Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day 12: Good cop, Good cop or DWT (Driving While Theo)

So here we are cruising along at a comfortable 70km on the highway which is really a lot like the back roads of Carnation when a local cop jumps into the road and flags us to pull over. After trying to speak Russian to us and realizing we're Americans his buddy politely informs us in excellent English that we were caught doing 69km in a 60 zone. We ask if the whole highway is 60 and if tells up It's just this area. The entire area he indicates consists of their station and the gas station across the street....

The non English speaking cop then starts writing Theo (He's a cop magnet) a ticket.

The non English cop who was a trainee even though he was about twice the age of the other cop was clearly being trained on Theo. So he starts writing out the ticket yelling questions at us which the other cop would alternately answer or translate.

What is your name!? Theodore Ludovicus Michel took about 10 minutes by itself which consisted of a discussion of what each name was, how each should be pronounced, and finally how it should be written in Cyrillic.

What is your personal number!? Do you mean passport? No! Personal number! Um we don't have personal numbers... Massive look of confusion then the old cop grabs the passport and proceeds to write down the first random number he finds as Theo's "Personal Number."

You live in the US Virgin Islands!? What is your address there? I live in Washington. Washington? Yes. Then we relay the address in about the most disorganized conversation we've had on the trip so far. I Think the final address listed is 22nd 16926, Seattle. Another bad translation. They were really confused by the Bellevue / Seattle thing since we had just told them we lived in Seattle so we explained to them that Bellevue was a subsection of Seattle. That Seattle was BIG.

But bear in mind these cops were nice and the whole exchange was entertaining as hell. By this point I've got a massive ear to ear grin on and am turned around looking at the traffic because I really don't want the police to see my big ass grin. I looked at Theo and he's doing everything he can to stifle his grin as well.

Finally the old cop hands us the ticket and the young cop tells us we'll have to pay a 5 IRE (~3.25$) fine at the border. Me and Theo are just speechless. 5?? 5?? Theo has been doing his best to be pious the whole time and explains how sorry he is that he sped in their 40' 60km zone.

About four hours later we pull into the border and hand the border guard the ticket. He laughed and threw it back at us. Speeding? Yeah. How fast? 69km in a 60. Haha. Maybe he'll have to pay a fine someday if he decides to come back to Bulgaria. No more than $15 or so.

So Theo's a wanted man in Bulgaria.

Boarder guard asks "Why do you have such an old Lada?" Well we are driving it to Mongolia. What? It's part of a Rally for Charity. How much did you pay for that? $400. $400? You could get that car here for $50. Hell I'll sell you my Lada for $400 and it's a newer model. He then laughed and waved us through.

GREECE here we come!

All that for a $15 ticket, that you don't have to pay.... I like the boarder guy who is willing to sell you his car, nice! I really think it must be the glasses Theo wears, Theo do you ever make them drive the car? Bec
Great story reminiscent of life in the V.I. Good ting that Theo has years of useful training on tropical islands, dealing with ticket-happy cops and the convoluted bureaucracy.
Take the glasses of next time and put a purple wig on. It might help to get you back on the road earlier. That is, if you can still look serious.
Love the tales....
I'm sure it was hard for you Cy, not to laugh very loud... This is very funny. I am reminded of SNL skits of the two Wild and Crazy Guys... You guys must be having some fun. Next time, please... ask to get a photo with them?
So what route are you taking to Istanbul?
I think you should agree to buy the border guy's lada for $400 if he promises to ship it to Seattle. And Theo, watch out for the speed limit man. You could have hit some little kid!
I'm speechless - my coffee this morning cost more than your speeding ticket.
are we still taking bets on whether anyone is going to wind up in a turkish prison? coz i'll take theo for $50.
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