Kansai Scene Magazine
 

 

On the road ...

From Kazakhstan to Kansai … via 70 countries. It isn’t all easy riding but DmitrIy Petrukhin is on a mission to spread a message to the world from the back of a motorbike.

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Traveling around the world takes a lot ofdedi- cation. Traveling around the world on two wheels, on the other hand, is the epitome of passion. Dmitriy Petrukhin does just that for one reason only, to promote the 7th Winter Asian Games that are scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan early next year — 30th Jan to 6th Feb, 2011. Dmitriy is in Japan till 4th Sept, and will be meeting the Sports Minister of Japan and some of the sports personalities in Tokyo and in Osaka. He is accompanied by the media crew from his homeland to travel with him under the banner of ‘Around the World Moto Expedition by Dmitriy Petrukhin’. KS meets the Kazakhstani rider on the road on an exclusive one-on-one.

KS: Seventy countries in two years! How has the journey been?
Dmitriy: It has been a great experience. I have always enjoyed riding and back in Kazakhstan, I am the president of a Motorcycle Club. I must admit though, the constant travel takes its toll on you, physically and mentally. 

Many unexpected problems can crop up and I have tobe prepared so that I can continue my mission.

So who came up with this idea?
Actually it was the idea of the president of Kazakhstan. He approached me to promote the 7th Winter Asian Games. How could I decline such an honor, especially since I knew it would be the adventure of a lifetime!I was also given a crew that consisted of Lyazzat Sagyndykova who is our official journalist and Vitalyi Kistanov, who is our cameraman and photographer.

Well your travels have finally led you to Japan! How do you find it here?
This country is simply sensational! Japan is one of the best countries we have been in, and definitely the best in Asia. Speaking from a biker’s point of view, these roads are heavenly! If I had to compare, the closest any country could get to being Japan would be Germany. The people are extremely friendly and helpful. Our first impression of Japan was made when reached Sakaiminato from Korea. Generally, we have a problem with customs in every country, Japan is one of the rare countries where we were let go easily. In fact, the people there were so helpful that they actually helped us fill in the forms and the declaration. We’ve rarely seen such hospitality.

What kind of problems have you had so far?
Well in Japan, we only had one setback. Our credit and cash cards couldn’t work at the ATMs. We eventually figured out why, but it did make us nervous. As far as other problems go, I remember we had a major issue entering China from Russia. Apparently the route we had taken was only permitted for tourist buses and trailers. Private vehicles weren’t allowed. We ended up staying at the border for seven days during which we contacted our Foreign Affairs Minister who managed to take care of the matter. Similar problems generally happen at every border. Aside from that, there are many incidents wherein we don’t eat or we can’t sleep. We all really feel for Lyazzat, especially because she is a woman and she has to endure all of this.

How do you manage communication with so many different people?
We make it a rule to learn ‘Hi’, ‘Bye’ and ‘Thank You’ in the language of the country.  It helps us reach out to people and we can really connect. Our languages may be mutually exclusive from each other but our actions often speak universally. As long as people know that we are here to befriend them, I see a goal achieved!

What would you like to take back from Japan?
I would like to love to take back the culture! I simply love the feeling of peace that I get in Japan! We visited some temples in Kyoto and we literally had to be thrown out of the compounds because we could not leave before the designated closing time! We also love the sushi here, but there is no surprise there!

So when can we see you next?
You can see me next when you come to Kazakhstan to do the media coverage for the 7th Winter Asian Games!

• Dmitry’s official website: www.bike.kz
• 7th Winter Asian Games: www.astana-almaty2011.kz

Text: Sahil Kulkarni • Photos: KS, Vitalyi Kistanov

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