Hitchhiking in Kazakhstan in winter

On the 22nd of December, which was the shortest day of the year, I hitch-hiked from Karaganda to Almaty.

The whole journey was just one thousand kilometres.


Somewhere on the road

This was my first hitch-hiking trip in Kazakhstan in winter.

Previously, I had hitch-hiked in winter in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, but those countries are warmer.

I had also hitch-hiked in the Tomsk region of Russia, where it was minus 30 °C, but that region rarely has strong winds, so it is not difficult to travel, provided that you have suitable clothes.

Kazakhstan is notorious for Burans, icy roads, and scary temperatures, so I felt a little uneasy before my journey.

But in the morning when I started, it was only about minus 17 °C.

The weather was pleasant and calm during the whole day. There was almost no ice on the road.


My backpack and my shadow

Two thirds of the distance was covered after the sunset.

It was easy. I would say, too easy for this time of the year in this part of the planet.

It looks like God decided to provide so much care for me this time, that I didn’t have a chance to experience any terrible adventures.

Maybe next time? 🙂

Published in: on 23/12/2015 at 16:55  Comments (1)  

Hitch-hiking in the USA can be dangerous if you are a robot

Every hitch-hiker knows that the USA is not the easiest country for hitch-hiking.

It can even be dangerous if you are a robot.

Recently, hitchBOT, a Canadian hitch-hiking robot was vandalized beyond repair in Philadelphia.

Earlier, the robot performed successful travels in Canada and Germany.

In Canada, the robot covered more than 10,000 kilometres within 21 days, having a lot of fun and adventures on his way, including attending a wedding and meeting some of Canada’s First Nations.

In the USA, however, within two weeks the robot managed to travel only 300 miles.

For some strange reason, Americans rarely give rides not only to human hitch-hikers but also to robots.

Finally, poor hitchBOT fell victim to anti-robotism. Or, maybe, anti-hitch-hiking-ism? Or anti-robot-hitch-hiking-ism?

I really wonder why those people killed such a wonderful and harmless creature.

Some extracts from the comments about the accident on the hitchBOT’s facebook page:

Wow. All the way across Canada, toured through parts of Europe, and only managed two weeks in the US before being vandalized.


I, too, am a Canadian who was attacked while visiting Philadelphia – mugged by 2 huge men and a girl. hitchBOT, you were such a gentle little soul with such a big heart and we will always love you and be so very proud of you here in Canada. You have brought much happiness to the world and may God bless you for your many acts of human kindness …


Human beings really just make me shake my head sometimes…


Come to New Zealand when you are better hitchBOT. We would love to see you here.


So sad. I hate being pessimistic, but as soon as I heard you were going to the States I had a feeling that something like this would happen. Get well soon Hitchbot.


hitchBot, You were born out of Humanity, You grew and learned when you traveled, Many you met, Many you touch the hearts of, You were not created to intimidate but to learn, Learn about the world that created you, so many hearts you touched, so many hearts you touched, a New journey you began, In the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, Never believing a Country who thought like that would do you harm, Travels took you through areas where our Country was founded, fought and died for, Travels took you through some good, some bad places, Never were you a threat, then, One fateful day a Kind Person dropped you off where Our Countries founding Fathers signed our Countries Declaration to be a Free Nation, so much Blood spilled to be Free, to be Free from the Rule of Kings, A place once in the Middle of a Civil War, Brother against Brother, blood spilled for what, Now, it’s sort of Ironic that this location, the Birth of our Nation, The City known as The City of Brotherly Love, Became the place of your Demise, Your Death was not in vein, No no, For we “Humans” in this Nation who believe we are mostly a peaceful people, have seen the TRUTH, You showed US we have a long way to go, A long way to go before we do not assault the defenseless, the innocent, the ones who REALLY need our help to get around, You showed US how much we feel for the helpless, Your Death is proof of what we can do for OUR own Species if we choose to, Your SOUL was our HOPE and ability to CARE, Your SOUL was the KINDNESS in Humanity, although only a machine Your SOUL was that of GOOD People, the Death of Your SOUL was the EVIL that Lurks in ALL of Humanity, Your Death reminded US that although we ALL as Humans have this thing inside of US – Not All of US, just a few choose to let it out…………..

… etc — thousands of comments

Published in: on 04/08/2015 at 00:14  Comments (1)  

Q signals and CW abbreviations for hitch-hikers

I think that some of the Q signals are applicable to communications in hitch-hiking trips.

They will allow you to squeeze more information into a single SMS or a tweet while you are on the road.

