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Me moaning about teaching English in Russia
Freddy gets hassled by traffic cops
Not surprising really, but just try driving to work through St. Petersburg on a football Saturday with DPS (road police) on every corner.
Stopped twice, though fortunately neither time did they look closely enough to see that I had no MOT. Luckily I have enough documents, all in English, to totally confuse them.
Hint for dealing with DPS: be disarmingly pleasant. Smile, make a joke of the fact that you're always being stopped and don't get nasty when they take the mickey out of your rustbucket.
Engage them in friendly conversation, ask some advice (even just directions to where you're going, whether you know the road or not) and hope that they forget about any documents that may be missing.
It's a funny thing, but I've found DPS guys in the city to be mostly fairly personable. They're probably used to being hated and despised, so being nice to them seems to really catch them off guard. Don't be too nice, of course - they might think you're up to something. Asking advice appeals to their ego and makes them feel important.
Of course, being stopped regularly can make it a bit of a pain crossing the city on your way to work. Other ways to avoid being stopped when the DPS are on the prowl is to stay in a line of vehicles, preferably in the outside lane. Aim to keep a car beside you. Don't make eye contact, but if you do see that they flag you down, stop and pull over as carefully as you can.
You don't have to get out of your car, but it's more polite to do so. If it's bad weather, invite the DPS officer to sit in your car. Be polite and innocent, but don't overdo it. I
f he points out a problem, don't argue - again, ask him what to do about it. At worst, he'll write out a 'protocol' if you've committed an offence, or he'll ask for some money to put in his back pocket.
In any case, stay calm- if he sees that you're not particularly flustered, he may decide that it's not worth trying to extract a bribe from you, and may advise you how to rectify the situation (if it's a document problem).
Writing out tickets for foreigners can be more complicated than for locals, as in some cases they are not processed in Russia but in the driver's home country.
Don't see this as a licence to break the rules- they're there for your safety. Russian roads are horrific, the accident statistics speak for themselves. Drive safely, folks.
There was a Scotsman, an Englishman, two Finnish Americans, two Americans and two Russians, all sitting in a submarine drinking beer...
No, not the beginning of a politically-incorrect joke, but rather the start of a manic weekend of late nights and hilarity.
Mad Tim came over to St. Pete's for another visit, this time accompanied by a band of crazy friends. Fun and laughter and shouts of 'per-rkele' were heard in bars across the city.
More to come when I get the pictures..!