31.12.2015 Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso

*through the crackle and hiss of white noise from the speaker of the radio accompanied by wistles of the wind voice appears, faint at first but becoming more distinct*

…very…sa-..heh…xpectedly happened my first New Year on the road. That feels unusual and strange. Without traditional mandarins, champagne and stuff. On the hot afternoon sun and temperature of 35 during the day. With dusty winds and ice water. In the land of Honored People.

Time to take a look back. 13 countries and five months of travel behind my back now. As usual for me – everything went absolutely not according to plan, but it’s for the better – dash all those plans. I had stuck a lot, but even that was a benefit – allowing me to deeper explore the surrounding people. Africa – it’s an amazing place, though it requires getting used to. Here, I can say, the real journey started. This is an amazing continent that can not be described in few words. Land without stupid prohibitions and with peculiar people mostly looking at the world with an open soul and spontaneity.

During my wanderings I met a lot of people, both locals and travelers, learned a lot of stories and destinies from them. And told mine countless times. People, emotions, feelings – that’s what I went out for. And only during the way you can meet these congenial people. All this slowly changing me, invisible and imperceptible, and that is one of the journey’s goals.

The road has not been smooth. There were moments of despair and unexpected risings – for the last in many respects thanks to those who supported me and believed in me. And thanks to the Positive, of course. Thank you all, guys. I wish you a new year of adventure and plenty of luck. Movement is life. Follow your dream, whatever it may be. Dream big. Take care of loved ones and relatives. And good luck.

Peace for everyone.

Will meet you in the next year. Desert Capybara out. End of connection.

* click *

12.12.2015 Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso

Bobo-Dioulasso. Andrej went to micro-safari with one of the guests who rented his slovenian army truck for this purpose. I packed up, said goodbye to Shpela and dogs and went back on the road in the direction of Ouagadougou. A stretch of road of 360 kilometers is nothing special except for the incredible amount of speed bumps. And it was definitely not the main thing.

A couple of days before Andrew introduced me to Moussa. At first I was confused when absolutely burkinabe local elder man starts to speak with me in Russian. The noble-looking, with a sharp twinkle in his eyes, obviously young at heart, regardless of age. During Soviet times Musa studied in Chisinau, and then lived in Baku and Odessa. Truly – almost a character of bearded anecdotes. Musa was engaged in the development of the agricultural sector (which he studied in the Soviet Union), and he lived in Ouagadougou, and immediately invited me to stay with him. I was not going to visit the capital of Burkina, but it was hard to refuse such an offer. Looking ahead to say that speaking in Russian with the indigenous African is still continually tearing all the possible patterns in my head. Moussa recalled the Soviet times of his life with warmth and nostalgia, telling a lot of stories from his student days, and life in Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Behind his words was felt of true spirit of Peoples’ Friendship. Everybody for everybody. Without malice and hatred. This had me a very strong impression.

Exactly on the eve of my arrival in the capital, the country held elections. The first elections for the past 27 years, when the country was ruled by a president who altered the Constitution for himself. Suffice it to recall Thomas Sankara, the African Che Guevara. In view of this circumstances the situation could spiral out of control, but surprisingly everything went peacefully and calmly, with the presence of international observers, without provocation and so on. Population reacted responsibly to elections, and that is why in Ouagadougou I was first greeted by a friend of Moussa – Ane, because Moussa went to his hometown to take part in the vote there. Ane studied in Chisinau too, as a construction engineering and, of course, also spoke Russian.

We went to visit Ane’s house but before we stopped in one small neat restaurant. “The first debt of every burkinabe is to feed and give water” Muossa’s wife said, “Here, we share a meal with everyone. If there are people in need around – we share”. Later I occasionally met children begging for food, but I think it’s their way of earning while their parents are at work. Africa … Ane ordered, in my opinion, the best chicken I’ve tried for the whole journey. Before that, in Bobo, in one of the bars me, Evgen and Andrej managed to order a chicken which is preparing “here and now”. “Poule biciklet” – a chicken-bike as it is called here. No meat just bones :) Here, chicken turned out to be meaty, juicy and cooked as it should in a beautiful sauce and vegetables. And beer, local Brakina that brought peace to my body after a road.