The comprehensive listing of Q signals can be found here: link

Q signals for hitch-hikers

Q-signal Question ? Answer, advise, or order
QAF Will you advise me when you are at (place)? I am at (place).
QAM What is the latest available meteorological observation for (place)? Meteorological obs for (place) at (hours) is as follows
QBA What is the horizontal visibility at (place)? The horizontal visibility at (place) at …hours is…
QDB Have you sent message… to …? I have sent message … to …
QFA What is the meteorological forecast for … for the period … hours until … hours? The meteorological forecast for … for the period … hours until … hours is …
QFP Will you give me the latest information concerning … facility at … (place)? The latest information concerning … facility at … (place) is as follows …
QMX What is the air temperature at … (position or zone) at … (hours) at the … (figures and units) height above … (datum)? At … (position or zone) at … (hours) the air temperature is … (degrees and units) at … (figures and units) height above … (datum).
QNY What is the present weather and the intensity thereof at … (place, position or zone)? The present weather and intensity thereof at … (place, position or zone) at … (hours) is … (duststorm, sandstorm, rain, snow, hail, thunderstorm, etc.).
QRB How far approximately are you from my station? The approximate distance between our stations is … nautical miles (or kilometers).
QRD Where are you bound and where are you from? I am bound for … from …
QRE What is your estimated time of arrival at … (place)? My estimated time of arrival at … (place) is … (hours)
QRF Are you returning to … (place)? I am returning to … (place) or Return to … (place)
QRL Are you busy? I am busy. (or I am busy with … ) Please do not interfere.
QRT Shall I stop sending? Stop sending
QRU Have you anything for me? I have nothing for you
QRV Are you ready? I am ready.
QRX When will you call me again? I will call you again at … (hours)
QRZ Who is calling me? You are being called by …
QSL Can you acknowledge receipt? I am acknowledging receipt.
QSM Shall I repeat the last message which I sent you, or some previous message? Repeat the last message which you sent me (or messages …).
QTC How many messages have you to send? I have … messages for you (or for …).
QTH What is your position in latitude and longitude (or according to any other indication)? My position is … latitude…longitude
QTJ What is your speed? My speed is …knots (or miles per hour)
QTN At what time did you depart from… (place)? I departed from …(place) at … (hours)
QTR What is the correct time? The correct time is … hours
QUA Have you news of … (call sign)? Here is news of …(call sign).
QUD Have you received the urgency signal sent by …? I have received the urgency signal sent by … at … hours
QUF Have you received the distress signal sent by …? I have received the distress signal sent by … at … hours

Hitch-hikers may also find the following CW abbreviations useful:

ABT — About
ADEE — Addressee
ADR — Address
ADS — Address
AGN — Again
ANS — Answer

BCNU — Be seeing you
BD — Bad
BTH — Both
BTR — Better
BTW — By The Way
B4 — Before

C — Yes, Correct
CFM — Confirm; I confirm
CL — I am closing my station (switching off my phone)
CLD — Called
CLG — Calling
CMG — Coming
CNT — Can’t
CONDX — Conditions
CPI — Copy
CU — See You
CUAGN — See You Again
CUD — Could
CUL — See You later
CUM — Come
CUZ — Because

DA — Day
DE — From, This Is
DIFF — Difference
DLD — Delivered
DLVD — Delivered
DN — Down
DR — Dear
DSW — Russian CW abbreviation for goodbye.
DWN — Down
DX — Distance

ES — And
ENUF — Enough
EU — Europe
EVE — Evening

FB — Fine Business, excellent
FONE — Phone

GA — Go ahead; Good Afternoon
GB — Good bye, God Bless
GD — Good, Good Day
GE — Good Evening
GESS — Guess
GG — Going
GLD — Glad
GM — Good morning
GN — Good night
GUD — Good
GV — Give
GVG — Giving

HPE — Hope
HR — Here; Hear, Hour
HRD — Heard
HRS — Hours
HRD — Heard
HV — Have
HVG — Having
HVY — Heavy
HW — How

LNG — Long
LTR — Later; letter
LV — Leave
LVG — Leaving

MNI — Many
MOM — Moment
MSG — Message

N — No, Negative, Incorrect, No More
ND — Nothing Doing
NM — No more

PSE — Please

R — Received as transmitted
RCD — Received
ROTFL — Rolling on the floor laughing

SA — Say
SED — Said
SHUD — Should
SIG — Signature; Signal
SN — Soon
SRI — Sorry
SUM — Some

TEMP — Temperature
TFC — Traffic
TIA — Thanks In Advance
TMW — Tomorrow
TKS — Thanks
TNX — Thanks
TTS — That is
TU — Thank you
TXT — Text

U — You
UFB — Ultra Fine Business
UR — Your; You’re
URS — Yours

VE — Understood (VE)
VFB — Very fine business
VY — Very

WID — With
WKD — Worked
WKG — Working
WL — Well; Will
WRD — Word
WRK — Work
WUD — Would
WW — Would
WX — Weather

XMAS — Christmas
XYL — Wife

YF — Wife
YL — Young lady
YR — Year
Z — Zulu Time

30 — I have no more to send
33 — Fondest Regards
55 — Best Success
73 — Best Regards
88 — Love and kisses

Example conversation

gd qth qtj qrd qny hw

(Good Day! Where are you? Are you going in a car or standing by the road? I hope you are in car. So, where is the driver going to and where is he coming from? Are you going fast? How is the weather? Is everything OK?)

fb tnx qth 13rus m5 450 to msk qrd 62 saratov qtj tm 64 qny gd qre msk eve hw

(I am fine, thanks! I am in Mordovia, Russia, on the M5 road, 450 km to Moscow. Travelling inside a time machine with the registration plate for Saratov Oblast. The driver is going from Saratov to some small place in Ryazan Oblast. The weather is good. I expect to arrive at Moscow tonight. How are you?)


Instead of legthy names of regions, the message contains the numbers that appear on the vehicle registration plates for those regions.

13 — Mordovia, 62 — Ryazan Oblast, 64 — Saratov Oblast (vehicle registration plates of Russia: link).

I used the abbreviation tm for a time machine. It was not in the CW list but I think it would be useful to add abbreviations for words and phrases specific to hitch-hiking. You are welcome to suggest more of them in comments to this post.

A time machine is a vehicle that is going very fast (usually exceeding the speed limit).

Time travel in hitch-hiking is when the driver does not pick you up, but soon regrets about it and starts thinking “I should have picked up this guy. If I could travel back in time to that moment when I was passing him I would certainly stop for him.”

Then, a few minutes or hours later he sees you again standing on the road.

His dream came true. He has travelled back in time relative to you. Now he has another chance to give you a ride.

Or, according to the theory of relativity, you have travelled forward in time to his future and now appeared to him again.

This happened because you stopped a “time machine”, a vehicle that goes very fast — much faster than all those who saw you standing by the road but didn’t pick you up.

73 gb es safe travells es mni tm to u!

Published in: on 04/01/2014 at 03:47  Leave a Comment