Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Naiveté, thy name is Mo (and The Husband)

A few years ago, The Husband and I went to Cancun for a vacation. While we were there, we decided to rent a car and take a day trip to Tulum. I highly recommend doing this if you are planning a trip, because Tulum is just gorgeous. We spent a few hours wandering around the ruins and then took an incredibly refreshing dip in the ocean. Well, I took a dip. The Husband just waded because he had a broken hand. Still, it was a great day.

On the way back, we realized we were out of cash. We figured we’d stop at an ATM before dropping the car off. Unfortunately, just a few short miles from town, we got pulled over for speeding. “Aw, man!” I said, as the cop approached the car. “I don’t even think you were driving that fast!”

“I wasn’t the fastest car on the road, that’s for sure,” The Husband replied, rolling down the window.

“Hola,” said the cop.

“Hola,” we replied. Then we spent a few minutes struggling to communicate. Although the cop’s English was weak, it was better than our nonexistent Spanish, and we eventually understood that he was telling us that we were speeding, and we would have to go down to city hall to pay a 300 peso fine. But, if we had the cash, we could just pay him 150 pesos right there and save a trip.

“That’s weird,” The Husband and I thought. “I guess things work differently in Mexico.” But, unfortunately, we were completely out of money. We tried to tell the cop this, and get him to just give us the ticket so we could move on with our lives. He, however, was very insistent that we should just pay him the 150 pesos. He didn’t seem to believe us when we said we had no money.

Finally, The Husband opened up his wallet and showed the gaping emptiness to the cop. The cop heaved a huge sigh, rolled his eyes, and gave up on us. “Just go ahead,” he said. I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist.

“Really?” said The Husband. “What about the ticket?” But the cop just waved us on and went back to his motorcycle, shaking his head.

The Husband and I were thrilled. “Wow!” we said to each other. “That was really weird! I wonder why he just let us go!”

Because, you see, we still didn’t get it. In fact, we didn’t get it until at least a year later when we were sharing this anecdote with some friends of ours.

“He was asking for a bribe,” our friend said.

The light dawned. “Oh my word, he was totally asking for a bribe,” I said.

“We’re complete idiots,” said The Husband.

But hey, we didn’t have to pay anything! So I guess ignorance is bliss.


Leah Lar said...

Dude. It did not occur to me that he was asking for a bribe at. all.

Mo said...

I guess you're a complete idiot too.