After a brief visit to the house of Ane, we went to the house of Moussa who was still on his way back. I was provided with the bed in the room of his son. Bed! For the first time in the last two months I remembered what it is! Oh, how I slept. Royally! I sprawled across as a star and dozed till next noon.

The next day Moussa went back from work and we got to the city to drink beer and have a chat. Around the same time I got a call from Andrej from Bobo and he said that Moussa had recently bought a new house, and it is necessary to deploy the power supply system by solar panels. Andrew needed a companion, and that is me. Job! A total of three days and a small cash but still. Moussa smiled conspiratorially and nodded his head. Yet in Bobo he promised me a job and kept his word. I was full of enthusiasm.

The next day I got a message from a traveler from Belgium named Toon, who arrived in Ouagadougou. He know about me from one of the guests of Andrej in Bobo. We got into the city, and I learned that the joint West African visa (including the Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin) are still exists, and more than that – relatively cheap (25 000 CFA). It was on my hand, given the fact that I did not have a visa for Benin, and Togolese visa should have ended after a few of days. Now, instead, I can get united visa which greatly simplifies my way to Nigeria. We also went to the local market with Toon, where I learned that you can sell at a profit even ten-years old button mobile phone from Europe. And after all I realized that the bearing in the rear wheel of my bike finally died after 60 000 kilometers . Very bad news.

In the following days I worked with Andrej on deployment of solar panels in the new house of Moussa. The mood was fighting and I was riding on the roof with joy and tinkered with electronics in the house.

Preparing panels:


Checking inverter and controller:



My job, from the top:


And below:


After work we were rescuing ourselves from the scorching sun in a street diner with three dusty chairs and ice-cold beer, and chatted. About the world, about people, about transport and travel. Andrej began to travel since 17 years old and managed to get on all continents and take participation in many avantures, like “human shields” in Baghdad during the bombing of Iraq. His stories were filled with humor and often based on the principle of “we’ll go there and we will see on the spot”. Amazing guy.

Along the way, I tried to find the appropriate bearing, but even with the assistance of a local mechanic, friend of Andrej, and visiting all the possible habitats of bearings searches were not successful. It seems not very rare size, but…

During searches I did a couple of shots of the city.


Everything is good with that man, just an afternoon nap:


And then I received a letter from the PM-Garage. These are great guys who are engaged in equipping or re-equipping suspension of motorcycles in Moscow. Many riders who are engaged in motorsport, drive on the track or doing enduro rides, constantly use the services of this company. They can do almost everything. PM-Garage offered me a revised and adjusted set of shock absorbers on my bike (!!!!), and asked if I have any problems (!!!!!). I complained to the bearing, and they offered to send it too! That’s really true, you never know where you find and where you lose. Such matches and coincidences are sometimes even frightening a little. However, happy ending has not happened yet, as the cornerstone of a question is about the delivery. Russian Post does not agree to send parcels to Africa, EMS too. So much for the ” we sending parcels all over the world”. And DHL or DPD asking crazy price for delivery. So, the question is still open …

On the last day of Andrej staying in Ouagadougou, Moussa invited us for a meeting of friends. We had no idea what is the event but for Saturday night it sounded good. And how big was my surprise when we arrived. I do not know as it is officially called. A Club. Maybe. In Burkina Faso, there is a club whose members are somehow related to the Soviet Union, and now Russia. Burkinabe people who studied in the Soviet Union. Honorary consuls of Russia. Russians living and working here, and their wives. And everything they say was in my language! And kitchen, russian kitchen! Borscht, cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes with meatballs, oliviers, jellymeat, herring under a fur coat (last I can not eat because of allergia, but still!) And much more! These dishes are common for everyone who lives in Russia but for me it was just some kind of paradise. Food to which I was so accustomed, and which I missed so much. Enhanced by variety of drinks, among which I would prefer our cognac, it has caused an unprecedented euphoria in me. And all this is surrounded by mature held wise men who understand, speak my language, though they are different and interesting. In our land there is not even the embassy of this country and here are a club where people remembering their time when they studied and lived with us. At such moments, you realize that the Peoples’ Friendship has no boundaries at all…

..So in my mind I have to draw the equation with a bunch of unknowns. There are means to go further, but detail is needed to somehow teleported here. The original bearing that BMW may bring here a few days is an unrealistic amount (480 euros against a good analogue for $60). Moussa insisted that we celebrated New Year together. Visa to Nigeria left me only few days if I will stay. And most importantly – a great desire to greet the new year with my one and only beloved, but a complete absence of the possibility to implement it. Plane tickets worth quite cosmic money… Is there a miracles for the New Year?

