Ok, here's one of the crazier stories from a couple of months ago. Chino went off to the recycling center to hand in a bunch of coke cans and on the way there a traffic officer who was standing out on the corner of the street suddenly stepped IN to the street and in front of Chino's moving vehicle. Chino slammed his brakes and swerved to avoid lambasting this guy and then the officer waved at him to pull over. He read Chino a big riot act about how he was going to have to take him to jail for nearly killing a police officer and that it was all Chino's fault and many horrible things were going to happen to him. Chino tried to argue that the it was the officers fault and much arguing later came to the inevitable compromise of Chino giving the man some peso's "for the cokes" and heading on about his way.
When he arrived shaken at the recycling center and relayed what happened they laughed at him and said that that officer stands there all day every day doing the same exact thing to passers by. I know it's wrong, but I hope one of these days he really does get hit. Just a wee bit, not to kill or anything..... just you know.... a good wallop.
MATHILDE in Puerto Vallarta mentioned in the comments section of the last post that she's brave enough to refuse to pay the officers and make them take her to the actual station for a real ticket. We're too afraid to do that - especially with me, an American in the car. We've heard many stories about how if they think you or your family have money they'll "hold" you (i.e. kidnap) and try and scare you into taking out as much as you can from your ATM card or even making your family wire money. One man I know paid 2,000.00 USD to get out and that's something we're to scared to risk.
Chino was super pissed on night when an officer pulled us over for running a light (falsely, we were in the green) After arguing and much voice raising and chest puffing he officer told Chino that he should just pay him because otherwise the fine would be 400 dollars if we went to the station and if we didn't have the money that they would take our car away from us. Chino called the officers bluff and for the first time it backfired and the officer called CHINOs bluff back! (shit!) He told us we would have to follow him to the station but he warned first "Do you really want your pregnant wife walking home?" Chino was sooooo pissed (CHISPAS!) and didn't care at this point so off we went.
After about 1/4 of a mile of following the officer to the station he pulled over again in a grocery store lot and made Chino talk to him some more. He said "You're real brave, you must think you're really something to have the balls to go to the station." Chino told the man that he didn't HAVE 200 pesos to pay him and that he didn't have a choice but to go to the station. Thankfully the officer finally gave up and told Chino just to empty his pockets and give him everything he had and that would be fine. I think he ended up with about 86 pesos in change. Chino DID have the 200 pesos - he actually had our rent money in his wallet (2,500 pesos) but was smart enough to leave the wallet with me. (By the way, I was SOOO shitting my pants during this ordeal but Chino said he knew the whole time that the officer wouldn't go through with it.)
On Mexican Time mentioned that she was surprised that they pull us over (I think it's been about 12 times since we've lived here) sometimes without reason. They always say that they're just doing a random check to see if you have all of your paperwork in order or they'll come up with something silly like maybe your license sticker isn't in the right spot or your license plate is crooked. So yes, it really does happen and here it's actually not directed to tourists but to everyday citizens. Here on the border anyone with a vehicle is considered to have money and therefore is a target.
Anyhoo, it doesn't freak me out anymore but is sure has been fun to share it with you all! It's nice to be able to share what happens here and hear that it's not just us, and be reminded that the some of the Americans that don't know what it's like here find it shocking. I remember when I used to be shocked. LOL those days are long gone.