Happy New Year from the Ministry of Traffic

Best Parking Spot At Al Moayyed Tower - On the Front Steps

“I came out of the office and this Bahraini woman had decided to park right at the front door,” Mojo said.  “Best parking spot at the tower.”

See I am not like them.  At least when I park on the sidewalk I do it safely.

I wonder if she’ll have to go to Office 49 to resolve her ticket?

Last week, I returned to the Ministry of Traffic for the third time to clear up the tickets on Mojo’s car.  I went directly to the cashier’s office next to the detention office.  A fresh batch of faces were pasted against the jail’s plexiglass.

I waited as the cashier bundled stacks of twenty dinar bills into eight inch piles and stored them in the safe.  Finally he finished.  The man ahead of me paid his ticket with a 500 Saudi Riyal bill.  Boy did he get the stink eye.

I handed over my slip of paper and twenty dinars.  The cashier typed the number into his computer.

“You paid this already?”

“Maybe” I said. ”My husband said he paid the ticket.”

“Go see Badar,” he said stapling my twenty to the paper.  “Next door.”

I poked my head into the office next door.  “Badar?” I asked.   One man waved his hand.

“The cashier told me to tell you this ticket has been paid.”  Badar passed me over to a third man.  As the third man checked, Badar said to me,

“That is your ticket?”

“Oh no.  I’m a very good driver.  That was my husband’s ticket.”

Badar sucked his teeth.  “Do you know what the fastest speed is in Bahrain?”

I thought he was talking about the speed limit, giving me a little on-the-spot driving test. “120 kilometers?”

“No 250 kilometers.” He looked at me to see whether I was rightly shocked.  I put on my shocked face.

“The Public Prosecutor..we prosecuted him.  And you know what happened to him?”  I shook my head no.  “We put him in jail…” he said staring at me.  “For thirty days.”

He continued giving me the scolding on my husband’s behalf.

“Bahrain is a very small place.  You hit maximum speed and there is a roundabout or a stoplight.  You get there first.  Then I drive up next to you and we wait.  You see, we are the same,” he said holding his index fingers together in front of him. “You do not need speed in Bahrain,” he counseled me.

His friend checking the ticket, nodded in agreement.  “ The ticket was paid,”  he said stamping my paper.  “Go back to Office 49.”

“Thanks for the driving tip” I said.

I knew exactly where I was going.  I marched right past Information, through office 47 and 48,  and straight back to 49.

“Hi, it’s me again.” I waved my ticket triumphantly.  “The computer was wrong.”

Everything was finally squared away.  I could go to the Post Office to finish the registration.  But I thought about my tongue lashing and took a detour to Public Affairs.

Public Affairs had a large office on the second floor.  A man was praying in the middle of the room.  I looked at the four desks.  Two were occupied and both the man and the woman in hijab were talking on the phone.  I stopped at the desk of the fourth man watching a Bollywood movie on the television.  I asked him if he had any spare traffic safety posters.

He told me “One minute.  My boss is praying.”

Within five minutes, the boss finished, jumped up, and carrying his shoes, came over to see what I wanted.   He showed me a couple of posters, and as if I was in the souq, I hemmed and hawed over it.

“One minute,” he told me and left for the storeroom.

I watched the movie.  It was the obligatory dance scene.  The woman was rejecting her paramour as he danced through a throng of chorus girls.  They were tearing off his clothes.  He made it across with room bare-chested.  I missed the end when the men returned with a stack of posters.  I sorted them and assured the boss they would not go to waste.

Obligation is Safety

Tonight when I saw the SUV photo, I remembered the posters.  One will be set aside for the lady driver, but the others are for my twenty loyal readers.

Happy New Year from the General Directorate  of Traffic.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Goldi
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 18:40:32

    Oh what fun! I wish I could have gone on that errand with you. And I must concur…. “you are very good driver”! Mojo, well, “I know his father”.


  2. Deborah Hope
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 07:22:13

    This parking picture brings back so many memories. I wonder what the penalty would be for doing that in downtown Sydney? You really should do something with all your stories about visiting the traffic directorate. I love the public affairs office. It reminds me of the scowls I got on my first visit to the PO – at 1.30pm. I had no idea about public service hours. I’d like to know what happens to the people they detain. Presumably they can’t pay their fines. Scary.


  3. Eva the Dragon
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 08:51:10

    I was afraid I might be unintentionally investigating the jail when I went in there. But as you read, I did not have that opportunity.

    When you visit us in Bahrain we can take a tour down there.


  4. Trackback: SPRING OF CULTURE 2013 « Tales of Dragons, Rabbits and Roosters

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