28.11.2015 Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina-Faso


Bamako. So many good things and many interesting encounters. Last night at Sleeping Camel with a generous hand of the team was marked by free beer for me adoring departure and add a slight feeling of instant nostalgia when I observed how door of the bar being locked and the people reaching for the “last for today”.

In the morning I was packed my stuff back for a long time having fun with a square print of my tent on the ground. Bad news – gloves, lived on its last legs, collapsed completely. Yes, the climate does not spare anything. Differing literally at the seams, so on my arms were two halves dangling. Well, to their credit, these was the most durable gloves in my practice. However, there was the burning question – I have cover my hands from the sun. I knew that feeling when skin is burning beneath our star and you don’t feel it during movement. I dug at the bottom of hermobag and found rain glove covers (thanks, Dilbert!!!) and pinned them. Too hot and not air flow through but it will protect from the sun. It’ll do.

Already equipped I said goodbye to everyone in turn, with each of those to whom I for many, many days in a row say good morning and good night. It is time to move on. I made a route to the next point in my navi – the country of Burkina Faso, the city of Bobo-Dioulasso. There I was waited by Andrej and Evgen, those Slovenian guys which I helped with repairing of their truck. Andrew lived in Bobo for three years and for me it was important – to have the spot, and definitions sometimes gave me confidence. I have funds to barely reach Bobo and I rolled onto the sun-drenched tarmac of Bamako.

Landscapes around engendered a feeling of comfort and serenity. Green all around, little strange, as if I drive on another planet. Along the road grows high little burnt from the sun grass, behind it green-green trees followed by a sort of thicket but in African style – all that low, stretches to the ground. Exceptions were baobabs – huge powerful relics. From time to time they get to the eyes, those sprouting mighty giants over the rest of the vegetation. The road was smooth and good, occasionally accompanied by chains of holes.




I did quite short distance during the day, about 300 kilometers away, and the sun is slowly inclined towards the sunset. It was about 200 kilometers to the border of Burkina Faso and I decided it would be wiser to find shelter away from prying eyes during daytime, rather than go to the border and look for a place under the cover of darkness. I slipped into one of the exits from tarmac, did a little wander and found a great meadow. Scattered tent, filled burner with petrol and put water on the fire. Just at right time to catch the last rays of sunset. After dinner with instant soup and beans in the dark (in these latitudes darkness comes very quickly and suddenly) I lit a cigarette, looking at the stars stood out. It is good to be back on the road. After washing the dishes I crawled into the tent almost knocking mound nearby. And, oddly enough, I had fallen asleep almost immediately, as usually I’m quite a night person.

I woke up early in the morning, had breakfast similar to dinner meal, packed the bags and got out of the bush on the road. I quickly passed Sikasso and was at the border. Traditionally preparing myself to overcome customs difficulties I arrived at the border post consisting of a wooden gate of a tree trunk and a small building of customs. Guards on duty at the barrier pointed out by gestures to the building. I parked nearby and walk in. It turns out that if I leave Mali and I’m taking nothing declarable with me I can safely go on. I did. I drove to the border crossing, the next log fence. Here I was a little delayed, chatting with the Malian border guards, who jokingly offered me to give them a motorcycle or a camera or anything, demonstrated some knowledge of Russian language (!) and eventually put a stamp of departure, wishing bon voyage. I drove in Burkina Faso.

The process of customs clearing in Burkina was quite simple and logical. I had to pay 5000CFA for “Lassier-passier” analogue of “pasavant” in Senegal but far more valid, which frees me from having to extend it in the central customs office anywhere in the capital. Oh, and one of the officers at customs took my contacts, because he wants to go to Russia to serve in the army there, suddenly. Here, using the fact that the Malian SIM card is still not in roaming, I called Andrew in Bobo-Dioulasso and said that I’m on my way, having received additional guidance where I should look for him in the city.

