Saturday, May 30, 2009

getting pulled over in honduras

Jose and I left the house this morning just before 9 am to go to a funeral. As we crossed the Blvd. Suyapa, we noticed 2 police officers on a motorcycle pointing at us. We kept driving, because how were we supposed to know that pointing meant pull over? When Jose realized they were pulling us over, he put on his seatbelt (whoops!).

We pulled over in a gas station parking lot about a block down. The 2 police officers approached the car. Jose handed one of the officers his license and registration. Jose asked why he had been pulled over. The officer said that it was because he didn't have his seatbelt on.

"Yes I did," Jose lied. (Quick note to people that don't know how things work here: Please don't judge us for lying to the police. :) It's a different world here. The only thing that would have happened if we had told the truth was they would have expected us to pay a bigger bribe than if we hadn't done anything wrong.)

"I saw didn't have your seatbelt on," the officer says.

"I DID have my seatbelt on," Jose lied again.

"I think that you just woke up and you are still kind of asleep and you didn't remember to put your seatbelt on," the officer said to Jose.

The officer asked his little sidekick, "What do you think? Should I give him a ticket?" The sidekick said, "Yeah, I think you should."

The officer then asked Jose again, "Were you wearing your seatbelt?"

Jose lied again, "I told you I was."

Then the two officers really started to play their little game, trying to get a bribe from us. "What do you think, man? Should I give him a ticket? Yeah, man, you should do it." They were trying to get us to beg, "No! Don't give us a ticket! We'll pay you a bribe instead!" Jose didn't say a word.

At that point I thought it might help our cause if they knew there was a gringa in the car. I took off my sunglasses, lowered my head, made direct eye contact with both of them, and said something to Jose in English. The officer asked Jose, "Where are you from? Are you Honduran?" Jose told him yes. "And her?" the officer asked. "I'm from the US," I replied directly to him in Spanish.

The two officers looked at each other, and then told Jose that he was free to go. Shocking, considering they saw him without his seatbelt, and then he lied to them about it.

I'm pretty sure my white skin and blonde hair had something to do with it. Jose is soo lucky to have this gringa as his wife. ;) hehe


Live Simply Love Strongly said...

What? How did that help? Please explain...seeing your pretty gringa face made them suddenly decide not to ticket him? :)

Hannah said...

Haha. No...I think maybe they are worried that they will get in trouble if they bribe someone from the US. ?? Maybe they thought I was a diplomat or employee of the US embassy...that would also make them scared of the consequences of asking for a bribe. Who knows. All I do know is that he has NEVER gotten a ticket or paid a bribe while I was in the car!

Jane said...

We blondes ain't as dumb as they think! ha ha. In Douglas' 1st week in San Salvador he was pulled over on the first day of driving his new vehicle due to an improper turn - he ended up paying a $65.
00 bribe to the police - perhaps for future pullovers he will be happy too when his blonde good luck charm arrives down there! he he

Lynette said...

Nothing wrong with using what the good Lord gave you :) I know when I was visiting and my fiance and I were traveling through Choluteca, he was pulled over for who knows what and the guy asked for both of our IDs. Thank God I had my drivers license with me (my passport was in a safe at the house), because he looked at my license then my fiance. My fiance said she's visiting from over there and he let us go on our merry way. I admire you because I'm a little afraid of them. Just a few weeks ago he was given a ticket for not having a seat belt and they took his license from him on the scene. I know here in the US we have corruption, but I really love my US police force.

La Gringa said...

I think it is more preference for women. I wrote about this, too:

Playing the dumb immigrant card

PS. Did anything ever happen with Claro and your theft?

DON GODO said...

I agree, he is lucky!!!