'You', stabbing his finger at me, 'have broken the laws of this land and if you do not pay the fine, you will go to jail!'
He was much, much too big to make angry, but I wasn't going to lie down and get screwed for something I hadn't done. 'What law's that mate?' I said, a forced smile creasing my face ... or at least I hoped it was a smile.
'You were speeding and now you will pay,' he sneered, big black hands resting on his hips.
Bulldust! I replied, trying to keep the profanities to a minimum and Mr Plod on the happy side of sanity.
His eyes narrowed just a touch, sizing up this muzungu or 'rich white man' (as he .... and most native Africans ... would describe us), 'You pay 20,000 shillings (about $200) to me or you will go to jail!'
Now we had cut to the chase ... a bloody bribe ... and I was on familiar ground. He was still smiling .... so was I ... and 20 minutes later after asking him to take us to his superior, offering to go to court and generally just going around in circles with the argument, we were beginning to win the battle of wits and patience.
We were on the outskirts of Nairobi, the sprawling capital of Kenya and known to most overland travellers and ex-pats living there are 'Nairobbery'. Our brush with the law, or lawlessness, however you want to call it, wasn't the first time it had happened on our overland travels across Africa and it wasn't the last, but it was pretty typical. We had left Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of the African continent, four months previously and wound our way north. First we had taken the road around the coast to the Cape of Good Hope and then, on surely what must be one of the most dramatic coastal drives in the world, around Chapman's Peak to Cape Town. Over the next two months we switched and twitched our way, this way and that, as we took in the many delights and adventures which South Africa can provide; a bossy elephant that forced its right of way and had us backing up for over a kilometre in southern Kruger; an amazing 4WD ascent up Sani Pass from the lowlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal to the independent kingdom of Lesotho; and, as much as you could eat of the freshest, finest fish and seafood from the 'mouse house', a sandy floor beach-side kraal-like eating establishment at Lambert's Bay.
Here you can raft the raging river below the falls (many say this is the greatest Grade 5 river in the world), jet boat up to almost right under the plummeting power curtain of water, bunji jump from the bridge that spans the gorge, take a flying fox from one lip of the huge canyon to the other, or fly up the gorge and over the falls in a light aircraft, helicopter or ultra-light.
What you wont find in the glossy brochures or on the backpackers' notice board is yet another adventure meant for those with a sense of adventure, instinctive balance and a complete disregard for their travel insurance. We only heard about it on the sly, as a young African sidled up to us offering to take us, 'above the falls and to the very lip'.
If the Zambezi has dropped a little from its flood height there's a rock pool - the Devil's Pool - right on the edge of the drop where you can enjoy a cooling swim, or if you are game and sure footed enough, there's a rock ledge you can edge out on. I put it down to my son's coaxing and a rush of adrenalin that somehow got me to the lip ... and the view was not only different but worth it as well.
That night as we walked back to our lodgings in a not-so-safe part of town (right beside the fishing boat harbour), the bloody power went out. Two girls joined us from outside the bar they were drinking at - presumably thinking they'd be safer with us than on their own - and we wandered back down the narrow alleys and dark eave-shaded streets. It was times like these I was glad Viv had procured some 'bear spray' (think capsicum spray with a 10 metre range) and a hand held taser. Thankfully we have never had to use them in anger, the only person ever getting sprayed being Viv .... but that is another story, best saved for another day.
After blood pulsing encounters with lions in the Serengeti - 'Wind the bloody window up, close the f^*#ing door you idiot!', we rolled into Kenya and our encounter with our policeman.
At Archer's Post in the North-east Frontier District of Kenya we picked up our two armed guards for our stay in the nearby national park, but luckily the only guns we saw were the ones they were totting. Then, as we headed further north again, we had to sign an indemnity form at the last police post stating we had refused 'police protection' for the final run north to the Ethiopian border. Our decision was not totally foolhardy as the only real trouble we had previously was at police checkpoints.
And so it was. I don't know what it is but they take begging to a new, much higher level than the rest of Africa. Maybe we've given them so much aid that as soon as they see a whitey, they beg ... no ... demand ... some money. Stepping out of the vehicle was like getting set to go to war. You'd take a deep breath and steel yourself for the confrontation you knew was about to happen.
For us this was our third visit to Egypt and it was more a series of police posts and police escorted high-speed convoys through the desert than a guided tour of the incredible monuments that this country has. Be aware though, that after a while even these great ruins, apart from the greatest temples and pyramids, become just an 'ABC' (Another Bloody Crumbly).