Sunday, February 15, 2004

Another hot weekend, the heat is not over yet at all. In the middle of the day the aircon in the car just can't handle the calor, so the only solution is to drive very fast with all the windows open. There are only about 3 roads in the city where you can actually do this without hitting trench-like potholes (25th September, 24th July and the road out to the airport) so quite often you just have to grin and bear it.

Last night I had a fairly hairy run-in with the local constabulary which luckily all ended OK. I had just dropped Neill off at his flat in the wee small hours and decided to take a back street route back home rather than the usual cruise of 24th July (some days I think I must go up and down that street 20 times every day). This was a fairly dim idea as the roads aren't gridwise and most don't have signs so I was soon lost. I turned down a street which would have led back in the right direction except:
a) it led to a T-junction, of which
a.1) one exit was a barred off VIP residence
a.2) the other exit was no entry

So I U-turned but as I started to head back out a very big policeman stepped out into the middle of the road and motioned me to stop. Fair cop guv, he definitely meant me as there were no other cars about....

...finally finishing this story, the policeman asked to see my driving license - fortunately I had it and all the other car docs, as I had heard too many stories about just this kind of thing. He pointed out that I had entered a one-way street - hadn't I seen the sign marking no-entry?. I hadn't, so would I mind stepping out of the car to look at it properly. No problem, officer.

After walking halfway down the street I could make out a little stripey pole with peeling black and white paint, hidden under a tree - how could I have missed it? Once I had 'accepted that I was wrong' as he put it, we walked back the car while I waited for the lead-in to the 'propina' (bribe). Luckily at this point, a 4x4 full of of happily drunken Mozambicans zoomed up and made exactly the same mistake I had. The policeman went over to get them into trouble to, but they turned out to be big, fat and unconcerned, which in Moz is generally a sign of someone who is big, rich and powerful enough not to give a monkey's about small-fry policeman. Sure enough the constable was very emollient and the truck U-turned its way out of the cul-de-sac.

Plod plod back to my car where I am patiently waiting, plotting my 'exit strategy'. I engage in some casual remarks about the departing truck, innocently pointing out that they did just what I did - and got off scot-free. The policeman can't help but agree, then realises his mistake and desperately tries to backtrack, searching for something I did which was worse than what I did. As I remember exactly what manouevres I made I am able to remind him in a nice, dim foreigner sort of way, and he is stuck - now that this moral equivalence has been established he can't really get me into trouble.

So at last he lets me on my way, a free Scot.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?