Leaving Vladivostok this morning we ended up on the crazy busy, gridlocked M60. They’re was no way I was sitting in that again, so I started to filter through. Ken and Chip were with me so I had to keep an eye behind as well as in front – I didn’t want to loose them. I’d stopped for a narrow gap after changing lanes, when I heard a crunch followed by “shit!”.
I looked behind and both bikes were upright, but Chip had caught someone’s bumper with a pannier and took the end cap off. Or the other way round. (He hit the front of the car with the back of his bike, how does that work?). Anyway, a big fat angry Russian appears shouting and waving. Chip had moved his bike, which you’re not supposed to do in an accident in Russia – and that’s what he seemed most upset about.
Chip and Ken pointed to me as their translator, so the guy comes over to shout at me. I calmed him down we did had a quick chat. You have to call the cops in a smash, but eventually I persuaded him not to if we paid for the damage – just as a passing cop car pulled up! Then there was trouble!
Actually there wasn’t at all. At no point did I ever feel threatened, the police guy’s expression when he saw what was going on said it all. Basically, ‘why don’t you all just F off, it’s not worth the paperwork’. He asked if Chip spoke Russian, I said no and that was it – he was ready to walk off.
Dima (the angry fat Russian) had called his garage and said it would be 200 dollars. That’s over 7000 Rubles. I said “That’s 6000 Rubles, OK?”. Chip paid and that was that. I should have said it was 4000. Hindsight eh?
I didn’t take any pictures at the time, which I really regret now – but you never know how that’ll tip things, and at the time it didn’t seem appropriate. It was a great start to the day (well maybe not for Chip), but it left me feeling much more positive about my (or rather our) ability to get out of any situation.
If Dima wants that money laundered, this fly poster at our apartment seems to be advertising how to do that.
Exciting start to Russia! Glad everyone was ok. Those Russian classes are already paying off!