What happens if you stop paying attention to prohibitions in Russia

I leave here a piece of the Lonely Planet's Lessons from the road: mistakes travel writers make (so you don't have to) - part I article. Because they tell about Russia there.

Pay close attention to the shortest phrases in a Lonely Planet guidebook. Advice like: don’t swim in the river. No photos. Watch your wallet. Those nuggets of travel wisdom are usually earned the hard way by a Lonely Planet author. We’re going to tell you the back stories behind some sage guidebook advice.

One warning though: don’t try this at home. These are mistakes professional Lonely Planet writers have made, so that you don’t have to.

No photos
When Lonely Planet author Simon Richmond says no photos, he means it.

While researching Lonely Planet’s Trans-Siberian Railway travel guide I left the train to stretch my legs at Illanskaya station, an early-20th-century red-brick complex with flower gardens so picturesque that I took a couple of shots with my camera. Within seconds I was strong-armed by three men into a building in the corner of the compound where, after thinking that I was being robbed, I was presented to security officers as a spy.

With seconds ticking down to my train’s departure I begged the guards to allow me to return to the train to retrieve my bags, including my computer, research notes and practically all my cash. But the train was already pulling out of the station and into Siberia.

After convincing the authorities that I was a travel writer rather than a spy, I eventually made it to Irkutsk with the help of several kind and sympathetic people. To my joy I discovered my belongings in the safekeeping of the police, having been passed on by the honest train conductor. As I ran down a checklist of my luggage, listing every item down to ‘seven pairs of dirty underwear,’ I found not one thing was missing.

‘This is the Russian way,’ said my Irkutsk guide. I was eternally grateful and humbled.

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