Saturday, December 13, 2008

Morelia Mordida

We were very careful leaving Morelia. We asked the taxi driver how to get onto the ring road as big rigs are not allowed in town and we had the directions down pat. The ring road has three lanes but because we did not know how the exit to our highway worked (some left turns are made from the left lane and some from the right lane) we were driving in the centre lane. A motorcycle cop ("Trafico") pulled up on our right and told us we should be in the far right lane. We thanked him for telling us and moved over in front of him. He immediately passed us and pulled us over. He told us we were driving in the wrong lane. He drew a picture of the three lanes and put an “X” over the left and centre lanes and a “tick” over the right lane. We explained we were turning left so we had to be in the left lane and I did not know how far we were from our turn. He emphatically shook his head and drew a line from the right lane turning left. Again (by now I knew what he was up to) we thanked him and I went to shake his hand. He said we had a “fine” of $50 USA dollars for driving in the wrong lane.

I said “No,no. We did not know”, and he said there were signs. Well, if there were, I did not see them. He said we had to go to the “office” to pay the fine. I pretended I did not understand and then told him that I could not drive the rig in town. I kept saying we did not know the rule. I was prepared to wait him out but Norma handed him $200 Pesos ($20) which he quickly pocketed at which time his English improved remarkably. He told us how to get out of town and on our way.

I know Moisheh and Chris will be angry at me for paying and I agree it only makes it harder on the next person but he did not seem to be backing down at all so for us, at the time, it was the lesser of two evils. If he had not backed down I would have had to leave the motorhome at the side of a very busy road and taken a cab downtown and back. That would have used up most of the $200 Pesos, Plus there may have actually been a fine. As I say, I would have played dumb for a lot longer to see what he was going to do but Norma decided to take the easy way out. Sorry.

I must add that I do not consider this a bad experience. I probably was doing something wrong and if the same thing happened in Canada or in the USA it would have ended up costing me much more. The cop was quite pleasant and I know they do not make all that much money. This is the very first time anything like this has happened to me in Mexico and it was acrually kind of fun. I never felt threatened or intimidated at any time and I just hope I made his Christmas a little better. I can afford the $200 Pesos.

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