Tuesday, May 15, 2007

La Mordida

I nearly forgot to write about how I narrowly escaped being thrown into a Mexican prison during my recent visit.

While traveling about the countryside in a minivan (the horror!) I used my Mexican chaperone for the occasional spanish lesson. I would read billboards as we passed (to work on my accent and pronunciation) and then translate it for him. If i couldn't translate it, I would ask.

On the way to Queretero, we saw a billboard that used the term "mordida". I wasn't sure what this meant and here is the definition: "LA MORDIDA, translation "the bite" is the term used for a bribe in this country. It is the traditional and customary way of getting things done."

The billboard was asking the good people of Mexico to 'just say no' to bribery.

The following day we head for Mexico City- the big, stinking, polluted, cesspool that it is. We passed through a toll plaza / checkpoint on the outskirts of the city (60 km from downtown and 2 km from our destination). As SOON as we are through the toll, we are pulled over by the cops.

Three cops approach the vehicle and some rapid spanish ensues. These were not the hot-variety state trooper cops we get in America either. These were some rode-hard-put-up-wet motherfuckers. The toughest of them all was a woman. There was an exchange in very rapid spanish, followed by some frantic searching for all the correct documentation for our company car (which wasn't present).

When the cops walk away for a brief moment, my chaperone fills me in. Evidently there is a law in Mexico City that on certain days, if your license plate does not end with the correct digit, you are not allowed to drive. On this day, we were "illegal" in the city. And naturally they let us enter the city limits before telling us that.

The long and short of it is the police wanted a 'mordida' or they were going to take us to jail and impound the car. This is when I started to get nervous. They wanted 2000 pesos (~200 dollars) or we were arrested. We had a grand total of 1700 pesos only.

As much as I fantasize about being gang-raped in prison by either Chris Meloni or a bunch of guys who look like the Brotherhood from the HBO show "Oz" (not Schillenger- the OTHER ones), I know that I really don't want to go to prison. I also know that the likelihood of the gang-rapists in a Mexican prision being hot, sexy, shaved-head, goateed and tattooed men is very small.

And lets face it, I'm too pretty for the type of men I'd get there!

Anyway, after an hour or negotiations, we ended up paying the cops most of what we had on us. One of them crawled into the van to help escort us back through the toll plaza.

Then we parked on the side of the road and had to call the people at the company we were slated to visit to come pick us up. It was all very upsetting and frustrating.

Plus, how does one fill out an expense report to recoup a "mordida"? I'm pretty sure there isn't a line item for 'bribe' on the form.


At 9:52 AM, Blogger Y | O | Y said...

Christopher Meloni....drool...

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous kyle said...

i was so going to ask you how do you expense that and then **BOOM** you went and answered my question.


At 2:18 PM, Blogger Donnie said...

See?! That's why it's better to stay home, huddled under the blankets. ;)

At 2:53 PM, Blogger evilganome said...

I would itemize it under travel expenditure and probably call it parking fee. Hey, you had to park the car! I think this is cooling any desire I might have felt to travel in old Mejico.

At 6:08 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Sounds like you had a very entertaining introduction to the 'Mordida'.

When you next come to NZ, all the prisoners here are hot, sexy, shaved-headed, goateed and tatoed. I will try and get you put in prison here for two weeks. Saying that it is extremely hard to get put in prison here NO MATTER how bad the crime. You've literally got to beg the judge!

Kev in NZ

At 11:28 AM, Blogger BRETTCAJUN said...

Damn. The sight of you handcuffed and brought to the town pokey excites me some kind of way. I am glad you made it out of Mexico just fine.


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