Monday, 2 September 2013
I Got Pulled Over - Again: Nairobi 12
I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging, because I’m really not, but I’ve been pulled over so many times by the police that I’ve lost count.
That’s not as bad as it sounds. I mean, if you drive in Kenya long enough (that is, for more than the average length of a tourist trip), you will be pulled over. Guaranteed.
You’ll be pulled over at arbitrary checkpoints, roadblocks, airport entrances, roundabouts.
You’ll be stopped if you’ve done something wrong, if you haven’t done anything wrong, if the police decides you need to have done something wrong or if it’s been a long month and someone needs an early payday.
Your chances of getting pulled over jump dramatically at the end of the month (someone has to pay the bills) and exponentially during December. Interestingly, the same holds true of getting carjacked or your house broken into.
So the point is that, basically, me being pulled over countless times is pretty much what you should expect if you live in Kenya.
Was I guilty of any traffic offense? Not to sound elusive or anything, but that’s kind of hard to say. In some cases, clearly not. In others, possibly, although I would swear on any holy book in any court that there wasn’t a sign post telling me not to turn at that corner, and the lines that were supposed to be on the road hadn’t yet been painted. And – I admit it, although I’ll deny it if you ask - a few times, yup, I was guilty.
And I talked my way out of each situation.
Meaning: I never paid a bribe to get out. And that is no small accomplishment.
An extract from Nairobi 12, a humorous novel about life in Nairobi. Release date: Working on it!
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