International Borders & Policemen

47

“The taxi  arrives at the border post. The bridge of the late visa is now here, I must cross it. I check what Meticais I have left and buy two Pao fish sandwiches and a Coke. One of my strange classrooms taught me: “Eat when you can.” I eat one and keep the other. If things go pear shaped I will be in a Mozambique jail soon. I swap my last Meticais and get R20. This I hide.  The customs people are not happy about my month late visa; I spin a yarn that I was ill and could not get to the border on time. They want a doctor’s note! Not one of them can speak English very well; I am going from person to person, each time the rank is up. It is actually quite funny. This plan will not work. They tell me that I have to pay a fine of R12 000.00 to get my passport stamped. I tell them I do not have the money, this all took a couple of hours; I will not bore you with the details. Upshot is, they keep my passport and I am allowed to go to the South African side to ask for help. After leaving the building I must walk down a dual carriageway and through the gates, small problem, two border guards with AK47’s now want to see my passport. Again they have no English, eventually they get it that my passport is in their office and they let me pass.

I get to the South African side; my problems are far from over. I have no passport and customs and police are the same all over the world, they do not like Gypsies! I give the whole customs thing a miss and just walk passed the building. Now for the gate….  On the right hand side of the road are fifteen policemen, yes fifteen. They are all darker than me and very busy chatting up the ladies. On the left is an officer, he his sitting alone under a tree. He is also a white guy. I decide to try the happy go lucky style, and just walk through that gate. I have done this successfully before, another gate, another time. It is working very well; the fifteen cops do not even notice me. I am nearly through when I hear, “Hey, Boet!” Yip, I am bust by the one lone cop, shit! He beckons me over; I toss my bag under the tree and sit on it. He asked what is for what.  I tell him the truth, which is; I was so busy getting drunk and having fun that I did not update my visa, now they have my passport and all I want to do is get to Johannesburg.

He stares at me for a minute. Then tells me to open my kit bag, I do this. He finds my Bowie knife and AK bayonet, my cammo jacket. He asked when and where was I in “Die Mag”. “Die Mag” direct translation “The Force”, meaning the old South African army; the South African Defense Force. I give him the dates and which unit. He then says in English, we were speaking in Afrikaans until now, “Fok off.” Meaning I can go! Made it! I flit through that bloody gate on light feet! Started walking toward Komatipoort, it is blistering hot so I found a tree with a good view of the river and valley below and ate my Pao and drank a warmish Coke. But I had to move, as I walked I dumped more kit, the bag was just too heavy. I walked all the way to Komatipoort, there I was accosted by a few taxi drivers, shouting, “Johannesburg! Johannesburg! I get told it is R150.00. I say I have no money, but decide to check my bank balance at an ATM next to the shop. I have just over R100.00. I tell the taxi driver and he says that will be fine. I ask him which vehicle is his, as some of the mini busses in the parking lot are really wrecks. Considering we have at least 10 000 people a year killed in accidents in my country and a high percentage involves these taxis, I do not feel I was being over cautious. My guy’s Taxi was a brand new Toyota Hi-Ace. Cool. Chucked my bag in and waited. The next woman that got in paid only R80.00!”

Huh.This bloody white skin of mine in Africa!

From:  The Chronicles of the Mexican Horse Thief V

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One Response to “International Borders & Policemen”

  1. Wayne Bisset Says:

    Reblogged this on Section Eight Solutions.

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