In Africa, on black Limpopo

– Mercenary! – Screws African, pointing to me. I miss me, beat, but I do not feel pain. I look at the barrel of the Kalashnikov machine. Hurrying, the soldier sharply removes the fuse, and although his sweaty black hands tremble from the fear, not from the excitement, I understand that from one and a half meters it does not miss.

– I am Soviet! – I scream, believing in these words, as in the Holy Cross.

He puts finger on the trigger.

Unlike what they write in the books, I do not remember the past years, and I think about how stupid will happen if these words are the last thing I said.

– Yes, I am a mercenary, and I will tell you all the secrets to your bosses! – yeah.

The crowd after a short dispute agreement agrees that you can kill me a little later, and wolfges where there is some kind of officer – on the National Radio located nearby. Well audible automatic and machine gun shots, ruptures mines and grenades. Real mercenaries storm the presidential palace.

Thank God, the watchman at the gate of the radio learns the Russian journalist in me. Making sure from his words in my innocence, wrestlers with mercenaries are trying to find a truck to safely deliver me to the embassy. I’m warmly refusing to wait for a truck, fearing, no matter how much their mood has changed again.

And yet they are cute people: care about a foreigner while their country, as it seems to them, is in great danger. By the way, the attack of mercenaries was reflected, but then it turned out that in vain. Their president showed himself a worthless politician, and the regime, as it became clear, was wrong. And the other was changed a little later in peace.

There is no dispute, in Africa all sorts of trouble happen: a military coup and theft of your pockets honestly earned at the Fair in the Luzhniki dollars, spill of the river and the opportunity to purchase AIDS on (sometimes short) always only from the fact that you asked the girl in the bar, which hour.

But where else can you find such a detriment, such power, wealth and peace? If the waterfall is, then Victoria, if the desert is sugar, if the animals are thousands, if bananas – then along the road, if the river is the Neil, if the rain is for three months.

People, the limit of the dreams of which – the sad asphalt of New York and the sweened beach of Antalya are asked with surprise, how can you go back to this terrible africa? I answer them that this is a matter of nature. Some love quiet predictable women. Others – bright and temperamental. What, and temperatures in Africa enough.

Russian soul, the time of the century was sought for not freedom (conscious need), sufficient for Sleepy Anglosex, and will. It’s when dealing with the shoulder, breathing the hand. When the wind is in the face, and not a paid highway, and the soldier will be the village.

Block thought that "Asians We are diagonally and greedy". The classic became wrong. We are Africans with eyes, in which the joy of life is read, and as the basis of her – "AB", "Night" and "like something". We just mistakenly born in the edge, where nine months of winter are forced to work to build a house and grow potatoes. Instead of resting under a banana with his beloved wife. And when there are not enough bananas over your head, send those children who were born during rest.

I am sure that the song Hero concrete film Filimonov did not accidentally sought Limpopo. So scientists argue that all people had a single strawberry, and she lived, it seems in Africa. Not because someone’s mother is so often mentioned in Russian colloquial speech?

In Africa, a Russian man can behave as he wants: to talk on the street with strangers, squeeze his hand, clap on his shoulder and everyone calls his brother. Africans all adore. And, not embarrassed, ask: "My brother that you will give me?"

You can give everything: for children, bartender, women of light and hard behavior, ministers. A customs officer who rummaged in your suitcase, you can give a pack of cookies or chocolate tiles.

Once I met at the son’s son, who flew one of Moscow. I asked for a strict employee in the form to skip me into the passport control zone to help my son fill the card. He explained to me that this is prohibited by law. I handed him money. "What is it – a bribe official in the performance of official duties?" – Ongoing O. "Well, that you, – I said – it’s just a gift". "Then – another thing", – He calmed down, removing a piece of paper in his pocket and passing me into the forbidden zone.

In general, Africans love to follow the fulfillment of all rules, prohibitions and depositions. During the transit stop at the accrement airport, I vainly persuaded my fellow travelers not to get a video camera from my bag, without asking for the permitting of the police. As a result, the camera was arrested by vigilant guards of order. Well that a representative "Aeroflot" It turned out to be nearby. He managed to rescue it in a couple of days and send us the next flight. And in another country, the wife of the Bulgarian ambassador was imprisoned for photographed the presidential palace. Her husband at this time just handed his credential certificate in this palace. It was not possible to free it immediately, since, according to the laws there, any police officer came into custody, but to release from the box – only the Minister of Internal Affairs. And he was in departure.

You do not need to get into an African prison. It is bad. And do not feed – usually. However, for this, it is enough not to try to buy from the hands of gold or diamonds. Of course, you can break on the mortgage that "gold" It turns out to be a lead alloy, and "Diamonds" – Simple stones. But after all, the investigation will need to still install it, but after a couple of three days in the SIZO, the sky will seem with sheepskin.

