Saturday, January 24, 2009

blow in my hat

I really hope you appreciate the police and the technology in the US after reading this story....

Back in October, Jose and I were watching tv one night. I decided that I wanted some ice cream (a very frequent occurrence) and we decided to go to the drive-thru at Baskin Robbins.

We got our ice cream and we were headed back to the house when we were pulled over. The police officer came to the window and asked Jose to get out of the car. He did. The officer asked Jose if he had been drinking. Jose said no. The officer said he thought he was lying. Jose said, "Officer, I have not had a drop to drink. I am in pajamas and have ice cream cones in the car. We are just on our way home." The officer replied, "I don't believe you, blow in my hat."

?? Are you as confused as I was ??

Evidently, this is the equivalent of a breathalizer in Honduras. That's right. You blow in the officer's hat, and if he thinks he smells alcohol (or just wants a nice bribe) then you are drunk.

Jose blew in his hat, and the officer determined that he was, in fact, not drunk. Miraculously, he let us go without asking for a bribe. For the next few seconds, I repeatedly said, "BLOW IN MY HAT???? WHAT KIND OF LEGAL TEST IS THAT???" It took a few minutes to get over the shock.

As we headed back home, I told him, "Jose, I think your license plate is in the system. You are always getting pulled over for no reason." (He has gotten pulled over 3 or 4 times in the last 6 months.) He laughed. "What system??" he asked. "If my plate is in 'their system' it's just written on a piece of paper in their car." Appalled, I asked, "How do they dispatch other officers for help? How do they search to see if there are any warrants? HOW do they know the car isn't stolen if they can't check the plates?" He laughed again. "They don't."

And that is how it works in Honduras.

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