I woke up this morning fully expecting to spend at least one more day on the Emerald Coast. Gerry woke up this morning fully expecting to turtle on down the road to Altamira. Gerry turned out to be right. As much as I like the ghost town known as Costa Esmeralda, the weather forecast promised cold and rain for the next few days, making hanging around the beach seem a little silly.
We were the only people at Trailer Park Neptuno.
They continue to show pride in the campground, keeping it well groomed, well maintained and clean. I can see why every time I have read a blog about the dozen or so trailer parks in this area, this one always gets the best reviews.
I would like to say the drive from point A to point B was uneventful, but alas, it was not.
We were driving through a small town near Cerro Azul, slowly because there were many topes. I decided it was a good time to make my way to the little room at the back of Myrtle best described as a WC. We were going slow, Gerry was aware I'd be back there without a seatbelt...what could go wrong?
Well, just at that moment when you are getting ready to stand up and you are sort of bent forward, Gerry hit the brakes. I flew off the toilet like a torpedo, head first into the wall which is only about 1 foot in front of the throne. Holy ouch!!! My head, my neck, my upper back, my arm.....feels like I've been hit by a motor home! That on top of already being half crippled up from the long drives over the last couple of days has left me very very grumpy indeed.
The police officer that pulled us over in Tampico got the brunt of my bad mood. Fortunately, that is good for us, bad for him because it could have gone either way.
Corruption among Mexican traffic police is rampant.
Church's book warns us that Tampico traffic cops are an RVers nightmare, and stresses the importance of taking the bypass road. We took that road coming down and it was horrible. Potholes, bad signage, detours and very poor directions in Church's book. Our friend John Kobak suggested to us that we drive right through Tampico. He does, and if he gets pulled over he just says he is going to the airport. You can't get to the airport by taking the access route. Ok, that sounded good to us...so we took his advice.
We drove past a traffic cop who was on foot and he waved us over. Gerry ignored him, and kept on driving knowing full well he just wanted to see if he could get some money out of us. I watched in the back up camera and saw him turn around and start running. Oh oh, he was going to chase after us!
The next thing we knew, about 2 blocks down, he was beside us in a car, lights flashing telling us to pull over. He and his partner were yelling at Gerry and the only words we could make out were: hospital, ticket and oficia policia. Gerry gave him a photo copy of his drivers licence, but he also wanted the paperwork for Myrtle. Gerry gave him the ownership.
The officer continued to yell and look very stern. Finally he handed Gerry a telephone, there was a woman on the other end. Gerry couldn't understand her, so he handed it to me. The woman told me that the officers were going to write us two tickets, one for speeding in a hospital zone (we weren't speeding and there was no hospital zone) and one for resisting arrest. I said that simply wouldn't do, we weren't speeding and we weren't resisting arrest. She put me on hold and I handed the phone back to the officer. After another ten minutes of him talking into the telephone he handed me a radio. There was a man on the other end. We went back and forth, back and forth, him saying we were going to get tickets that add up to 3500 pesos, me saying we didn't do anything wrong. He kept saying things like, you are in Mexico, you can't just do whatever you want.
Gerry kept telling me to offer them 1000 pesos, but I adamantly refused. I said that I would rather go to the police station and pay a ticket than pay a bribe.
Finally the man on the radio came out with it. He told me that they were going to write me only one ticket which I would have to go to the police station to pay, but I could arrange to just pay the officer some money and he would agree to not write a ticket.
I very forcefully said oh well, so...what you are saying is you three are trying to shake me down! Not a chance! You aren't even a cop are you? Tell them to take us to the police station. He hung up on me. I handed the radio back to the cop, they gave us back our paperwork and sent us on our way. lol.
I wasn't very impressed with Gerry ignoring the cop in the first place, but lucky for him I turned the wrath of Brenda on the corrupt traffic cops.
The moral of the story. NEVER give in and pay the corrupt traffic cops bribes. They don't want to give you a ticket and will let you go.
Myrtle is now tucked in snug as a bug in a rug in Altamiro, Tampico in the parking lot of a nice little hotel called Country Express Hotel. Tomorrow we will turtle on down (or is that up?) to San Fernando de Presas and the next day we will be crossing the border into the U.S.