Here is a typical village on the road:


I arrived in Bobo a little past noon, stopped to make call and was picked up by Evgen. We drove to one of the houses (of course with tall walls around), where inside I met Andrej and his wife – Shpela (also Slovene), and three gorgeous, wonderful dogs: Paco, Gandhi and Shisha. Andrej and Shpela rented rooms for guests who wanders through airbnb (mostly those who came here to work) and I was allowed to put up a tent on the land plot without payment in exchange for help in the necessary work on the house maintaining. Andrej doing some business in the sale and installation of solar panels and related equipment, and in Bamako he told me that it would be very, very useful to help him in this matter. However, subsequently I have not had a chance to participate in this case – this is Africa, and issues can be resolved in weeks. But at that time I was obsessed with the idea to work with my hands.

Here, in the courtyard, I saw a huge truck brand “TAM”. The Yugoslav Army gigantic size military truck that Andrej remade for traveling and spent several years of adventures in the Sahara and the Sahel. Adorable reliability and ease of assembly. Short wheel-based, high clearance. Looking at it you can not hesitate to say that this thing will go everywhere. The ideal transport for traveling in Africa. At some point, when I learned that my bike costs about the same as this huge contraption suspicious ideas crept in my head, hehe :)



I spent more than a week at this charming place and made a lot of work of keeping the house during the days and in the evening immersed in the local life in the company of Andrej and Evgen. Evgen, authentic Slovenian bear and Andrej, lean and hardened, they seemed to complement each other. And among other things – they were just a walking collection of aphorisms and jokes. As soon as one utter a phrase – the second immediately supplemented it with humor so I sometimes bursting out laughing. I felt very, very sorry that I didn’t had a good voice recorder to record all of their utterances. “The ugly and the stupid”, as they called themselves, hehe.

I was watching the local life. People here are very kind, and seemed to justify the name of their country (Burkina Faso means “land of honored people”). There are of course, some not so good individuals, but it’s like everywhere. Despite the fact that the majority of the population – the Muslims, the issue of religion here is not involved in the social life. Religion here is private thing. And talking about it is not accepted. More than that – every child achieving the 15th anniversary, no matter what religion it raised earlier, have right to choose, and not disputed. The only thing that here would be not understood – if you do not believe at all.

Funny fact – there is no centralized gas supply, so gas cans should be regularly refilled. So, different companies have painted their cans in different colors and refuse to fill cans of another company. The benefit is simple – if you don’t have time to search for proper place to refill your colored can – buy gas together with a can! Profit :)

Little of Bobo:




Once we talked about local cuisines of different worlds, and I voiced the idea – to stir up the shashlik. The idea has found support among hosts and guests. The hosts bought proper meat. Here it is not so easy – the meat is good, but the vast majority of local butchers just take a machete in hand and begin hewing from the heart without thinking. Therefore, on the street in the same place at different times it is possible to try both the super-delicious fried meat and the unbearably nasty meatgum. Fortunately Andrej knew a butcher who knew a lot about butchering. At the central market we were able to find a reasonable set of spices and bought wine – and I did my first beef shashlik (pork here is still a rarity) tried to convey our authentic russian shashlik. Andrej was able to find brochettes in his truck stored there from immemorial times and we built a backyard barbecue stove. Five hours of marinating later I started to cook, warning guests that I do not promise anything tastier than rubber soles, but I worried to no purpose – the meat turned out tender, juicy (I previously smeared meat on skewers with oil and first made a meatcrust on high heat) and having aroma in the almost perfect combination. Hail me! :)

On the morning of the same day I had an interview on radio Silver Rain. Thanks Igor Cherskiy – he told about me to Olesya, radio chief editor, with the result that we have agreed to make call and let me tell a little bit about Africa and my journey. I was pretty worried, after all, not every day you speak before such big audience. However, everything went just fine, and I felt a huge surge of vitality and enthusiasm when my friends left positive comments about the last transmission. More than that – maybe after a week we going to chat again! Listen to the radio Silver Rain :) Actually, the radio – a great thing. Very good nonverbally feeling of the audience’s attention.

