If you know my husband pretty well, you may have had occasion to hear one of his many renditions of other people’s songs. He likes to improvise lyrics to songs to suit whatever is on his mind at the moment. In Mexico, every time (or at least it seems that way) we see a police or transito (transit cop) vehicle he likes to sing “Policia, policia, policia let me go!” to the tune of Queen. Charming. Sorta.
Some pictures I didn’t take. I’d totally give credit, but there wasn’t any listed.
Anyway, so far we have been through a few police or military checkpoints, and have even seen a few speed traps, but have been lucky enough not to get pulled over. Our luck ran out in Puerto Vallarta.
We were having a splendid day (HA!) running around trying to get our computer fixed so we could use the god-forsaken telcel “bancha” (wifi usb device), when we pulled over to the lateral lane to turn off the highway. In Mexico, some of the bigger cities have lateral lanes for local stops, or for turning left and making U-turns. Rule #1 – no pulling into the lateral lane over curbs. We do know this. Its pretty much the same everywhere on earth. We didn’t do it that time, but we did a few other times, because, ahem, someone is very impatient, and also the same someone likes testing out his Jeep. Rule #2 – No pulling over to the lateral lane at an intersection. We did not know this. So, not only did my songbird hubby use the shoulder to go around slow moving traffic (also illegal just about everywhere) to get over, he also moved over illegally, RIGHT IN FRONT OF A COP. Super.
Motorcycle cop, a hefty guy on a little tiny bike with a teensy mustache and a big round face. He’s so adorable and mildy cartoonish he couldn’t possibly threaten anyone. So the guy pulls us over, and doesn’t speak English very well. He knows some numbers and some words like “pay now” or “pay later” and “less” and “more” as in, pay the ticket now, it costs less, pay tomorrow or later it costs more. So you’re all thinking… yeah pay now, as in give me the money, right? Wrong. He meant go to the police station and pay. Honest cop. Good to know they exist, however annoying it would be to have to do that instead of giving him a little mordito (bribe). He explained so i could translate to Mike, that there are TWO lanes, not three, so he shouldn’t have ridden on the shoulder, and also, no getting over when there is an intersection (3 way or 4 way). So, while it was hard for me not to find some humor in the situation, I made my best sad face, attempted explaining we didn’t know we couldn’t do that because we saw lots of other cars do it, and eventually, wait for it….. he let us go. Holy. Friggin. Crap. Did that just happen? So now you can tell why that whole singing bit in the beginning plays into this. The lyrics were actually, surprisingly appropriate. This time. OK now everyone knock on wood.
So, what we heard from other overlanders is good to use when dealing with police officers is: pretend not to understand, take pictures and act like its part of the trip, don’t give them your license (someone didn’t listen very well to that one), offer to pay them instead of going to the station, etc. So we totally did the opposite of all of those things, and it actually worked out. I think he felt bad since all the citizens of Mexico (drivers at least) set such a terrible example, how the hell are we supposed to know we can’t do stuff? Also, my sad face is very convincing. It works wonders on my husband too. If only I could use it to make him stop singing….