User:Christa Sinz/letters/meet the cops...

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Hello Everyone, Just another update from Abidjan Hello Everyone, Just another update from Abidjan

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Image:Christa in Africa-meet the cops.gif

Hello Everyone, Just another update from Abidjan

pulled over

A week ago, Saturday, I was pulled over by the cops. I am usually much smarter about it. I usually wear sunglasses, hug the center line, and avoid looking anywhere but straight ahead when I approach the areas where the cops typically hang out. That way, if they try to wave you over ... you can "innocently" act like you didn't see them. This time, I was not wearing sunglasses and I unfortunately looked right at the cops and before I could quickly look away, one cop made eye-contact with me. He waved me over ... and I felt like I could no longer just drive on pretending not to see him. I also knew that I did nothing wrong and that I had all of my papers with me. So, I pulled over.

Supposed to be a paper check. My papers were in order ... he gave them back to me and then proceeded to say "infraction" but he didn't tell me what the infraction was. He proceeded to write me a ticket. Then he asked for my driver's license back. I gave it to him. He said that he will keep it for one day. I said that I will not leave without my driver's license. I told him to give me the ticket and I will go to the police station and find out what it was all about ... but that he had to give me my license. He didn't agree to either one. Then another police man came over and started YELLING at me in French. So, I responded with "why are you yelling at me?" ... in english. He continued to yell ... half in english and half in french and I repeated my question. He was trying to intimidate me. They both ask for money (about $20) ... I wouldn't give it to them. I was keeping it together pretty well until now. Then the guy yelled at me again and I again responded with "why are you yelling at me?" He got mad and walked away ... which was a good thing ... because I was on the verge of tears and if he would have continued, I would have lost it.

Needless to say, the first guy ... who was actually nice ... still tried to get money from me. I said ... just give me the ticket and I will pay at the station. They said that if I gave them the money, they would give me back my license and forget all about it. I said that they should give me the ticket and my license and I would pay at the station. I also continued to ask them what they think I did wrong ... they never answered ... they just asked for money. Obviously, I didn't do anything wrong and they were just trying to squeeze money out of me. I remained stubborn and continued to insist that I would not leave without my license. All the while, the knot in my stomach was getting bigger and it was becoming increasingly difficult to choke back the tears. He gave me the ticket. The cop walked away from my car (with my license in hand) for what seemed to be an eternity. I wouldn't leave.

Eventually, he came back and gave me my license. He also asked for the ticket back. I said that I would take the ticket to the station and find out what it was about and pay the ticket. He said, no .... I should give him the ticket and they would forget about it. Eventually, I had my license and he got his ticket back and I drove away ... over 30 minutes after being pulled over. UGH!!! I cried alllll the way home!!!!!! I had plans later that afternoon ... but, I just cancelled them ... I was so shook up. I just wanted to stay home and regain my composure.

Later that day, I talked to a few friends who all responded with "welcome to Abidjan." Each one of them had a cop story even worse than mine. Actually, since I have arrived here ... I have heard hundreds of nightmare cop stories. But ... until one week ago, I was always pretty lucky and was pulled over only once. The last time also took a long time ... but, in the end, the guy was nice. You wouldn't believe the lengths to which we all go in order to avoid the police check points!

Anyway ... as my director would say, "another rough day in Africa."

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