Sunday, May 09, 2010

How to commit a crime and get away with it.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Teresina (Piaui, Brazil). The sun was shining, birds were chirping, the temperature was still relatively low (who cares anyway with AC in the car) and I was happily going to work.

The last turn, a ride under newly bult bridge and there it was, waiting for me... Various red and white cones narrowing the passage of the road, directing cars into a narrow part where few nice men in khaki uniforms were kindly pointing vehicles to stop. The traffic control police.

A wave of heat went through my body in my air conditioned car. Naaaaah... Why so scared... The car is new, papers in order, no worries. I relaxed a bit and with a smile opened the window handing in my licence and car papers. The police officer had a look at the documents, went around the car and finally spoke to me: “Madame, your driving licence has expired 3 months ago”. I didn’t understand at first and I was looking innocently at the guy. “Excuse me?” My green eyes met a hard dark-eyed stare. The man patiently repeated his statement. In moments of distress my speaking skills tend to disappear and Portuguese vocabulary gets terribly rudimental, so the result of my explanation was rather poor. The police officer just looked at me, smiled and said: “I don’t like to let people drive without a valid driving licence, but I’ll make an exception. Just make sure you validate your papers asap”. I could start breathing again, coming back to my normal colour.

When I finally got to work I found out I could have been heavily fined, had my car detained and driving licence taken.

What saved me that day? I believe it was my blonde hair and green eyes which are unusual here. After all in the kingdom of blind one-eyed is a king. Who would fine a king...