But all good things must come to an end. One day I woke up earlier than usual, got out of the tent and found that I feel a little cold. Not from any illness, but just because I’m became so used to the heat and woke up earlier than usual. I looked at the thermometer outside and found +24C. Brew a cup of tea to warm up, I sat in my usual place in terrace corner, made a sip, and realized that it’s time to move on.


Oddly enough – I’m going to Ouagadougou, although initially I was not planning to visit it. Why is that – I explain in the next post. With your support – only forward! :)

12.11.2015 Sleeping Camel, still in Bamako

Almost a month has passed since I came here. Truly – be careful with what you wish for. I said that I’ll stay here for maybe a month, look for a job, wait Christian. As a result, I have not found job (those ideas which I had after all were broken off), and it makes me absolutely nothing to do here and I wanted to move on, but other wishes came true. Contrary to my desires.

I said goodbye to Mark and he went in the direction of Ivory Coast. It is time to move off for me but I allowed myself a few days of rest. I’m not in a hurry, it seemed to me that I have a lot of time and was just waiting for the regular monthly flow of funds. Which is not came. And I was trapped. The payment system in the Sleeping Camel consists of saving all expenses “on account” – living in a tent, food, water, everything else – is recorded, and you have to pay upon departure. Without the availability of additional funds I did not have enough of my own to pay off, and all is left to do – to sit and wait for opportunities. With all visas made and serviced motorcycle.

During this time I had tasted almost all of the local cuisine and learn some French. The latter, however, is not much help to me – not only that the language consists of a continuum of sounds, as the locals still chattering on it faster than British on their English. Je ne sais pas, damn. Each day was like groundhog day. All around the circle again and again. At some points I was close to despair. Several times different people offered to me to sell my bike (here it is simple enough) and sometimes that idea slipped into my mind. But I throw it aside. The hope, as they say, dies last. During the process on the advice of Igor Cherskiy I did some useful things – made some changes on site, little twirled here and there, updated the section “About Me” and “Finances”.

The only thing that brightened my stay here – travelers that sometimes wanders into Sleeping Camel.

One day Hinnerk drove through the gates, on one-cylinder KTM about 400 cubes. Half-Ducth-half German, he was also was heading to Cape Town. I helped him with valves adjusting and some other motorcycle servicing. Well, it is always good when there is the opportunity to work with my hands and tell a little about the processes of care for motorcycle. It seems to me that there is still a glimmer of talent of teacher that I buried someday. Route of Hinnerk was similar to mine, which is useful for me – there will be more up to date information about the roads and the situation.


… I was sitting at the bar. Usual evening as well as dozens of previous ones. Overhead fan rotated lazily, driving off pesky insects. From audio speakers in the corner flow the sound of tunes, each of which I learned until the last note. I was finishing the penultimate cigarette when scrawny man with graying hair passed me by. He paused briefly to greet me and we struck up a little conversation. Andrew, from Slovenia. Driving a truck (of course it is Mercedes-Benz) for sale in Burkina Faso.

Andrew complained about the problem with the engine lost power in the last days. I called a myself as a mechanic and offered to help. We chatted a bit, agreed to start in the morning and I went to sleep.


And the next day turned everything upside down. Events rained one after another. I stuck out under the gas tank of the truck with my hands in dirt and oil to elbows and heard my phone tinkles from the incoming messages. Andrew and Eugene, his teammate also from Slovenia, in the same form participated in an exciting process. Goodfellas, with humor and a simple outlook on life. At one point we had a smoke break and I turned to the news of the phone. My Mother! Christian comes tomorrow! But the main thing is not it. The most important thing – its s a few incoming donations and at last! At last!!! I got an opportunity to escape from here. Yesterday I did not know how to deal with the situation, and today I was full of hopes and plans. I could go back on the road! To top it off – Andrew invited me to visit in Burkina, and so I got the first point to stop.

I could not sleep half the night being excited. And the next morning I began to gather being in euphoria. All that is left to me – to write this post, ready for dispatch and chat with Christian. Back on track!


P.S. I was suggested that people might be interested to hear about the local food and booze – ask in comments sections if so.