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Mongol Rally, Day 7: Next stop in Ukraine? Trouble

July 20, 2012|By Leon Logothetis

The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.

--Dudley Moore

Lightning doesn’t strike twice, although if you're in Ukraine it just might.

You'd think I'd learned my lesson after Thursday's near-miss with a Ukranian prison cell. (I wonder what my friend the Ukranian policeman is doing with my 50 euro fine.)

From this encounter, I learned again that speeding is bad. This is a good thing to know on a 10,000-mile road trip called the Mongol Rally that started Saturday in Britain and ends in about five weeks at Ulan Bator, Mongolia.  Speeding also happens to be a crime in most countries, except maybe Germany where we have the autobahn. After getting a ticket on Thursday, surely I would behave myself on Friday. I didn’t.

This time, however, I had a plan. As I was driving (not that much over the limit, so I did learn something), a policeman waved at me to stop. Earlier in the day I had seen another car fail to stop and continue driving. The police didn’t follow. So I kept on driving and evaded capture by a second Ukrainian policeman. Luckily he didn’t give chase and I finally decided that it was time to slow down.

As retribution, I suspect, for not stopping, I may be stopping for longer than I like. The loud sound that hampered my journey a few days ago came back with a vengeance -- only now it is "sounds," plural, one rattling, one clanking, both under the car, both worrisome. The car limped into Kiev. 

On Saturday morning, instead of sipping coffee and reading the paper, I'll have to find an auto mechanic because I can't continue the rally. The original plan was to visit Chernobyl. That will have to wait.

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