Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hello Officer 9/19

This is Darin again. I thought it was time for me to add some content again. Jason and I were driving to some different shops the other day in Hammanskraal. I was at a green light to turn right(remember I am on the other side of the road, so right hand turns cross oncoming traffic). There was a car in front me also waiting and we were both out in the intersection a little ways. The light turned yellow and then red(the yellow lights don't last nearly as long here as they do back home). The other car was finally able to turn at the end of the yellow light, but it was clearly red for me, but I didn't want to be sticking out into traffic so I went. Just as I was thru the intersection, I saw that there had been a police car coming the other direction and it pulled behind me, honked the horn and put on its flashers.

I was in a very busy street market area, so I kind of pulled onto the curb partly off the street. The female cop got out and I rolled down my window. She said “Didn't you see the light was red?” I started to explain that I was sticking out into traffic, blah blah blah, but she didn't seem interested in hearing my reasoning cause she walked around to the other side of the car in the middle of my story.

When she came back around, I explained that this wasn't my car and we were borrowing it. She not so politely stated that this will be a R1000($125) fine against my name. She asked for my license, I gave it to her, she looked it over for a second and said “This is no good here, it is only good in Michigan.” I tried to explain that I've never had any problems renting cars here with just my MI license before. I also couldn't resist adding that it WAS good in many more places than just MI, like the whole US. I told her that I did have an international driver's license(which I needed to get so that the car owner's insurance company would cover me driving it), but it was back at the place we were staying at. She asked where we are staying, all the time glaring at me in a not very friendly way. I said that we were staying at a children's home outside of town and that we were volunteering there for a couple month's. That apparently was the right thing to say, cause her mood instantly changed and she asked for the contact info and address cause she had just bought a bunch of clothes that she wanted to donate somewhere. So I explained how to get there(I didn't know the actual address) and gave her the phone number. She was now happy and said “Just don't do that again” as she walked back to her car.

Hopefully that is the last time I get the opportunity to converse with the SA police.

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