Safe travels

Taking the high road out of corruption.

Some months ago, I was traveling with my husband in Russia, where we had been told corruption was rife. Even the locals had warned us to beware. We had driven nearly 25,000 kilometers, the major part in Russia, and to this point we had not experienced any such thing. However, on this particular day, we were stopped and directed by a policeman to pull in behind a group of other vehicles.

Since we were in a country where English is rarely spoken, we appeared to be at a distinct disadvantage. My husband was ordered from the car and directed to present himself in a building where other car owners were also being sent. Up till now, all our contact with the police had been very friendly. We had been routinely stopped about four times a day while driving, but we had never experienced anything quite like this.

When traveling in a foreign country, we've always made a point of being particularly mindful of traffic regulations, so we knew we had not contravened any rules. To say that the situation we were now in was intimidating and very threatening was an understatement. We couldn't afford delay in our travels, because of visa restrictions, and from the way things were looking, detention seemed possible. To add to all this, I was ordered very distinctly, to stay in the vehicle and not get out.

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June 21, 2010

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