Monday, May 19, 2008

Traffic Violations

I was on my way to the dentist the other day. There is a left turn lane that you can only take a left on with an arrow. In order to get to the street that the dentist is on, it is easiest to make a u-turn at the arrow and proceed to the next street and take a right and the dentist is 1/2 a block down.

I did this an normal, as we have done quite a few times now being that the whole family is on a mission to get all cleanings and fillings taken care of before out trip back to the US June 17th.

As soon as I made the u-turn I see some cops just ahead waving me over. There are two of them. They told me that it is illegal to make a u-turn at that light. Oh really? I ask them where the sign is that says no u-turn. He points down towards the sign but it was just far enough away where I couldn't really make things out so wasn't sure.

Because I can't speak Spanish very well I get my husband on the phone to talk to the traffic cop. After he talks to the cop trying to argue that a u-turn is legal right there, but him being on the phone and nothing he could do to argue really, my husband tells me to just pay him off with L100. That is about US $5. He was more than pleased to take the money and gave me a huge grin and shook my hand telling me to have a good day. Disgraceful man that he is.

I get to the dentist and apologize for my being late and explain that I was pulled over for making a u-turn at that light nearby. She asked if I got a ticket and I told her I hadn't but that I had paid him off. She shook her head. She told me that the cop was lying because she has lived in the neighborhood for 21 years and knows for sure that you can make a u-turn at that light and the cops were just looking for some quick money.

Aren't cops just lovely people over here?


Babsy said...

Hello Mama Sprout,
I love reading your blog! We lived in SPS for 5 years in the 90's. Went to highschool there. My Dad is from Honduras and Mom is from Guatemala. And although we spoke Spanish, my Mom and I had some adventures as transplants. My Mom had to learn to NOT trust people so easily. Your blog reminds me alot of those days. Thanks for the photos and posts!

Aaron Ortiz said...

I hate bribing people. I've had to take the long way though bureaucracy because of it. Corrupt officials love to prey on the uninformed or vulnerable.

In the case of traffic violations, just ask them if they are going to make you an esquela. If they are just bluffing, they won't be able to. If they aren't, at least the worst will be over quickly.

Anonymous said...

Ive been reading your blog for a while, at first I found it cute and nice to see you trying to settle in. But now all I read is pasive-agresive notes on how messed up Honduras is.
Is it really messed up? well yaha!, is it a choice to be here when you have the chance to live in AMERICA of all places? yaha!

Im NOT trying to fight with you, that would be wrong and dumb because I dont know you personally. But the blog is public for everyone to see and this are my two cents about it.

Honduras Sprout said...

Hi Babsy- I love hearing from people that have lived in Honduras and especially SPS. Thank you for the note!

Aaron- I know it's terrible to bribe and I said at one time that I wouldn't do it. Unfortunately, like you say, it is easier to pay them off then try and do right. He did say he was going to write me a ticket. Maybe it would have just said "illegal u-turn" and been hard to fight. I always say that next time I won't do that...ugh!

Anon- you are right I have a choice to live in America. It's just that my husband doesn't have that choice and that is why we are here in Honduras. If we both had that choice, both of us freely admit we would live in the states. Maybe that's not very clear. I knew life wasn't going to be all roses when I moved down here. I feel like I write about life. The good, the bad, the ugly. Sometimes I write about the kids or a bug or someplace we visited and yes, sometimes about stupid corruption. It's just life.

chicadedios25 said...

I don't know that Honduras is so much different from America these days.

It seems like the human race in general will do anything they can to make a quick buck these days...whether it is morally right or morally wrong.

Honduras Sprout said...

Hi chica- The difference I see is that in America it's not likely that you'd get pulled over for a made up traffic violation in the hopes to make some bribe money. If the cops in the states take payoffs, I'm guessing it's going to take a lot more than $5 too.

True there is corruption the world over, it's just done in different ways in different places. Some blatant and some covertly.