[Original post by Elliot Mogerman – Transferred from yahoogroups.com]
So laundry in the dryer and we are wondering what to do for dinner. Three of the hostel employees expressed interest in going for a ride. So we accomodate, with thanks from management, and take them for a quick ride. We take the young guy out for a quick spin and after he takes some pictures he returns to work with a newfound energy. In return the other two want to show us around the city. We accomodate and of course it starts raining heavy and we get soaked.
Like accupuncture the rain drops hit my face. No helmets because we didn’t think the journey would take us far. During the trip we are flagged down by Russian police. Now I think if we did not have translators with us we could have really gotten out of paying a bribe as time is on our side. Since we were not wearing helmets the cops said they had to tow our bikes and fine us 500 rubles per person. Two tow trucks pull up and the drivers stand comfortably next to them. The motorcycle police took our papers, but I refused to give them my passport, however, they had other important documents so we couldn’t go anywhere. Mike released all his papers to the cop as requested. Next time we will hold on to the items and just let them look. One cop gave me a hard time about my international license which is $15 at AAA. He even said it’s crap and doesn’t mean anything but tried to say because my license number wasn’t on it this is very bad and I should pay. I speak with him going through the instructions in russian showing it was not required, if it’s a bullshit document why is he making a big deal out of it, and he leaves after 20 minutes of arguing. Then after about an hour in the rain three of the cops leave. The other three stay threating to take our bikes. We would have stayed and kept talking but the employees of the Hostel were cold and we negotiated. The cops wanted $1,000 us dollars. haha Then went down to 10,000 rubles to 5,000 rubles. We finally gave them 2000 and went to dinner to warm up and get out of the rain. Although the officer told us to wait until the rain stops before we leave, there was no indication it would ever slow down. Actually, it did about 20 minutes laater and we were off. We had a few shots of vodka to get over our first bribe, ate a little food, bid farewell to our nice hosts, and went to bed. Mike went sight seeing in Moscow today and I stayed in bed as I feel I’m getting sick with a sore throat. Went to the store and bought some great juice mixes. One was pineapple-apple-orange and the other is pineapple-kiwi-orange-and mistery fruit. While I’m in the room, the receptionist comes in with a man saying I have a guest. Paul from St Petersburg invited his friend Sergei in Moscow, to come by and meet us. Sergei rides a 1200s bmw sport bike. He invites Mike and myself to dinner later and I accept on our behalf. This is a really nice gesture to see more of Moscow. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better and we will have a sunny day for our ride to Volograd. It is a very far ride so we will start early, go as far as possible, maybe make it, or camp when we are tired.