery in Mauritania in 2011.

(CNN)This is a train most of us would not take.

It traverses a particularly remote part of Mauritania, an off-the-map sort of country in West Africa that's known to harbor modern slavery; hugs the border with the Western Sahara, which essentially is an international no-man's land; and rum