The trouble with using experience as a guide is that the final exam often comes first and then the lesson.
Have you ever been menaced by Russian Gypsy women? No? The same can’t be said of me, I am afraid.
One encounters all sorts of interesting folks on the Mongol Rally, the 10,000-mile road trip that my co-driver, Steve Priovolos, and I have undertaken. We left July 14 from Britain; we hope to make it to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, in about five weeks. In doing so, we will, we hope, be able to donate one book (to FirstBook.org) for every mile we travel; if we make 10,000 miles--and we are determined to do so--we donate 10,000 books that to go underprivileged children.
A few hours after we crossed into Russia from Ukraine on Tuesday, I stopped at a crossing as the train screeched by. Three women started harassing people for money. When it was my turn, I was polite and told them I had no money. Eventually they got the message and left me alone.
As they went to a car in front of me I made the fateful mistake of taking a picture of them. Steve tried to warn me of the perils of clandestine picture-taking. My first mistake was to ignore him. My second mistake was not to shut the window when they saw me. They swarmed around the car and started screaming. I couldn’t understand a word, but I could understand they were agitated.