And still need to carefully follow the currency rules. As in Russia, in many African countries, only national denotals are recognized by means of payment. Change currency need in official points, and not at the crossroads at the hotel, where any can turn out to be an employee of the authorities. On the street, in the shops, the market is easy to install and fake dollars. I heard about the tragic case, when unnecessarily, our compatriot was behind bars for the illegal purchase of gold (fake) for dollars (fake).

By arrival in Africa, it is worth asking whether it is necessary to declare the currency available with you. Otherwise, if this is not done, when you fly it can be found illegal and seized.

But it is an extreme. In general, in Africa, the number of relatives of honest ways of taking money is practically. In Buratino, the role of which the tourist. The most common – the appointment for its goods prices, once in ten, and then a hundred, exceeding the real. Or defeats boys for the protection of the car or for the fact that one of them will wear your basket for you.

One of our in the evening at the entrance to the hotel, the local lady tried to incline for a modest fee to the sinful act. In response to his "Rousseau tourist, mind moral" She grasped him at the gate and began to call the police, clearly intending to blame the poor fellow in an attempt to teach violence over her, an innocent girl. It stopped to squeeze only when he received the amount, once in ten superior that could count on the natural development of events.

Another powerful detachment of unofficial supplies, disabled and other. In many cities, it is worth a car to stay at the crossroads, how blind with guides, lepers and other poor people rush to her. If the machine without air conditioning and the lee will see you in the window of your cult – you will be nervous, even if you read that in such a stage, the patient is already inconspicuous.

It goes without saying that white people in African cities, as a rule, do not walk on foot. This is not accepted. With the exception of the central streets of large cities. With a taxi is not all and not everywhere just. In many places in small taxi cars, four to five people are styled, as if on the bus.

But my God, who needs African cities! They are no more than intermediate stations on the way to the beach, palm trees, jungle, savannah, waterfalls.

I would recommend the most desperate, say, the alloy in the Congo. This is a majestic river, crossing such virgin territories, where otherwise I can not get there. This is Africa in the form in which she appeared before the first European people who came there. With the clouds of mosquitoes, impassable wilds, with the living outside civilization tribes, crocodiles, snakes. This is a real adventure, and not a tourist walk. When a few years ago an expedition disappeared into the thresholds of the Congo, they did not even find traces from it.

The enterprise is not for weaknikov also – travel by cars or motorcycles in the deep areas of the continent. You can start it in Morocco and, crossing the Sahara, go down to the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. Of course, it is best to make groups for several all-terrain. But I happened to bring in Algeria, and in black Africa a couple or singles who committed such a hitchhiking. Of course, drafting on "Single swimming" Through great desert areas, you should not neglect the simplest registration rules from local authorities. Otherwise, if you get lost somewhere, you will not look. The same applies to the need to have a stock of water and awning from the Sun. In the heart of the Sahara, a man – like a tear at the eyelash: fell – and no her.

"In Africa Shark, in Africa Gorilla, in Africa big evil crocodiles." These words heard in childhood is the truth. See elephants, giraffes, rhinos not in a cage, but at the pleaire, watch "Breakfast on the grass" Performance of Lion and Gazelle Thomson (Gazelle in the role of bacon) is expensive.

The best reserves are in Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa. But in most of them the so-called "safari" accomplished without weapons: with binoculars, camera, camcorder. And it turns out to be one of the most vivid impressions in life. But there are among us those who want to contemplate the skin with the beast. For them somewhere to organize real "safari". Somehow I flew to Moscow with four domestic "White hunters". In Ghana for the opportunity "Fall" Elephant they paid, it seems, three thousand dollars. Seen, not from the last money.

When you are hot, you want to. It is true for the Central Russian hill and all the more – for the Central African Plateau. If you are a fan of bathing, it is best to choose to leave Seychelles or Mauritius. There are magnificent beaches, lack of harmful insects and rees, coral reefs, blocking the path of sharks and providing paradise conditions for fans of underwater.

You can also swim on the east coast: in Kenya and Tanzania. But the west coast from Guinea-Bissau to Congo is not everywhere for swimming everywhere. Then the shore is covered with mangy thickets, then the refrigerated wave prevents.

Highway from Ghana in Togo Benin, Nigeria for hundreds of kilometers goes along the shore, which is an endless sandy beach, crumpled palm trees. On the ocean, in these places, it is almost never a storm, he always rolls an endless worm of waves covered with foam lambs, publishing a smooth, unpleasant hum. Waves seem to be not so high, but Mount Swimmer, who will risk measuring with them forces. It may happen that he will not be able to overcome a cunning cast flow. I admit honestly, I felt so fate. But every time I was ready for what I have to stay on the water for a few hours, until I parse help or while I will not put it up to some port where there is a vololate.

