Having read several blog entries, along with warnings from the Lonely Planet, we weren’t particularly surprised when we got pulled over by two ‘plain-clothes policeman’ in an unmarked white car demanding to see our passports. If we weren’t already suspicious by the lack of any visual evidence confirming that the two had even the most tenuous connection with the local constabulary, my mind was made up when one of the guys waved what could been a bus card in my face. The guy repeated “PASSPORT”. I replied “NO”… with exceptionally clear undertones of “bloody way” and “sod off and leave us alone”, before riding on.
Ten minutes later we were still being tailed by the unmarked white car. I turned around and cycled up to the car to confront the crime-fighting duo to reaffirm that their long-arms were going nowhere near our passports. I decided to try and call their bluff by threatening to photograph them and their number plate so I could later check with the bona fide police force. “NO PHOTO! NO PHOTO!” was the reply. Reinforced with the lazer-generatingly intense eye contact of Superman I told them to “GO!”, as I pointed them down the highway, they looked at me and drove off. With head and chest inflated with pride, I caught up with Mary and told her what had happened.
To say I was nervous when minutes later the flashing lights, green stripes and uniforms clearly authenticated the legitimacy of the police that had, with a sense of urgency, pulled over and was now blocking our passage, would be an understatement. I was shitting myself! Courageous undertones were instantly replaced with complete subservience as my shaking hands immediately handed over our passports. Turns out the unmarked guys who originally pulled us over we just doin’ their job and had called for emergency backup when these renegade cycle tourists rudely refused to show their passports.