Vacha is about 100 kilometers from Nizhny Novgorod, and you can either go by bus, taxi-van or a regular taxi. On this particular trip we decided to go by taxi as the fares are negotiable and we were able to negotiate a reasonable price.
Our taxi was a ten year old Lada, a Russian car which is neither pretty nor dependable. Our driver, a fireman who moonlights as a taxi driver was pleased to have Americans riding in his car. Taxi drivers in Russia are notoriously wild drivers. Ours was no exception. Usually when riding in a taxi Karen and I just lean back in the seats and close our eyes!
The road to Vacha is a two lane highway with lots of hills and curves. Once we left the city our driver began to drive as fast as possible. As with most Russian drivers, he would get right on top of the bumper of the car in front of him, alternately riding the brake and the gas pedal as he sought an opportunity to pass. At one point we where on a long hill going up and then around a curve. There were nearly twenty cars and trucks in front of us and that is when our driver decided to pass everyone! He jams the accelerator to the floor and jerks the car into the other lane. We begin to pass a few cars and then we see approaching traffic. Our driver tries to coax more speed out of the Lada as the oncoming cars approach, and then as he sees we will never make it he forces himself back into the line of traffic he tried to pass.
This occurred about ten times on the trip. By the time we arrived in Vacha we were pretty well mentally exhausted. For the return trip home the next week we took a local bus. The bus was much slower, but we felt safer and could relax more on the long ride home.