Episode 17

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Flag of Mongolia  ,
Thursday, October 25, 2012

> September 29th 2012 


> Well you will never guess what I have done!!!! I interviewed a 
> “celebrity”. How you must envy me, Lyn. I talked with a man who has 
> done some amazing
> things – like walking across the Bering Strait and doing it in winter;
> currently bicycling across Mongolia (that’s where I met him) and many 
> places in
> Russia

> I had to search for a secretary to get this written down but
> I ended up with a woman from the Redcliffe Peninsula, north of Brisbane,
> Queensland Australia, who says the phone line was crackly, she couldn’t 
> hear
> properly and did not know the places in the world that my guest was 
> talking
> about. Good secretaries are very
> hard to find so I had to accept her services. 

> Anyway back to my guest. 
> His name is Dimitri Kieffer, born in France but has lived long enough in
> America to gain citizenship and can now call himself a French American
> He is 46 years old, is not home in America
> long enough to hold down a full time job, and his card reads “Nexus
> Expeditions, Circumnavigating the globe through human power while 
> connecting
> different societies, civilisations and landscapes.” 

> Dimitri was kind enough to talk about some of the things he
> has experienced. The friendly, welcoming
> people of Russia and Mongolia, some of his “fears” like robbers,
> traffic, bears and cracking ice. 

> Dimitri talked of some of the dangers he perceived while
> travelling in Zaibaikalski, Krai, in Russia and found he needed to 
> exercise a
> certain amount of precaution such as not venturing out at night, camping 
> hidden
> away in some of the villages where a few solo foreign motorcyclists have 
> been
> robbed/killed/shot/stabbed/burnt over the last few years. The people 
> committing these offences were
> usually ex-inmates of some of the numerous local prisons or “zombies” 
> usually
> drunk or drugged out of their minds. 
> Luckily Dimitri did not come face to face with these sorts. He 
> experienced some remarkable hospitality
> from road workers, gold miners, restaurant owners and from apiarists 
> also
> receiving many gifts from locals and curious drivers passing by amazed 
> to see
> this foreign person on a bicycle. 

> One story Dimitri told was of the crossing of the Bering
> Strait where he at first was concerned about bears but soon discovered 
> that
> the cracking ice opening up under his camp at night was much scarier
> There were occasions that the ice gave way to
> open waters that meant swimming – on his back- with his gear on his 
> front. He
> did not swim unless he could see the other side and it was not too far
> away. He found it very comforting to
> return to solid land. 

> So far in 2012 Dimitri has travelled 3,586 kilometres from
> Yukutsk to Ulan Bataar but thinks his finish date could be 5 years away 
> with a
> cross-Atlantic Ocean row back to Anchorage. 

> Hopefully my secretary has accurately recorded our interview
> and I thank Dimitri very much for his patience and time in talking to a
> BEAR!!!!!! (stuffed).
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