"The captain had lost control of his spittle, which landed on my face as he spoke.
He was also dribbling a bit. Plainclothes-man was trying to shout over the captain
while the younger policeman just sat there smiling drunkenly, sporadically pointing
at his lapel and saying 'Politsia'. I was mostly silent now as opening my mouth would
have resulted in a stream of saliva down my throat, and I didn't feel our friendship
had reached that level yet."
Travelling to any country involves some contact with representatives of the government,
be they police, army or immigration officers. Usually these officials are friendly
and helpful but occasionally don't act as expected.
Oran Burke has encountered a few too many of the latter type, from a cash-loving
Uzbek doctor to a casually dressed Bolivian border guard. His journeys have taken
him through remote desert checkpoints and busy land crossings, coming into contact
with an assorted bunch of people who've both helped and hindered his passage. These
meetings regularly gave an insight into the bureaucratic workings of a country but,
above all, taught him to sit back when a drunken Kyrgyz policeman speaks.