Let me start with a disclaimer: Bribery is bad, really bad. In fact, it should only ever be used with small children. The trouble is, when you sometimes operate in areas that have a morally ambiguous business environment combined with a weaponised bureaucracy, the requests can get pretty persistent and persuasive.
Having had to get past military roadblocks, petty bureaucrats and dodgy customs officials in various somewhat remote countries, often carrying stuff they don’t want me to take through (ranging from people to, in one memorable instance, high explosives), I’ve learnt that handing over money can sometimes be circumvented by charm, talking about football (or whatever sport they are most passionate about) or mentioning your close personal relationship with their boss. However, if all else fails there is one thing, more highly prized than money, that will always open doors and persuade bewhiskered military types to look the other way: the little blue passport, Viagra.
If there is one thing that your average machismo-ridden border sadist wants more than the ability to buy the expensive kind of vodka, it is the mythical status that they believe Viagra can supply. They can always get money from the next poor sap, but only you can turn them into a love god. In short, Viagra opens doors and should always be part of your travelling kit. Moreover, today I find out that it can improve physical performance at altitude. Truly, is there anything that little blue pill can’t do?