My friend went to Somalia
On the outskirts of Addis Ababa in the area of embassies and mansions, I was looking for the Somaliland Embassy – one of the two unrecognized states formed in the territory of a broken war of Somalia. Here, in Ethiopia, the Embassy of Somaliland issued a visa to everyone – a lubricated stamp at the forty dollars. Two times I went to the Blue Flag of the Official Embassy of Somalia. Probably, it was possible to gain arrogance and ask them how to find a representative office of Somaliland. But it would look like the same arrogance, how to call, say, Patrushev and ask him the phone Zakaev. The green-white-red Somaliland flag was found on the back of the sign of the South Africa Embassy. "I need a visa", – I said to a girl recounting a large amount of American dollars. For her back hung tourist map of Somaliland’s sights. Along the map were scattered images of semi-precious stones. "We have a very rich country", – said the girl and took me to the ambassador. "Journalist?" "Designer", – Located Ya. "How will you get to us?" – "By bus through Ethiopia". – "Target?" – "View Somalia". – "Somaliland!" "Yes, of course, I recovered. – Somaliland". "We have a very rich country, – said the ambassador. – You will see a lot when you travel in Somalia". "Somaliland", – I corrected. "Yes Yes", – said the ambassador and put his painting on a visa.
On the border I put an exit seal and waved my hand. I broke under the barrier and left Ethiopia. Under a rusty canopy made from straightened cans, I got an entry stamp. "Welcome to Somaliland", – said the border guard. "I need to go to the capital, – I said. – In Hargeisa". The border guard raised his finger towards the accumulation of rusty cars. There were three or four. All white, all with the right steering, all "Toyota Mark-2". In each of the cars there were three rows of seats. Four people were sitting on the two rear, on the passenger seat next to the driver sat two. These were the best places, the only inconvenience of which was that she was sitting closer to the driver, had to raise his right foot from time to time – in those moments when it was necessary to switch the speed. I sat down in the car, in which three were already sitting, and waited for a long time, when the rest of the passengers will be typed: the cars were sent here only with the maximum filling. And then overloaded and sawing, they rushed forward at full speed, not paying attention to the monstrous state of rocky primer, scoring the clouds of dust baboons, which came from the depths of the desert to the roadside, believing that here, first, more interesting, and secondly – more delicious garbage.
I needed to change 50 dollars. In the center of Hargeisi, I went around half a dozen exchange offices, each of which was a roughly choped blue design that resembles a buffet. The course was one – 6 thousand Somaliland shillings for 1 dollar. The largest bill in Somaliland was a piece of 500 shillings. On 10 dollars it was possible to get sheltered money. For the same reason, each of the buffets had a huge, tightened with a compartment with a mesh, in which the cubic meters of money lay. I gave $ 50. In return, I was given eight and a half packs. They were swollen and dirty. The bills were twisted with scotch and bonded with rubber bands. They are leaps to hand, some trembled pipes like autumn leaves. Recalculate money here was not accepted. I tried to remove them in my pocket, but only two packs of nine placed there. I guess I looked very ridiculous. Because someone cautiously touched my shoulder and gave a package. Then with the money package I was sitting in a market dining room, ate meat and drank sweet Somali tea with milk. "How much?" – I asked a guy running back and forward with plates. In my hands I had one of the packs. Centimeter three thickness, no less. "Approximately so much", – joked guy and showed to the fingers something in the area of one and a half centimeters.
Buffets for sale kata were the same as buffets for money exchange, only green. Felt in short thick brooms Cat – shoot growing in neighboring Ethiopia of narcotic shrubs – sold everywhere. On an industrial scale by cargo aircraft transported our pilots. With green buffets Cat sold men, women and even children. Bought – only men. Hiding green brooms from the bright sun under a shirt, they walked down the street, methodically tonging from a broom on a leaf and sending in her mouth.
In the country where there is no underground market for alcohol, Cat was his widespread and legal substitute. Light drug, the effect of which can only feel the one who is used to chewing him from childhood and never tried anything else.
