March 26, 2006

Thank you sir, can I have another?

Imagine driving around Addis looking for a traffic officer from whom to get a ticket. It happened to my wife and I yesterday. After delaying almost 6 months past the initial review period, we took our car in for its annual inspection. When we arrived at the inspection lot, the agent told us that not only did we have to act immediately, as the grace period for inspections ends on Monday, at which point traffic officers will begin removing license plates from unrenewed vehicles, but that we also needed to first obtain from a traffic officer and pay a traffic ticket in order to continue for a renewal inspection.

So there my wife an I were, 10:30 in the morning on Saturday, with only 1.5 hours until the close of government offices, rushing around to find a traffic officer willing to bestow us with a tickets. We had plenty to choose from, but settled on an older gentleman at an intersection in Bole. He was amused by the whole thing (I think a little dumbfounded when my wife asked), but he obliged, taking my wife's driver's license which he replaced with a ticket.

The Gods of time smiled friendly on us because, despite several bureaucratic hurdles, we managed to finish everything before the lunchtime shutdown (sorry for the guy at the inspection center who was denied a renewal - don't know what was wrong with his car). After obtaining the permit, we returned to the police officer to collect my wife's license, which we did, though I had the distinct impression he was looking for a "thank-you", which we failed to oblige (hey, it's his job). Hope this doesn't cost me on Monday when I drive past his intersection.


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