There I was, calmly driving to school on Friday morning.
I was in good time so when I saw police cars at the roundabout I wasn't particularly worried. I've had to stop dozens of times to show my documents and have the car inspected. I usually have everything in order.
There were two police cars on the left and two on the right. One poor driver had been pulled over on the right and was out of his car (never a good sign), probably paying a fine for something. The policeman with him was busy, so I thought I was safe. I turned my attention to getting the new way of navigating a roundabout done properly and was half way through that when I heard police whistles blowing furiously and the policemen on the left pointing menacingly ... at me? I couldn't believe my eyes!
I managed to pull over already out of the roundabout, my nerves shattered. When a policeman reached me, I kept repeating "What did I do wrong?" He said I didn't stop promptly enough. Heck! I wasn't expecting the ones on the left to even think of pulling me over. They were on the other side. To be safe, they should have been only stopping cars going in the opposite direction, for heaven's sake!
So I showed my documents, saying I was going to miss my first class of the day. The policeman smiled. He thought I was pretending to be a teacher! Then he inspected the car and looked over at his whistle-mad colleagues. I wondered what exactly they were going to fine me for. I had pulled over safely albeit too slowly for them, they weren't complaining about my navigation of a roundabout (even though I don't think I've quite got the hang of it), so what was it going to be?
Oops! My windshield had a crack - a very small crack - a crack that is almost as old as the car - a crack that has never been a problem before!
I was let off with a warning: they were going to be at that roundabout for several days and if I was stopped again, a fine it would be. I drove off in a daze, still unsure if a fine wouldn't find its way into my mailbox.
My car has now got a new windscreen but I can't get that treated-almost-like-a-criminal scene out of my head. Is it any surprise that people don't like the traffic police here?
Mind you, I have seen worse - an adult student of mine once overtook me and the road-hogging police car in front of me only to be treated to a siren-screaming car chase into a sleepy Algarve town!