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Old 10-09-2013, 11:26 PM   #39
V@lentino OP
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Vankouver
Oddometer: 825
Thumbs down The Thin Blue Line

As we entered the city, heading for the “Centro historico”, Jackie was doing her thing and taking pictures, she snapped this one

Within a few seconds I heard the honk of the small bike, and slowed to my right looking at the Municipal LEO in my right mirror. I kept on going about 25 meters until both our bikes reached a Pemex station, I turned the ignition off.

All three of us knew exactly what was happening. Jackie – Valentino “& Co.” were getting their first shakedown of the trip .

We had loosely planned for this as such:

No one speaks Spanish, and I don’t speak English; Only French. Since I was the first stopped and with my helmet removed, Pedro “el Pichicoma” asked me in English if I spoke English or Spanish. To which I answered, shaking my head and hands:

-“Non pas d’Anglais pas d’Espagnol, juste le Franšais”

Evidently, he turned to Liliane, at which point in her worst French-accented English she said,

-“My husband does not speak English, we don’t speak Spanish, what’s wrong?”

To which “Pichicoma” answered: -"you were speeding"

Here we go I thought to myself, let’s dance...

(Writer's note: assume that everything Valentino says from this point on is in French interlaced with one or two useless words of English said with a very heavy French accent. The whole thing is then poorly translated to English with an equally heavy French-accented English by Jackie).

Don’t worry; I get confused just writing about it.

-“What do you mean I was speeding”, I was passed by several cars, and my GPS never exceeded 35kph” says Valentino as he is gesturing with his hands showing cars passing.

-“No you were speeding” says Pichicoma”
(Jackie translates to French)

-“What do you mean I was speeding”, I was passed by several cars, and my GPS never exceeded 35kph” says Valentino as he is gesturing with his hands showing cars passing.
(Jackie translates to English)

-“It does not matter about the cars" says he, "you were speeding”
Bla bla bla more French, more translation….

(Insert more witty comments by Valentino as above)

-“Give me your licenses” says he.

By that time Steve has joined us and in unison we pull out our International drivers licenses and hand them to Pedro.

After a brief glance he says that he has to write us a ticket for speeding, that we were caught on radar… yadi yadi yada…. Ensues more translation to French, with me requesting to see the radar, him replying that it only displays the speeding infraction for 3 minutes, and that he will keep our drivers licenses until tomorrow, and that we have to pay for the ticket now. To which I answer that I want to go to the “Commissariat” so we can pay the tickets there and be on our way because we have to leave early tomorrow, yadi, yadi, yada, and we need our BS IDL back. But we can’t do that because the police station is two hours away and he does not have time to do that.

By this time we are about 15 minutes into it, the Badland Pro is starting to be hot and Valentino’s temper is rising. “Pichicoma” is standing a foot or so away from me holding the IDL in his hands and I grab them, and we play tug of war for a few seconds, and I let go.

He is surprised by this and obviously not impressed. I this point Steve who had mostly been a spectator gets in on the dance and proceeds to deflate/deviate the situation. “& Co.” aka AdventurePoser is a former LEO from Kalifornia, and also a very astute socialite.

(Refer to my original post on page one for more re. this particular aptitude.)

-“So what’s wrong with your friend, doesn’t he understand that I am the authority here and that you were both speeding, and that I have to give you a ticket, yadi, yadi, yada… I will keep your licenses, and will escort you to your hotel, because you can’t drive without your licence, bla, bla, bla…”

So he’s dancing with “Pichicoma” while I’m regaining my composure, mentioning that Jackie and Valentino are really a class act, but being French is like being Mexican and tempers can flare up.

And by the way I am a retired LEO, and the city I use to work for is the twin city of Zacatecas and we contribute uniforms and all kinds of stuff to the Zacatecas PD, and what is it “gonna” take to make this go away?

-“Well the ticket is 1600.00 pesos but you can pay 1000.00 to make it go away”

(Writer's note: bare in mind that I am giving you the short version, because by now Steve is 15 minutes into his dance with “Pichicoma”.)

-“Hold on please let me speak to my friend”

Jackie translates English to French

I reply

Jackie translates French to English

Bottom line we are not paying anything to this…

Go back to the beginning when I started to talk about the cars passing me, and read the whole thing again…

Back to the dancing with Steve

-“Hey you are welcome to my part of the world, what do you think about extending us some professional courtesy, I would do it for you if you were in my town yadi, yadi, yada, and on for another 10 minutes or so.”

By now I have apologies profusely for my French impulsiveness and he starts to look at his watch. More dancing with Steve.

Ok, ok, I will do this for you this one time, and he hands back the IDL, smiles, shakes both our hands, says (again) he’s going to escort us to the hotel, but we can go and it’s all good. Seconds later he changes his mind and gives us directions to the hotel, poses for a picture and disappears on his motorbike.

Cost of the interlude $0.00, 45 minutes spent dancing with a corrupt municipal cop priceless.

Lessons learned:

Remain firm polite, and when playing the good cop/bad cop routine do not cross the thin line that can take this to the next level and go from a BS ticket to a Law Enforcement Action.

Let’s be clear that I will not pay bribes of any sort to any “Pichicomas” along the way, that next time this will happened we know that the French bad-English no Spanish routine works.

At the end of the day this dude does not want to attract more attention to himself than is necessary, this is his barrio, and he needs to be able to do this again.

I am convinced that my actions, the fact that he was dizzy from listening to Jackie’s bad translations, and the smooth talking Steve made it impossible for him to follow through on his intentions.

We all knew (all four of us) that he was full of s#!^, and I believe that the single most important element that influences this type of situation is the certitude that your mind is made up, that you will not pay, and that you are in control.

We were never in any danger at any time, broad daylight, at a Pemex station with at least half a dozen people watching from a distance.

I do recognize that I crossed the line when I try to take the licenses away from him, that it did escalate the situation to a certain extent. But he crossed the line the minute he decided to shake us down.

Often conflict resolution happens through conflict escalation.

I believed we were always in control of the situation, and when he decided that the joust was over, he had come to the conclusion that these Gringos were just not worth his time.

As we put our helmets back on, smiles and thumbs up galore were extended our ways by the passing pedestrians who had witnessed the scene.

That’s why this is an Adventure.

Tomorrow we ride to Guanajuato, and I will tell you all about how wonderful the city of Zacatecas was.

Valentino out…

FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
Work is just the time you have to spend between rides.

The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode

V@lentino screwed with this post 12-17-2014 at 08:13 PM
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