Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How To Bribe A Mexican Police Officer

As some of you, actually, all of you, know (since the chances of you reading this and not knowing me personally are slim to none) I recently got married. And yes, my brief experiment with "the pill" was a precursor to that.
This post is not about the wedding, however, it's about the events that immediately followed the wedding. And no I am not planning on delving into the horrors of the honeymoon enlightenment phase. 

This post is about Mexico.

We went to Puerto Vallarta on our honeymoon. My parents gave us a weeks stay in a 5 star hotel complete with four different restaurants, seven bars and an attached mini-mall. The resort afforded us no reason to ever leave a five mile radius from our suite.
We left anyway.
The first day we took a taxi to explore. It cost mucho dinero for not so mucho time and we swore off taxis.
The second morning we decided to walk. It went like this.

Twenty Minutes Later

Another Ten Minutes

Walking didn't work. 
Not only was it 103 degrees outside but the air was so humid I felt like I was swimming, and I'm pretty sure I looked like I'd been swimming due to overactive sweat glands. 

We thought about getting bicycles for transportation.
 We then remembered the total lack of driving ability on the part of the Mexican population and the torrid Mexican climate and decided against death by heat stroke/collision with a rouge low rider. 

We tried the bus system.
Please note that the buses are not labelled in Puerto Vallarta - it seems the bus system consists of picking a bus and hoping it goes where you live.
The buses we chose did not go where we lived. 
After ending up in the complete opposite place than we intended to go (not just once, but twice) we decided the buses were a terrible idea. 

With taxis, walking, buses and bicycles out of the picture we were left one choice - rent a car.  

The compact economy choice got us a tin can for $8 a day plus gas, a pretty screamin deal when you consider the "gringo discount" cost us 99 cents a minute in a taxi. 

Our little car provided a new found freedon; we drove to the next town over and explored the less travelled markets, we could venture into the city center at will and (here's the best part) we found delicious local taco stands in the barrios of Puerto Vallarta. 

By the way, the traffic flow in Mexico is about as senseless as the unlabeled bus system. Depending on the street you're on there are three different ways to turn left. 

1) Sometimes there are actual turning lanes on the paved roads, just like those found in the U.S. You put on your blinker, merge to the left most lane and yield to oncoming traffic until you have the chance to turn. 

Good system. 

2) Sometimes there is no turn lane, you just turn whenever possible. 

Less Good System. 

3) Sometimes there are completely unattached roads on the RIGHT side of the street. These frontage type roads are not marked, nor are they paved, nor can you get to them from the left lane. You have to turn onto these roads some 40 feet before you desire to turn left and follow a traffic light completely unattached to the rest of the road. Did I mention these roads are often riddled with deep trench like pot holes, hordes of uncollected garbage and random squatters?

Horrible System. 

Since we are not native Puerto Vallartans, we had no way of knowing which system to use on which roads and since it changed every four blocks we usually just took our chances and stuck with method #2 - turn when possible, try not to get hit. 

Our fourth night in Puerto Vallarta was stormy. Given these unfavorable weather conditions it would have been smart of us to hole up in our hotel room, order room service and watch the lightning from the balcony. We are cheap though, and instead we decided against our better judgement and ventured out to find a street stand selling tacos.
Problem- taco stands are usually haphazardly set up on the side of the road with no lights, advertising or food handling permits, which also means they are impossible to find on a dark stormy night.
 We drove for almost twenty minutes to no avail and decided to turn around. 
Turning around entailed turning left. 

Unfortunate fact #1 - There was a Mexican cop behind us when we tried to turn left. 
Unfortunate fact #2  - We used method #2. 
Unfortunate fact #3 - We should have used method #3. 
Unfortunate fact #4: Allstate doesn't cover the Munks driving a rental car in Mexico. 

The lights came on and our stomachs churned. 

We pulled over on a deserted side road with absolutely no lighting and only one way out. 
Poor choice.

The police came up on the side of the car and started speaking spanish. My new husband does not speak spanish. I speak SOME spanish, SOME being the operative word.
I decided to take over. 

The cops were surprisingly friendly, they chatted with us about our hotel, wanted to know what attractions we liked and didn't like, and were over joyed when they found out we were newlyweds. They even offered to escort us to their favorite taco stand after we squared away the traffic misunderstanding. 

We thought we had this in the bag - we would get off with a warning and have an excellent story. 
Only one of those statements was correct - we now have an awesome story but we did not receive a warning. 

Upon returning, our new friends informed us they were forced to issue a ticket due to our "failure to respect the light" and our "illegal left turning".

 I tried to "fix things" subtly. 

They said we can "fix it" by paying the ticket at the court house two towns over. Oh, and they needed to confiscate either a drivers license or the car as collateral until we "fixed it". 

Big Problem.
We could not give the police our rental car. 
We could REALLY not give them our licenses. Not only could we potentially have an identity "twin" in mexico ruining our credit scores but there is small possibility we'd never get on the plane without two forms of ID. 
In an effort to avoid owning a Police sequestered car south of the border and having our identities sold online we decided to risk bribing the authorities in a foreign country. Smart? Maybe not... but what choice did we have? 

I kicked the bribery suggestion up a notch. 

I caught the hesitation in their voices this time.
Just in case my inferences were getting lost in translation we decided to go full blown obvious. 

We blatantly bribed the police. 

That worked. 
They agreed to "pay the fine for us" since we were on our honeymoon and they "go to the courthouse all the time." 

How sweet.
They then got less sweet. 

They were not very good with math. 

Unfortunately they weren't THAT bad at math. 

Since all we had in our wallet was 600 pesos and 10 american dollar bills the cops decided 600 Pesos and 6 American Dollars were payment enough. They let us keep four dollars to buy tacos.
We had to discretely hand it out the window in the dark so "the people don't see and think we are doing illegals" 

psh. We were so "doing illegals." 

As promised, the deal came with a police escort to their "favorite taco stand". 

We broke several laws on the way there. 

Stopped traffic in two different directions, and almost cause three crashes.  

All while driving a total of 20 feet to the right. 

The "taco stand" didn't even sell tacos. 
They sold empanadas only. Empanadas cost 25 pesos each. 
25 pesos is the equivalence of $2.50. 
We only had $4.00

We drove back to the hotel with four dollars, zero tacos and one awesome story. 

The End. 


  1. I love your blog, very funny story! Your graphics are adorable :) New follower from blogaholic, have a great weekend!

  2. Hilarious! I'm now an avid fan. Loves, Auntie Di.

  3. oh wit i miss you and your amazing illegal stories! :)

  4. This was amazing! me and my sister laughed like crazy when we read it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...