That time I jumped out of a moving taxi...
- Nairobi, Kenya / 2010
Do you ever have those moments on the road, where you think, geez this is going to make a good story? Even while it’s happening, even while simultaneously having to remind yourself that first you actually need to live through it to tell people. Well this is that story for me.
It all started one morning out at Camp Karen on the outskirts of Nairobi when some friends and I who were travelling from Cape Town to Cairo, decided to hire a taxi for the day to complete our combined errands before moving any further north.We called our driver, Felix and headed off to the Egyptian Embassy as my two friends had not gotten their visas before they left, after we planned to take the cab to the Yah Yah Centre for some shopping.
We arrived at the embassy and I waited in the car while they went inside to get their visas. I had been there for about an hour when a huge pick up truck rolled up in front of us with about eight soldiers (or at least they appeared to be soldiers) in the back, carrying large automatic weapons.
When I stood up, I realised I was trapped between the embassy wall, the car Felix had hit (which was now sideways), our cab and the armed men in front of me. At the same time, I jumped out, the action kind of stopped. They turned their attention on me and I screamed at them “What the (insert a multitude of expletives and foul language here) is going on?” They all gave each other this confused look, before one guy said, “He cannot park here” After getting over my initial shock and more swearing at the men, they drove off leaving me stunned.
I got back in the cab, and at that point my friends (having no idea what happened) came out of the embassy and said “Kris this is going to take ages, you and Felix might as well take off” and walked back inside. That part, at least was comical.
Felix and I headed off to the shopping centre, on the way he explained our incident had nothing to do with parking. “These men are vigilantes” he explained. “They hold you at gun point until you pay them money, if you don’t pay, they take your car!” “I didn’t give them anything” I said to Felix. “I think you scared them with your loud voice Miss Kristina!” laughs Felix. (I’m glad someone finds this funny)
After completing my shopping I headed back to the other campsite to meet up with the other people I was travelling with, where I learned that the same thing had happen to two of the other girls, only they had to bribe their way out and it had cost them $200 USD. They asked me how I got out of it, when I explained it was because I yelled at the armed men, no one seemed overly surprised that my lack of an inside voice had gotten me out of such a serious and dangerous situation.