Leaving the economic turmoil of Greece behind, Stergios Gogos initially set off to discover the world. By the tip of Africa he’d found much more than he’d bargained for.
RICE AND DIRT | OUR FIRST BOOK!
Follow Stergios and his PX200 Vespa scooter across deserts, mountains, tropical beaches, forests and savannas. Envisage breathing the air of the countries he visited; taste the food, share his concerns, fall repeatedly and get back up from the mud in the Congo, enjoy both solitude and the company of others. But above all, get to know the people that would change his life immeasurably; and meet one in particular. This is a story of physical, emotional and mechanical challenges, of selfevaluation and blossoming relationships.
Roaming the roads of Africa through the unpretentious writing style of Stergios and Alexandra, we are led to a place much deeper than any travelogue could take us. This book manages to steer clear of literary travel classifications and thrills with its liveliness, eloquence and welcome candour.
“Funny, perceptive, revealing and well written. Oh, all right then, it’s a very good book.”
– Ted Simon author of Jupiter’s Travels
“A story that spells out the importance of packing a smile; highly recommended.”
– Overland Magazine
“The lilting and uplifting text transports you into Africa’s heady blend of colour, challenge and corruption. Infused with mischievous wit and enlightening observation, Rice & Dirt might just make you want to point a Vespa towards sub-Sahara.”
– Martin ‘Sticky’ Round, scooterlab.uk
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Shuvvy Press Ltd (August 2018)
Translated from the original Greek: Katerina Soumani
Dimensions: 13.5 x 21.5 x 1.5 cm
Average Customer Rating
A Perfect Present for Yourself
Initially, I saw the videos. Friendly, happy, sometimes Goofy, but always adorable. Then I learned about the book. Member of a Vespa Club myself, could not resist the temptation. And Thanks God, I read it. With 10€ (Abt 11$) the cost was pretty small. The stories, simply travel you through the lands of Black Continent. Simply a book that I could not leave from my hands. You could feel the frustration of the multiple heroes of the narration, in order to succeed their every time tasks. You could feel the laziness at Congo, the friendship at Burkina Faso, the slippery kindness at Morocco, the boiling anxiety at Nigeria. The roads of Namibia, leave you with dust and the smells of S. Africa, were tangible. A MUST HAVE book for everyone who loves the travels, who still dreams of endless roads and (as Capt. Jack Sparrow would say) “That Horizon”…
I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with Rice & Dirt
There has always been a tiny contingent of adventurous riders who choose the most unlikely motorbikes to take to the most unlikely locations. Case in point, imagine riding a vintage two-stroke Vespa through the entirety of Africa. And, better yet, completely ignoring the “correct” riding seasons along the route. If you’re just curious, or perhaps crazy enough to consider doing something similar, you’ll enjoy Rice & Dirt. Stergios, who met Alexandra later along his journey, piloted the ancient scooter across 17 African countries, going from north to south, overlanding terrain where even well-equipped adventure bikes would have difficulties. The story is quite informative in the details of minimalist life on African roads, survival in general, and numerous cultural tips – many of which surprised the heck out of me. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with Rice & Dirt. It’s one heck of a tale that illustrates how we adapt and grow when flung into environments in which we’re not only inexperienced, but have no clue about what we’re getting into. It’s also a tale about why it’s often wise to trade our silly ideas about prediction and planning for serendipity, and how that’s so inextricably linked with the true meaning of adventure. There’s a lot to like in this book, especially considering how completely underfunded Stergios was when he set off to follow his heart. We’re reminded once again that over-preparedness can be a detriment to just getting out there. And, that whatever bike you have is all you need to pull off a real adventure. There can’t be more than a couple of Vespas or scooters of any type that have made a similar journey. Indeed, this may be the only one. It’s definitely a twist on what would already be quite a feat on a “normal” motorcycle. My hat is off to these two. You can read more about Alexandra and Stergios and their current journey through South America on ADVMoto’s website.
In its 320 pages Rice & Dirt takes you around Africa with Stergios Gogos, a Greek, who set out alone, having sold everything he owned, in what was a sad time for his country, caught in the grip of a recession that seemed to leave little hope. Stergios faced deserts, mountains, forests, savannahs and terrible roads where he fell dozens of times … riding a vehicle with 10″ wheels! In the book he questions some common myths, such as “areas to be avoided” and “safe places”, often finding the latter to be the more dangerous. The book stops at the African borders but their journey went on for another year in South America (but this is another story and probably another book). RICE & DIRT uses a style of writing that is no way pretentious and at the same time is far from the traditional day by day diary.
The various moods (the silences, the challenges, the loneliness, the worries, the enthusiasm of a date) are expressed in a most eloquent way, that only those who travel alone can understand.
Many of the reviews found on the net consider it worthy of a place on the shelf amongst your favourite books…. perhaps alongside one of the travel volumes of the never forgotten “Vespa rider” Giorgio Bettinelli.
I enjoyed your book very much
A well written account full of nicely described observations of life, humanity and the highs and lows of being on the road. You have an admirable ethos. Well done for breaking free from the constraints and fear that is servitude to social convention. Keep those wheels turning.
Buy it. You will not be disappointed.
There are few people who choose a scooter to cross Africa, even fewer who do it on a 2 stroke Vespa and less than the number of fingers I’m holding up who write about it. So when I saw ‘Rice and Dirt’ by Stergios and Alexandra pop up in the SLUK shop earlier this year I had to press the buy button. I have not been disappointed. The style is fluid, descriptive, informative and above all laced with good humour. When he finds himself in the most dire circumstances running out of petrol in the desert, burnt out clutches, locals approaching him out of the jungle with machete in hand, Stergios paints a word picture that puts the reader at the heart of the unfolding drama. Its fast moving (well as fast as a PX200 can be!) entertaining and very funny. Buy it – you will not be disappointed.