Saturday, May 07, 2005

traffic violations and tv taxes

Yesterday I had promised to go out to see my girlfriend who had ear surgery on Monday. She was at home now and I just wanted to make sure she was healing up ok. Jonathan had class in the morning and an exam in the afternoon so I knew he wouldn’t be able to stay with @. I didn’t want to take @ because I thought that having a baby wiggling around would be disturbing if you were still recovering from surgery. So I put him down for his nap at 2:00 and left when W came at 2:30. I told her I would be back by 3:30 which would probably be about the time @ woke up. I got to my friend’s house, we visited for a while and surprisingly she was understanding that I couldn’t stay long.

I got out of the house at 3:30. I knew I should have gotten out sooner but I though I would take the new hard pack dirt road around the outside of the city and save myself some time. I cruised down the hard pack pretty quick, thankful for an SUV and 4 wheel drive. This would have been a really bad place to be had it started raining. I got back onto a main road and was cruising a long when I saw a police checkpoint. Not entirely unusual these day especially on roads coming into town. Pulled over, offered him my residence card. He wanted to see my driver’s license. Everything was fine until he turned it over and saw that it had expired. Driver’s license are only good for 3 months here so your license is almost always expired which really isn’t a problem normally. It was a problem today. He said he wanted the owner’s book. I don’t carry the owner’s book in the car, that would be like carrying around the title in the vehicle- no one does that. He sent me home to get my owner’s book and told me to come back by 4:30. I get home, @ has been up since 10 minutes after I left. He needs to be fed but I have to go back to the police checkpoint within 30 minutes. So @, W, and I all load into the truck to go back to the checkpoint. Policeman takes my owner’s book gives me back my expired license and a ticket. Now on Monday afternoon I need to go to a police station and pay a fine and get the owner’s book back. W will be coming with me on Monday which should help but it will be a lot of fun to find the police station since there are no addresses, or street names here. W thinks she knows the place he is talking about.

Got home. Sat down to feed @. Hadn’t been sitting down 5 minutes when I get a knock at the door. This woman wants to know if I have a television? “Yes, Why?” is the only response I can manage. She wants to know when I bought my television and she wants to see a receipt. Now can anyone find the receipt for their television when someone is waiting at the door to see it? I think not. Got down to it and find that she is from the ministry of finance and if you can’t show your receipt for your television then there is a tax. 100 local currency a year since the time you bought it. She said she would come back today and give me time to find my receipt. I think I am going to have to write one because we bought it off some Russians who were leaving the country. Nice.
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