I understood it that day when the bribed "Toyota Mark-2" I was lucky from Hargeisi in Berber – the main port of Somaliland. Near me, a representative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Somaliland on Berber was sitting. In his hands there was a huge broom kata. Quickly, like a cow, embarked on a delicious bush, ministerial tongal cat. It was night, the car rushed through a bad road. Then there was a cotton bunting tires, and the car sharply moved to the stony side. Went out headlights. Swinging, ministerial went into the dark. "But I know the language of hyen! He shouted. – They are there, these hyenas. There, behind the hills! Here everything is chisit. They are everywhere. I see how they burn their eyes. Ay, Mr. Gien, hear me? I’m not afraid of you, Mr. Gien!" He shouted for a long time, and then sat in the car and, it seems, fell asleep, squeezing the grinding broom.
"This is my passport. And this is my weapon wear permit". Said, the hotel manager laid out all his documents on the table. Quietly bored fountain. We sat in the hotel’s indoor courtyard "Orient" – the oldest hotel of Somaliland. It was written above his entrance: since 1953. TV showed "Al-jazir". Wearing a weapon resolution was a yellow piece of tight paper, divided into two parts: the gun was drawn on top, from the bottom – the machine. In both parts, the handle was made. "I also have something else, "said Said. – Tokarev and Kalashnikov. These are good, reliable cars. our cars!" On the word "ours" He did a special emphasis. I calmed cooled tea: "Why?" – "I have six children". I nodded. Jeeps scored by armed vehicles in civilianship often stayed on the road to ride me or offer help. "And in all our?" "our weapon is the best", – convinced said Said. "Yes", – I said. Two days before that, the elderly Somali approached me. "Where are you from?" – he asked. "I’m from Russia", – I said. He crashed my hand for a long time. Then I called me my name, I called my. "Mikhail, "he said. – And Kalashnikov still alive? What kind of man, what a great man! He gave all of us freedom. All Africa!" He let go my hand and smiling went further.
I got into Laas-Gil from the second time. Only after the second day brought the resolution of the Ministry of Culture with a low-speed police-guide, which was sitting in the center of the desert in the stone booth without electricity and guarded Laas-Gil. On the first day I had no permission. I have repeatedly swore with him, then in reconciliation ate from one plate rice porridge. Then we decided to call the Minister of Culture. Was Friday, the only weekend in Muslim week. "You are in Laas Gile illegally, – said the Minister of Culture. – I can’t help you – I rest. Go to me tomorrow".
Translated from Somali "Laas-Gil" means "Camel well". In December 2002, this huge cave complex with rock painting discovered the French expedition. The French made a bit: washed away some of the images, many of which turned out to be about 11 thousand years old and las-gil declared the most significant monument of the era of Neolithic in all Africa. Then the French left, leaving behind a few barbed wire and the stone booth for guarding. There, in the caves of Laas-Gil, there were people, dogs and giraffes on the walls and ceilings. And cows. Drawn in three colors – red, white and black – cows were dressed in ceremonial shoes. Tiny people barely got cows to the chest; 11 thousand years ago the deities were more than a person.
I got out of the stone booth and saw a girl in front of him four or five years. In the hands of the girl was long, in two her growth, shepherds stick. Over the girl crowd stood timby white goats. Since 11 thousand years ago, people painted a cow-god cow-god on the walls of the Las-Giil caves, much changed. Nestl company&# 233; Brought in Africa cheap milk powder, and the Somalis stopped breeding cows, because they never bred cows on meat, only for milk. Who gives you milk can not be killed for meat. The girl and her goats looked at me like on a snowman. A policeman said something to the girl, from which I disassembled only one word – "our". And then one of the goats came up to me and got up with the front paws to me on the chest, like a big horned dog, persistently raising a delicious soup.
"You arrived from the Great Country, "Taxi driver told me. – from the greatest country in the world". Like everyone I said that I came from Russia, he was crawled my hand for a long time, and then I admitted for all our rulers for a long time, starting with Khrushchev. ours were in Somalia for long and long ago. Socialism wanted to build here in the seventies. Built houses, hospitals and a huge naval base in Berber. Then the war began, and, throwing everything, the ours went. Nothing remains from houses and hospitals. Something along the roads stood burnt Soviet tanks, which the USSR properly supplied the country even after official care. But in Somalia is still good to be our – a representative of the greatest country on Earth, where the enthusiasm of people will be comparable only with their courage and the desire to help. Taxi driver told me about how lucky I was born in the USSR. I already knew that he would say at the end. Two days before that, I spoke with a hotel manager in Hargeis. "I heard you kill Africans, "he said. – Tell Putin so that this is not. For what?" "You have a lot of britched in Moscow, – a student of the University of Hargeisi told me on the street. – As you think, if I go there to learn, I will be killed?" "Tell Putin so that you stop killing our", – a woman who graduated from Voronezh Pedagogical in 1986 told me. "Tell Putin so that he punished them, – Taxi driver told me. – After all, it is impossible". In Somaliland, where to go from the street to any ministry can everyone, I was also a man who, walking in Moscow, could go to the White House and chat with the prime minister. I nodded my head.
