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    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    Rocking in Niger

    Quick update here folks from Niamey, Niger. I just recorded

    two of Niger's most exciting and soulful musicians at the

    Grand Hotel on the Niger river at sunset--huge success, great

    quality recording and video, and we all had a

    blast. The artists were very happy to hear a studio quality recording of

    themselves as they simply don't have real good studios here

    and they are a fortune for them. A triple win--win for them,

    win for you future viewers of the show, and win for me who

    hopes to make a living from all this hard work :)

    I said goodbye to my hosts for one week Sascha and Judith and

    decided to give them some space while I continue my

    fundraising campaign from Niger with a goal to raise enough

    cash this year to take me all the way to 2009 in N. America.

    I'm working my tail off--12-15 hours a day on the net,

    PowerPoint proposals going out to sponsors, website,

    newsletters, fundraising party, video editing/screening

    project, filming, planning, etc. But it's all flowing from

    within and a power greater than me is driving me so it's not

    really work, just life.

    My plan is to be riding in next 48 hours or so with all the

    wheels turning and balls up in the air so I can catch them

    when I get to Mali, readjust, and toss more up till Burkina

    Faso then Ghana then USA for the real show. Exciting times


    The next posting will be a bit more culturally focused, for

    now, this is my life--gotta take care of the adminstration to

    make this show go on to the end!

    Big love to ya all from Niger!


    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    Niamey, Niger:

    I left my West Africa nest and base camp of Cotonou, Benin last Saturday after a festive last day of surfing and a late night on the town with my new friends at on a 4AM bus, just a few short days before my visa would expire. I spent almost a month preparing and straegizing for the expedition to Morocco and it was finally time to move on.

    I had 3 seats in a row on the bus all to myself and crashed out like a baby till 10AM! There was ho sweat or any charges for the bike, thanks to the angel Elizabeth who happened to be on the bus with me and able to help communicate with the bus company owners as they tried to extort funds for carrying my bike and load. It was a long, 17 hour ride, but all good.

    I'm now being hosted again in a sweet pad with another local Ex Pat worker Sascha and his Swiss lady Judith who work with the UN and the EC and they are taking fine care of me indeed. I'm getting spoiled with this new discovery of Ex Pats and their massive houses, cars and luxurious lifestyles. But right now it's exactly what I need to focus and get everything ready--fixing up the production equipment of 4 video cameras, the bike, trailer, bags, chargers, batteries, tripods and mounts, etc. Minus the fact that my helmet camera decided to die yesterday and I received the wrong size disc brake rotor, everything is going pretty smooth. I'm also using this time to finish my sponsorship renewal proposals to gear up funds for 2008 in Europe.

    I spent the last few days as well lining up some good music for the show. Just google Koudede from Niger—Agedez, Niger. He's a cool cat performing traditional Touareg music from North Niger. I met just sniffing around the cultural centers and hacking away at my French, which is getting better every day. Also just added a female artist singing modern-traditional pop will join the private concert overlooking the sunset on the Niger River. As soon as I solve a few issues with my gear and record a concert here in the capital, I'll be on the road again, following the Niger river, passing out Malaria meds to very vulnerable villages and connecting with my world once again on two wheels.

    Over and out from Niamey, Niger!

    Famous Touareg Artist Koudede

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Grounded in Benin....

    So I received one package of goods from USA--new Panasonic SD1 Hi Def camera, SRAM bike parts, Assos gloves, mics and other stuff. But still waiting on another shipment of wide angle lens and final bits n pieces. The big bonus here is that I'm at a totally pimpin pad of a cool French-Dutch cat named Hugo who is treating me like royalty! The late shipment is a blessing in disguise as I've been able to use this time to contact sponsors about funding Europe and the Americas, plan, regroup and reflect. The pool, WIFI connection, private cook and cool people are making this admin stop a winner. And I start French lessons tomorrow, so diving in there too.

    All good here in Benin! Off to Niger soon...

    Jamie :)

    Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Update from the Benin Basecamp, West Africa

    So I’m chillin in a massive house of a French/Dutch guy named Hugo who, along with his buddy Mathieu, are hosting me here in Cotonou, Benin while I prepare for the expedition to Morocco. Preparation, as of now, means mom sending out tons of new equipment for the bike, camera gear and personal items while planning the 10-country route north. The route has changed at least 3 times since I’ve been here but I think I’ve nailed down a sweet trip that will keep me and my camera gear from suffering from Harmattan Winds (info at and still allow me to catch some amazing surf during the peak season of surfing the Ivory coast. More to come, but the latest route and schedule is at It is more than likely to change again but if anyone wants to come out and pedal that is about how I’ll be rockin the rest of Africa!

    So I’m picking up French pretty fast—not as fast as I thought, it is tougher than I imagined. But it’s a nice challenge. Needless to say, it sometimes leaves me drained from mental exhaustion. But with all the great people I’m meeting, both locals and ex pats working out here, I feel very at home and it’s hard to complain. Most of my crew here are surfers and I have a board, transport with the guys, and plenty of warm water waves to play on. The winds are onshore so the waves are pretty sloppy, but we’re managing to have some fun. I am missing home quite a bit—it’s been 9 months without a visit and that’s a long stretch for the kid! But I’m growing tons and the good times are far outweighing the bad.

    I should be on the road in just over a week or so and am very excited about the exciting expedition ahead indeed. I’m also a bit scared as it is tough traveling in these parts. But I know in my heart it will all work out perfect. Benin is a fascinating country and I highly recommend a visit to this region. I’ll get you a far more detailed update when I get moving out of the capital. But it’s got great people, culture, music, food and nature so plenty to keep you stoked!

    Over and out from Cotonou, Benin! Catchya on the road soon!