May 28th, 2009
Most of you have probably heard me brag about how proud I am of Karel’s driving, I’ve made statements to the extent of “Karel’s driving like a true African” where he navigates through traffic like locals without any obvious rules or regulations with confidence (thanks bulbar) and bullies through seemingly impossible traffic build-ups. Now imagine my surprise when we get stopped by a police officer for a ticket for none other than and I quote “inconsiderate driving”.
Let’s begin our story. Karel and I are driving back from enjoying a movie, at a cinema watching Angels and Demons which we both think is a much superior film to the Cyborg special we saw on route to Zanzibar. Anyways so we are driving along minding our own business following the GPS. No problems. Following along we reach a round about and slightly distracted we noticed we were about to go off on the wrong exit so Karel merged lanes and thus was slightly out of lane. Along comes one of the police officers supposedly “directing” traffic (although the only thing they direct are traffic jams!). Ok, not a problem. We unwind our windows. The officer asks us what we are doing. We say we are from out of town, new to Kampala and we got a bit mixed up with what turn off we needed to take. He tells us that what we are doing is inconsiderate. He then asks if he can come into the car to explain to us what we are doing wrong. Karel and I exchange looks. Next thing we now the police officer, who I should say is armed with an AK47, opens the car door by manually unlocking the door from the open window and climbs into the passenger sit. We are then informed that he is taking us to the police station.
As we aren’t new to Africa anymore and slightly unfazed I figure, now how can I get us out of this. I first started my strategy by trying to appeal to the fact that we’re foreign and weren’t sure what we were doing, surely this is some sort of misunderstanding and I am cared of not knowing what is happening. Many minutes pass and no luck. I then up the anti and bring on the tears. Still no luck. Karel then starts with a strategy of his own and asks what exactly is happening, are we under arrest because we need to let our embassies know what is happening. Karel also says at this point that we need to let the embassy know that the officer entered our car without permission. The police officer gets a little nervous at this stage. Bring on the grand finale…we are now quite close to the police station. Stopped at a light another officer notices that there is a police officer in a car with mazungas (whities) and wants to know what’s going on – just curiosity. This is the point where I unleash massive waterworks and between tears say that we were lost in Kampala and the officer stopped us, unlocked our door and got in, and we don’t know what’s happening, and we’re very scared, and he has a gun, and we’ve called our embassies, then cue major tears. The other police officer says something to the guy in our car, who responds by jumping out of our car. Alas ticket free we were safe to go home, mind you a ticket for inconsiderate driving would be the ultimate souvenir from Africa