In Somaliland there are no pirates. "They are all in Puntland", – Someone said. "They are all in Mogadishu", – said the other. It was clear that I asked an annoying question. And it was clear. I can easily imagine this situation: on Tver Boulevard come to me, let’s say, Americans are asked to tell about our mafia. "Believe me, all pirates in Puntland", – Muhammed said me. He was 27. We sat in the port of Berbers. He came here every day, trying to find a job. Work was a bit: immerse it, unload something. One or two dollars a day, no more. "You know, – said Mohammed. – If there were pirates in Somaliland, I would be one of them". From here, from afar, from the port, he showed me his home. "Won there, on the second line of houses". His finger showed on an abandoned fishing area. I was there yesterday. Owned facades, boiled windows and forever closed doors, over each of which was a half-rated sign – something like "Fishing Company". From there, with a dusty semi-dimensional embankment, a view of the entire bay was opened, tightly covered with flooded ships. "Once, to all wars, there were a lot of ships and a lot of fishermen, "said Mohammed. – Now, after the war, all these ships at the bottom, and all fishermen lost their work. I was also once a fisherman, and now I am a loader. You understand who becomes a pirate?" I nodded, and we began to talk about anything, just not about pirates. And then Mohammed said: "I will go. I need to look for a mother. She is crazy, it’s not a joke. Yesterday, while we were not at home and my sister, she left, I can’t find it for the second day". And he went towards the port gate.
On the bill in 500 Somaliland shillings, a dynamic scene is depicted: several challenges, swinging in the air with their hands, drive a large octar whites with black sheep heads on a cargo ship. If you believe what they say inside Somaliland, and what they write beyond, the export of livestock is the only more or less stable income of the country. Waiting for the ship I wandered over the port and watched how somewhere because of the containers and giant tanks on the pier in the night darkness of thousands of white sheep with black heads. Magonists were about three dozen. Armed with long sticks, at the ends of which plastic bottles were tied, they drove the sheep on the narrow ladders to two preparing for the sail. The first was big and white. With a pipe, several decks and beautiful logs. He sparkled like a New Year’s postcard, and walked with a load of 7 thousand sheep in Yemen. The second was gray and wooden, with blue handrails along the deck and a black wiggy pipe. If you find the pipe, the ship looked as if he was floating from the XVI century. His crew consisted of Muslim Hindu – frequent phenomenon in the Arabian Sea. It was on this ship that I had to sail into the tiny neighboring country of Djibouti to get there an Ethiopian visa and go back to Ethiopia. Concentrated and fierce Hindus helped to distribute black-headed sheep in three levels of the ship. Long sticks in the hands of the stronger never concerned sheep. They only sometimes knocked them on the ground or swung in the air. People who are engaged in breeding sheep for several millennia, do not need to beat animals so that those. Sheep showed a clearness and did not publish a sound, apparently, not guessing that still alive only because there are no ships with freezers in the poor country. Was the third hour of the night, before Djibouti, according to the assurances, it was 14 hours of stroke, and the sheep had already begun to fill out the top deck. Their white backs were labeled henna – supplier brand. I have not yet knew that when the ship will come out in the sea, I will play a storm, and the road to Djibouti will take almost two days. I have not yet knew that the old wooden ship is full of cockroaches and rats. And that when I come to Djibouti, it will rain, and all the city streets will cover the impassable layer of dirt. But, it seems, I knew one thing: all this was better than to follow the cost of a bivarny basket, hope that OPEC is about to introduce quotas for oil production, look out of the window to the frozen construction of a luxury residential building and fear of dismissal at their own request. Under my feet I had a blue deck, and hence, with a blue deck, everything seemed as easy as the birch juice with a black t-shirt. Therefore, I lay down on the deck, covered with an old blanket and instantly fell asleep.