I did it, and I had a chance to see one such recessed. They were bought five – young men. Sailed, and back – it does not work. Four began to wait until the rope remaining on the shore, and one tried it all, knocking out of his strength, to overcome several meters separating him from the shore.

It is categorically impossible to swim in the lagoons, lakes, plain rivers and other standing water. There is a causative agent of terrible disease – river blindness. Yes, and crocodiles Africans have not yet ate. But in rivers flowing from the mountains and hills, I have always bought in waterfalls without fear and with pleasure. The ocean off the coast of Africa – like heated milk, and the mountain streams are cheating as cold "Borjomi". In them, by the way, you can, while you bathe, cool not only mineral water, but also beer.

Once in the rainy season I was a loyal wife and daughter in the pastry shop, where they loved to coat the cakes and cocoa. I put the car slightly away, free space, and while I closed her, they ran in the rain to the entrance. Suddenly – screams, bustle. I look around and see that the African crashes from somewhere my daughter, and then his wife. It turned out that the city authorities took the clearing (sewer) ditch, laid along the street. They deepened her in the growth of a person, no overwhelming. And the shower poured it to the edges. They fell back there. It’s good that a five-year-old daughter instinctively hid his breath and emerged.

Tropical shower is something that says "Oklebi celestial". No windscreter cope with it. Streets are covered with such a layer of water in which engines are chipped. As a rule, in "wet" Rain season goes at the same time day, a few hours in a row. But it happens that it is not interrupted two to three or four days.

And what spectacle dawn in the tropics! She especially picturesque at the ocean shore. Waves are root, the sky is lit up a dozen simultaneously flashing in different places of lightning. Some of them are crashing with grooved swords into raging water.

Joking with a thunderstorm – I don’t care what to pull the lion by the tail. Three ours went out in the rain on the street and were near the iron gate at the moment when Znight hit those. One that was closest to the goal, was killed, the second – lost consciousness, only the third could call for the rescue.

Going to Africa, do not blindly believe calls to visit "Edge of eternal summer". Be sure to learn about the weather that stands in this area at this time. On the approaches to sugar I was found to see such snowfalls that the movement on the roads stopped. And who wants to find out on the wonderful Mauritius in February-March – after all, at this time, tropical cyclones hit the island of shower and squall winds, whose speed reaches 220 km per hour!

And at the same time, the rain is not always – evil. Under the rain, Buuraya Savannah acquires paints of life, the trees, bushes and flowers flourish, filled with dried rivers and lakes. And waterfalls! "Fata Bride" In Benin in the rainy season, it really resembles this headdress, dropping from the rocks of the greenery. Especially beautiful this waterfall, if you get up between the rock and flow consisting of billions of splashes. And in winter, when rivers dry, "Fata Bride" turns into several streams.

For photo and video shooting the best time – the beginning and end of the rainy season, the heat is weaker, nature blooms, and the rains are short.

But if the weather and her quirks depend on the season, then another African attack – infection – ready at any time of the year. Depending on the locality, it can be tuberculosis, and a sleepy disease, and yellow fever, and hepatitis "V", and amoebic dysentery, and giardia in the liver, and worms that settle under the skin in humans and much more.

In Africa, on black Limpopo

Honorary place in this row occupies malaria. Her pathogens suffer a mosquito. Therefore, it is common in lowlands, wet areas. Their inhabitants are almost markedly affected by this ailment. Doctors advise tourists going to Africa during their stay there and a week before it takes special preventive.

One journalist, together with which we recently went on a week on a business trip to those edges, – a strong Russian man, who passed along and across the hot and cold dots of the Union – fell upon returning to Moscow with such an attack of malaria that he almost gave God to the soul.

Maybe doctors worth listening. But white people, old-timers of Africa, mostly drink a daily medicine daily, and gin-tonic. They say this mixture saved the death of the first colonizers. From intestinal infections help whiskey, perno and beer. Ponemarku. But often. More Old Hemingway noted that alcoholism threatens white in Africa. But not our tourists. They are usually prepared. Even even eagles. I remember one such an eagle teased from the river a hefty crocodile.

In general, despite all these crocodiles, diseases, gangsters, mercenaries, thunderstorms, floods and droughts, is not more dangerous in Africa than in Moscow. Otherwise, I spent a total of seven years there, would not write these lines.

And yet, once I stew. Here is how it was. Together with three other journalists I came to see the former Royal Palace in the city of Porto Novo in Benin. Only a few decades ago, a mystical ceremony was performed in the palace with the brings of human victims. Now the living part of the structures serves as a museum, and in the ritual, the worship of Voodoo spirits is still committed. But the entrance to the uninitiated closed.

