Many, many years ago (1983), I was In the Navy stationed onboard the USS Nimitz. We pulled into Livorno, Itally for a 3 day port call. % min after the anchor dropped an announcement came across the 1MC. The was a Soviet frigate also in port. If we were going ashore it had to be in civilian clothes. NO ONE would be allowed on the liberty launches in uniform. If we saw Soviet sailors we were to avoid them at all costs. Cross the street, turn and walk away, go around the next corner whatever it took to avoid the possibility of a fight that could cause an international incident.
So a couple buddies and I ventured into port to have a look around. ("Have a look around" was code for find a place to get whiskey) We did a little sight seeing and around noon walked into a nice looking restaurant for lunch. No sooner had we placed our, order but the waitress sat three other young men at the table next to us. They were wearing Soviet Naval Enlisted Uniforms. My buddies went full panic mode. "What do we do? They're sitting right there! The s#!t is gonna hit the fan, I know it!"
I said, "Calm down. Nothing bad is gonna happen." The sailors heard me. So I looked over at them and said, "Any of you speak English?" Two of them nodded, "Da. Da. You are Americans from Carrier? " "We are. Pull your table over here." They looked at each other and then got up and shoved their table up against ours. We ate. We drank. We talked about everything 20 yr old guys talk about. Girls, cars, motorcycles, music, and what life was like on our respective ships. We also learned that we tell the same jokes. No one asked for classified information and none was offered. Just 6 kids from opposite sides of the world having lunch, drinking wine and talking about guy stuff. For FOUR HOURS.
As we got up to leave, I remembered that I had a 50 cent piece in my pocket that I had been carrying as my "Good Luck" coin. I pulled it out and put it in the hand of Yuri, Whom I had spent the most time conversing with. (can't recall his last name for the life of me but I couldn't pronounce or spell it either) "Something to remember me by." He had a surprised look on his face, said thank you and jammed his hand into his own pocket. He pulled out this coin and gave it to me. "что-то, чтобы запомнить меня." (Something to remember me by) We shook hands and went our separate ways.
And that coin has been in my pocket every day since. Closest thing I have to a challenge coin.