WE AND THE CAR
ON OKA IN 10 COUNTRIES
Close world. Our correspondent unexpectedly met on the street near the Frankfurt Salon an undeclared premiere - a battered Oka with native Moscow numbers.
I remembered the number, the rest was a matter of technology. And here in front of me is the name, address and telephone number of the owner of that car. However, meeting with him was not easy: Eduard Sharkov returned to Moscow only on New Year's Eve, having spent almost five (!) Months on a western tour. The more interesting was his story. However, for the conversation we needed … sign language interpreter: Edward the deaf and dumb.
That's what he told.
“This is not the first trip for me. Previously, I managed to see the world from the Daewoo Damas minibus, and now here’s the Oka of the Serpukhov assembly. I bought it in 1996 and managed to run into about 40, 000 kilometers. There were no major troubles with the car, and without any hesitation I decided on a long voyage. True, friends warned: they say your Oka will not stand up, you won’t find spare parts for it, it is slow-moving, etc., etc. I didn’t listen to them. by myself, I loaded three spare wheels on the roof, for the rest of the belongings I built home-made hinged luggage nickname on the back door and hit the road with a friend.
What happened along the way? Nothing special. Our mileage with Oka amounted to 21, 400 kilometers, and during this time only two problems arose: the hose with the Tosol became leaky and the “oil appetite” increased due to the oil seals. Moreover, on the way back, in Hungary, he did not calculate a little and crashed into a snowdrift on the side of the road. I had to weld a simple suspension part in a local service.
Did Oka cause interest? Not that word! Often, local drivers surrounded the car in a tight ring, shook their heads in surprise, and discussed something animatedly. Then more than once they offered a certain amount of money - apparently, in deference to the unusualness of our trip. By the way, it lasted so long, because I spent considerable time in Germany.
There is something like a colony of non-speaking emigrants from Russia. They provided us with housing, helped to find extra income. I am a cabinetmaker, I am engaged in woodcarving, inlaid. Although officially foreigners are forbidden to work abroad without permission, no one is against, for example, if I help someone repair furniture, an apartment … In general, it turned out that you can live, I even called my wife Lena from Moscow - let the world also see . Then we traveled together.
Road police? She is quite loyal. In the Czech Republic, however, they demanded to buy a "green card" (liability insurance - ed.). Well, the request is legitimate. Yes, there was an interesting case. They are not allowed to go to Germany without inspection, a “tuff” in their opinion. In addition, it turns out that according to environmental requirements, it is impossible for a gas tank plug to stick out from the outside, as on our Oka, there should be a metal hatch. Well, where did I get this “tuff”? I got the lobovychok of the Moscow traffic police for 2001, I give it to the policeman. He twirled it, twirled it, then sighed, pointed “ok” with his fingers and let it go in peace.
In general, the local police are very helpful and ready to help the confused driver. In difficult cases, we put a fragment of a map with a place of interest on the windshield, drove up to the picket of the traffic police, or just a traffic controller and caught his attention with a signal. We have never been denied assistance and a detailed explanation in sign language. By the way, they have sign language interpreters at the borders, but this is the problem. Our language consists of two parts: universal gestures that explain certain concepts (there are no difficulties), and gestures that correspond to individual letters. Here it is already difficult without knowledge of a foreign language.
Which police are the most picky? Yes, of course, Ukrainian DAI. This is not even picky. Something worse. On the way back, the first thing we were fined was ten dollars for the lack of a RUS sticker on the back. Yes, I know now, one must have one. But in the other nine countries, no one even paid attention to it! And then, from Kiev to Moscow they fined mercilessly: they all looked - a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, an exhaust … And our engine smokes because of the damned caps. Well, then, "come on, dollar!" Next time I will go there and back only through Belarus. Or ferry across Scandinavia. Will it be next time? Sure! I didn’t reach Spain-Portugal. I think one more cruise Oka will survive - the roads there are not nashenskie.
Crime? Oh yes, I had to meet him in Germany - they stole from my car … our Russian trunk. Maybe they’ll sell it to the museum? I had to buy another, you see it in the photo.
Anything funny? Yes, there were a lot of things. Well, at least the story with the autobahns may be useful to someone. The local drivers are not used to such low-speed vehicles - the inscription "Oka" does not tell them anything. Therefore, even in the far right lane they will catch up and, well, honk - come on, they say, faster, why are you crawling! Annoying, of course. What is there to do, how to be? I consulted with the guys. Still perplexed: the Germans are law-abiding people. The sign “70” hangs on, say, the rear window, which means that the driver has no right to go faster. Why - it doesn’t matter. Hung a sign. And for sure: they will drive up behind, look and immediately take to the left. Then they still waved out the window, all okay, they show.