The cult of Voodoo became world famous due to the daddy dock – the late president of Haiti. There was no secrecy that he uses witchcraft tricks to strengthen his dictatorial power, for which blood, human organs, snakes and other. It was on Haiti that the appearance of zombies – lively dead. It is known that relatives of the dead on Haiti spend big money for heavy tombstones so that the sorcerers do not kidnap the corpse and have not turned it into zombies – a bad slave.

The cult of Voodoo is common in many Latin American countries, where in due time with a slave shore, black slaves were exported. Porto-Novo, the official capital of the current Benin, was one of the main points of dispatch across the ocean "Black Products". And the population of this country, regardless of the spread of Christianity and Islam in it, retains Voodoo commitment.

So, a guide in the museum, where we were then the only visitors, showed us the door, which led to the death room. He explained that if the king wanted to finish his earthly existence, he visited this room and a few days later died. Served a room one family of hereditary priests. Now there is no one from this family left in Porto-Novo and no one comes into the death room, although it is not locked. What’s there – no one knows.

Among us found a hero who was removed to experience fate and penetrate there. I happened to wrap myself around the neck of the live python in the temple of Python, but here I felt anxiety squeezes my heart. I told him that if he goes there, I would never sit down with him in one car and one aircraft. Other satellites supported me, and the combined efforts we dissuaded the brave. You never know. Especially in Benin.

Once in this country, an international football match was held at the Central Stadium, but the pouring rain did not give the opportunity to start the game. Caused a sorcerer. He came out to the middle of the field, raised his hands to the sky, and after ten minutes they scattered. But only above the stadium! Around him the shower continued.

One of the European travelers who visited those edges of two hundred years ago, described how the sorcerers rival among themselves rose in a thunderstorm on the neighboring hills and tried to hit each other with lightning until one could have killed another.

In the arsenal of priests Voodoo – love spells, challenges, fortune telling, damage and even transformation of people in animals.

Once in a distant village I learned that there is an old sorcerer. I met him and asked if he could really become a crocodile. (In our territories, the waswolf most often took the appearance of a wolf, there – a crocodile.) "Yes, – he said, – I can, but I have not done anything for a long time, because the new government does not make engaged in witchcraft". I did not manage to persuade him to show me something.

But when I arrived there in the same year, I learned that the old man was mysteriously. Began with the fact that a neighbor quarreled with him. And soon a huge crocodile dragged the son of this neighbor in the river. He began to bow with a gun in the thickets by the river and, when she was taking this monster, he fired him in the side. Crocodile disappeared into the river, and old sorcerer from that day did not come out of the hut. When the dogs began to throw out, as the dead man, fellow villagers dared to look at the sorcerer. The old man was dead, he gaped firearms on his side.

When you think about it in Moscow, sitting by the TV, everything seems to be fiction, but when you drive the night in an African village, and the roof threatens the shower and the sorcerers all night are knocking on his drums, drivening away the god of lightning from their homes, you begin to treat everything otherwise.

From travels it is customary to bring souvenirs. From african – especially. Purchasing products from wood, it must be remembered that their real price is the price of firewood. You should look at least, does not imagine "Black" Tree Something Massed by Gutalin.

Better than woods, taking products from snake and crocodile skin. If only because soon I will not buy anywhere in the world. As well as products from an elephant beyre (not to be confused with the bone of an elephant).

You can bring Modyshka. Especially if you have a person who you want to make a nasty. He’s her and give it.

But the perfect souvenir, in my opinion, is a parrot, or a couple of these birds. I had one in africa. Breed Jaco. With gray feathers and a red tail. It is known that they are well trained to talk. One friend lived in Africa for several months by a bachelor until his wife arrived to him. Parrot met her with the words: "Want to drink? Babo want?" My parrot, thank God, did not chat those nonsense. And in general, no, but I loved to prick the beak, like nuts, buttons on my shirt, sat, like a cat, on the armrest of the chair, demanding that I scratch his head.

And also loved to drink from my gland brandy or liquor. Otherwise, as the French colonizers learned.

Do not forget only before flying to arrange a veterinary certificate there, so as not to be taken into "Sheremetyev". With mad prices for parrots on the bird market, the costs of this will not seem burdensome.

But the main souvenir that you will drive with you – these are wonderful memories and desire to return. Seen movie "Out Of Africa" (or read the novel)? Someone will think that this is a love story of a woman to a man, in fact, it is the story of love for Africa. Well, and if there will be love in Africa with you, it will be like a thunderstorm in the tropics. Worth trying.

In Africa, on black Limpopo

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