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Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Fuzznuts, Jul 11, 2010.
Yeh, but.....dollars or pesos?
I'm with Mark on this. Folks that drop absurd amounts of cash just to be on their way do a dis-service to all of us who follow. Cops will try harder to extract money from us and its a big PITA.
In the last year of riding in Latin America, ZERO mordidas paid, but many games played.
My favorite one was in Panama. Cop stops me, says I was speeding. I say, OK, write me a ticket. He says that for 20 bucks, he wont write me a ticket and I can go on my way. I tell him that its illegal to give him a bribe, and I think that he is trying to set me up so he can put me in jail. So I refuse. Cop gets pissed off and leaves. Total game time, less than 1 minute and I'm on my way.
Keep your freaking wallets closed unless you really fk'd up. In that case, every mordida is negotiable, so at least get it down to something reasonable. I like 5 bucks, nice round figure.
It was dollars. I'm not proud of it... it happened, I just put it out there for all to see. I'll live with the guilt and try harder to use some of the suggestions you've all made. I understand the problem of gringos coming down here and over tipping and paying too much for land, etc. I've been leading tours over twelve years and am not in the habit of spreading money around. This town has caused me enough problems that I thought I'd pass the word. I've done that. Hope it helps someone. Fuzznuts, eyeneo.com
Thanks for being honest. I understand about the customer/reservation thing, but paying big mordidas like that really does give the cops extra motivation to collect from all travelers. We all feel the effects.
I understand that you did what you had to do at the time. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
I would like to make a suggestion. Why not brief your group ahead of time how to deal with these cops??? Obviously you are a very experienced guide and know how to play the game. Why not impart some of that great knowledge to your clients? I think there would be great experiences to be had by all from this exercise.
Since you obviously ride through quite a bit, the cops might get to know you, and maybe learn not to fuck with you or your clients.
What is he to tell them? That they're easy pickings, might be hit up for bribes, etc?
This must one a guide's real nightmares, along with medical needs, mechanical problems, emotional stuff (hissy fits), traffic and keeping the chicks all together, hoping prior hotel bookings are good, and a ton of other stuff.
The guide is mission-oriented to get the chicks to specific locations within some time frame. Maybe their pussies hurt; maybe they're hungry, maybe they don't want to deal with toll change...an endless list of possibilities.
The guide is a babysitter plus a ton. He's not dealing with only his own problems
I'm loud and clear regarding paying off the cops, personally, but if he has chicks aboard, it can be a very different story.
Well yeah, something just like that. And then he can tell them how to deal productively with situations that arise. Is he offering tours of Mexico, or of some sort of fantasyland? If Mexico, this is all a part of the experience....and teaching them to toss hundreds of dollars around at the slightest provocation is teaching them the wrong lesson (in addition to making it difficult for the rest of us).
I don't think this is rocket science, exactly--particularly not for a guide of 12 years' standing. It'd be the same but worse, in Africa or elsewhere. In fact, the situation as described sounds kind've commonplace, maybe even lightweight. Guide and clients should both be prepared to work with it, just as they ought to know how to order a cup of coffee, say please and thank you at appropriate moments, and where to throw the used toilet paper.
That doesn't mean I don't appreciate his coming on here and telling the truth in order to help others in the future. I do. But it doesn't stop there.
Sounds like you don't have a lot of faith in the ability of women to learn, adapt, and take care of themselves. Me, I hold them to the same standards as anyone else....and they generally live up to it as well as--sometimes better than--men. I've been in plenty of situations on the road where the women hold it together while the men flake out and collapse.
But that's just my perspective.
I totally understand his situation.
But sure, why not tell them that they will be hit up for bribes? Maybe if the client wont open up their wallets it would help him deal with the situation. After all, a big group of gringo bikers passing though is like payday for some of these cops. Might as well at least try to discourage the cops from jacking you up each and every time you come through with a group of clients.
I'm sure he did the best he could do and still keep all the clients happy. Yeah, its a fine line between politely telling the cops to get fucked, and then dealing with whiney pussies in your group afterward.
I hope he makes a pretty good living doing moto tours, because that is a pain in the ass dealing with all the problems.
I've paid my share as well. Not proud of it either. I had an incident a couple years ago when I almost went through the windshield of Policia Federal Dodge Charger that ran off the road avoiding me while I was doing close to triple digits passing a doble semi on a blind curve. I wound up paying a mordida. It was 80 or 90 bucks IIRC, but that cop had me. I fucked up, I lived to tell about it, and I paid up. That was the first time that I didnt think a Mexican cop was bluffing about impounding the bike. I waited him out and tried negotiating for over two hours and I was not making any progress. So I paid up.
