A POSTCARD FROM THE SILK ROAD
Arrival in Moscow
As we get off the plane, we realise that part of the filming gear went missing along the way… The quest for the video equipment shop is about to begin! It’s not an easy thing to figure out signs in Cyrillic, or to explain the situation to a taxi driver who speaks no English, but everything is sorted out after two hours. Quite a relief!
The Loujniki stadium is the place where we get our equipment and papers checked, and also where we first saw the procession that would be escorting us throughout the way. The rally is enormous, there are over 2500 people!
At the camp
It was a 1000-star hotel! Indeed, camping for a fortnight next to the generator and the mechanics working on the vehicles all night… is priceless! We sleep with the camera, the tripod, the drone and the rest. It’s a bit tight! We get up at 3 a.m. to pack up camp, grab coffee and leave before the sun comes up. We have a 12-hour drive ahead of us! During the first stop-offs in Russia, we discover breathtaking landscapes of steppes and forests. It is gorgeous but Beijing is still more than 10 000km away! The 15-day drive through Russia, Kazakhstan and China is overwhelming.
The day before we cross the Kazakh border, the press officer takes out of his rucksack 250g of caviar and a bottle of Beluga vodka, the best in Russia. The fish eggs will go off because of the staggering heat, so we need to finish the can, a spoonful each. What a treat!
We are greeted like kings in Kazakhstan. Every one we meet offers us some mare milk. It is quite bizarre, like fizzy fermented milk. They say it is good for your health, and it is offered with such enthusiasm we are happy to drink this local delicacy!
The landscapes in central Asia are fabulous. We use the drone whenever we can. It is a great pleasure to be filming here, especially since few journalists ever come here. I have the feeling we are shooting rare images.
Crossing the border to the Xin Jiang strengthens this impression. Westerners seldom come to this part of the world and journalists of any sort are usually not welcome but thanks to the Silk Way Rally we managed to get the adequate visas and the police looked at us with some curiosity! They took photos with our cars, and were all smiles. We even got the opportunity to film the border control!
The more we move east, the more magnificent the landscapes become. For 4 days we drive through the Gobi desert. We shoot among gorgeous sand dunes. These memories will remain forever inside our minds, and inside AFP-Services rushes!