News from Mexico – La mordida

I’ve been down here in Playa del Carmen with Gloria for three weeks now and have a few more to go.  So we rent a car and blast around and we pick up an American amigo, Chris, who just bought a unit at our condo complex.  We go to the big Pelican supermarket and pick up groceries and beer and drive home–without my lights on.  For the last 10 years my vehicles have auto mode for the lights, in one way or another the lights are always on.  The VW rental doesn’t and a cop waves us over and says in rapid fire Spanish and pantomimes that I have no, lights on and asks for my licence.  I have to pay a $50 fine at the police station or they’d keep my license.  Actually, an Alberta drv. lic. is only $10 for a renewal.  La Mordida, translation ‘the bite’ is the term used for a bribe in this country.

Sailfish lic. plateSo, Chris, from the backseat, says “Do not go to the police station!”  Apparently, there would be other costs there–and possibly dungeons. So, I ask the cop if I could pay him here instead.  “Si,” he says.

“I do not have $5o,” I say.

Chris says “Hey, I’ve got $10 USD” and hands me the note.

I flash it to the cop who says, in English this time, “Keep it down, is okay.”  Then he shows me how to operate the light switch and says “Adios.”  I guess it was some sort of Mexican street plea bargain.  When driving in Mexico keep some flash cash.