LR was using the term "chicks" like those things the mother hen (guide) has to look after.
OK, I need to get off this idiot box and go to the bar and drink beer with the smoking hot German girls that just walked by my table............... Been raining non stop for the last 4 days here in southern Ecuador and Im bouncing off the walls.
Ah, well. Too much "chick" and "pussy" in a single post for me to decipher.
Good on you Kiko, but you probably have never caused a Federal Police capitan to run his car off the road in order to not have you come through his windscreen at a closure rate of around 200 mph.
In Ontario, this would land you in prison, they'd take your bike, and if you're not Canadian, you'd be banned from the country after serving time. In Wisconsin, you'd lose your license, and maybe go to jail for a week, more likely you'd get a bracelet to keep you home. In Panama, you'd go to jail fir a day. Then you'd pay a big big fine.
This is just another reason to love Mexico.
I see it as being very stressful, running a sharp operation.
The variables are almost unlimited.
Mother Hen, yes.
Yes, most other places I would have been royally screwed if I lived to tell about it.
I got off easy for my sins. And also learned another thing. Those Police Chargers are pretty fast.
It just goes to show you, its the stuff that you dont expect, (like a police hot rod doing triple digits coming opposite direction) that will get you killed. Of course among numerous other obstacles as well.
Just a note to adjust the perception. Only seasoned riders ride on my tours. None of them are pussies unless some day I'm lucky enough to find one who actually has one. She still needs to ride well. As you all know, it requires a steady hand with bus's on Guatemalan highways.
I just retired two LC4s and bought two 08 KLRs for long term reliability. When I leave on a tour with my bikes, I know they have new wheel bearings and chains and sprockets and tires. Paperwork is figured out for the borders and I mostly know where I'm going. This is the slot that a seasoned rider can slip into without thinking himself a pussy. Usually it's a buddy ride where two friends come to ride, drink and surf their way through Central America without problems.
Getting customers in trouble with cops is an adventure, to be sure, but not something I'm looking to do. Adventure has a way of finding you somehow.... see upcoming new page on my site. Fuzznuts, Eyeneo.com
The only place I've has serious trouble was north of Lima. I even tried to out-run the assholes, only to discover, to my horror, that those old landcruisers are really, really fast. My top speed, fully-twisted, was only around 100 mph, but I didn't want to push the pig quite so hard. I'd guess that the cops' landcruisers can do over 125 mph.
For the record, I wasn't doing anything wrong when they wanted me to pull over. All they wanted was a $200 bribe. Luckily I had been warned by a German rider that the stretch north of Lima is full of bandito-cops, that they demand $200 bribes. He had been forced to hand over $200. I didn't give in. I did call the US Embassy during one of the stops. I can't remember exactly how many times they stopped me- maybe 5?
Special Mordida Money.....whatever you don't use to pay the cops, the kids will love
A light day, huh?
Like the cops in Tampico, the cops north of Lima had learned how to make lots of extra money off of overlanders. That the German had given in, just the day before- this made them bolder. Later I heard stories of these Lima cops also extorting money from a couple in a right-hand-drive landrover defender. They basically impounded the thing until the brits driving it got the British embassy involved. The Lima cops must be working with the Mexico cops.
Wait a second... now I remember more of the story. Once one pair of assholes realized I wouldn't pay, they pretended to be regular guys, and we got into a conversation about iPods. This one asshole had a really cool mp3 player. He got it in Mexico City, on a trip to Mexico the year before. He'd gone to a police convention there.
Which is much the point. If these are the guys near Trujillo, I ran into a pair of riders who'd given them US$200. I didn't. You didn't. Lots of people apparently do....and then say they had no choice. Maybe that's true, but for some reason I doubt it.
I'm always intrigued when, after acting like genuine shitheads for a half hour or so, they suddenly become my best friends without money changing hands. I interpret this to mean that they don't actually think they're doing anything wrong--what's to be ashamed of? A little extortion and some minor threats between best buddies?
In any case, I'd rather follow behind someone who didn't pay than someone who did.
(still in Antigua, where an attempted minor fix to my choke cable seems to have broken my choke mechanism....in a manner impossible to figure out in the dark while it's raining)
You sure that isn't spelled "Coger Co SA de CV."?
Sometimes it's like living a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. The cops threaten you with everything, including death; you don't give in; they say "you passed the test, Brother! We can now be friends! Where did you get your iPod?! I have never seen one in green! Come now to my house! With such a noble man as You I would be honored to share my wife!"
And then in true Gabriel Garcia Marquez fashion, someone would be shot. I often like the idea of all the high-ranking policemen being shot. When the war in Colombia was bad, they were doing that regularly. It didn't really work to stop corruption, but it made everyone feel better.