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One Steppe Beyond: Across Russia in a VW…
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One Steppe Beyond: Across Russia in a VW Camper

by Thom Wheeler

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Thom Wheeler and Jo set off in a VW bay window called Max to Estonia. There they hear about the possibility of work in Vladivostok and set off across Russia.
Thom's account is honest and interesting. His honest approach means that we are told when his relationship with Jo is tested and when they are naive in their dealings with Russians. This naivety and sense of adventure gets them through and they enjoy the kindness of strangers many times. The book doesn't give lots of details about shopping, banking or driving in Russia. He tells us when the roads run out and they have to take the train and when they can't access any currency. We hear about the problems getting a visa and crossing the border and the constant checking of papers. The narrative is interspersed with facts about a place. I couldn't help but admire their spirit, travelling across Russia in 1997 and the beauty of the landscape in many places came through the words. The book also manages to give some sense of the vastness of Russia and the spirit of the people. ( )
  Tifi | Mar 14, 2014 |
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"A chance job offer at a timber yard in Estonia gives Thom and his old pal Jo a taste for the unknown. So when Uncle Tony asks them to drive to Vladivostok for another job, they can't think of a good reason why not. The result is a classic caper across the former Soviet Union in Max, a rusty old VW camper. Knowing little of the language or the geography ahead, they embark on probably the longest commute ever, encountering corrupt officials, film star mechanics and over-friendly gangsters. Far off the tourist trail, they bear witness to the collapse of one nation and the birth of a new one during the free-for-all that was Russia in the nineties."--Publisher's description.… (more)

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