Countdown to Christmas

In 4 days I raced across the better half of the country to get to my buddy’s in Cancun in time for Christmas. Separating Cuernavaca from the Gulf Coast is a huge range of mountains. Dropping down the east side of these mountains I noticed some weird marking on the road. The lanes were drawn on the road to cross before and after the hairpin corners to keep the uphill traffic on the inside of the curve. If you’ve ever driven switchbacks this makes a lot of sense to keep momentum going, but doesn’t make alot of sense if the road is busy. Needless to say I descended without issue.IMG_6796IMG_6806
As I reached the bottom of the mountains and entered the state of Veracruz I stupidly followed somebody through a red light and was pulled over by some variety of traffic law enforcement. This was my first and worst encounter with Mexican police. The officer asked for my papers, so I showed him my BC licence and ICBC vehicle registration. He didn’t recognize the papers and insisted that I should have a Mexican vehicle permit. Had I stopped to get a tourist visa 3 weeks earlier when I entered Mexico, I probably would have gotten a vehicle permit as well. The guy went on to say that the fine was 1800 pesos and if I didn’t pay he would impound my car for the weekend because, being Friday at 2pm the offices were closed and I couldn’t get the papers I needed until Monday. I said I’ll follow you to the station and we can talk to the sheriff. As I followed the officer, he drove his little scooter and found another friend in uniform. IMG_6808 IMG_6811 IMG_6829
This is never good when you have two officers, because I have heard they will demand you pay each of them. At that point I realized I was going to have to bribe my way out of it. I started low and we met in the middle at 400 pesos. When I pulled out my wallet, I only had a 500. Do you think I got change, yea right.
They took my money and told me to take the highway because it had no toll all the way to Veracruz. I spent about 5 seconds debating whether they were liars before I carried on the two-lane slow-road to the coast. I ended up being right and passed signs for the toll highway later on.IMG_6831
The humidity hit me before I hit Veracruz. I rolled into the quiet, curious, oil-rich town late at night and found a quiet neighborhood to park in. After walking down the malecon and taking some long exposure photos of the highway, I settled into my van for a hot restless sleep.IMG_6834
I spent the next two days slightly panicked about future police encounters as I hucked the rest of the way through Tabasco, Chiapas, Yucatan and into Quintana Roo. I met more officers near the Guatemalan border, and gringo waved or talked my way out of paying any more fines for not having papers. One officer I met pulled me over and searched my vehicle. He told me I wasn’t allowed any fruit or eggs, nuts, or coconuts across the state lines. For some reason he gave me a break and asked for a refreshment in exchange for letting me go with my westcoast coconuts and myriad of other foods.
I rolled in to Cancun a few days before Christmas and was welcomed with open arms , buena noches beers, and a pool to cool down in at my oldschool grade 10 roommate Alberto’s house.

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