Comment: 10 years ago I was walking with an Eastern European girl in

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10 years ago I was walking with an Eastern European girl in

Ukraine. It was my first trip to that country. We approached a man wearing a dark coat - and the girl whispered to me urgently "See that man up there? When we walk past him, don't speak English, don't look him in the eye; in fact don't look at him at all."

I followed her advice and did just as she said as we walked past him. When we were a safe distance away I asked her "Who was that guy? Was he like local Russian mafia or something?"

She laughed and said "No. It was a police officer and if he had heard you speak English he would have demanded your documents, required a bribe and maybe ever would have kept your passport."

I laughed this time and said "I can't believe this. In MY country police officers are friendly. They are the people you go to for HELP. You don't fear them. They are the good guys."

She said "Not here."

We may not be quite at the level of corruption that Ukraine is. But we are certainly getting there. What a difference ten years makes.