Monday, February 05, 2007

Good Cop Bad Cop, its all the same
Yesterday, after escaping the driving hell that is Lima, we were on the road to Huaraz in the mountains. The guide book said 6 hours, we left at 9.30am and got here at 8pm so that´s a load of bollocks. Anyway, one of the reasons we were late in getting here was all thanks to one of Peru´s finest. Cruising slowly though a small town, the cop in the police car on the other side of the road nearly dropped his coffee and donuts as we rode past. Looking in my rear view mirror, I saw the car pull out, do a U-turn and start to follow us. Bugger thinks I. We get pretty much to the outskirts of the town when the car overtakes Michelle, sits behind me and flashes his lights. Double bugger.

The fat man strides over smiling to where we´ve pulled in, commences with the Buenos Diaz greeting and in reasonable English the usual ´Where are you from/going to/ how long, are you married etc´. Then he starts talking about my bike, pointing to my tank he says ´ooh, its a BMW, how much does it cost?´ At first I think he said how big is the tank and I say 22 Litres. He goes ´ooh, 22 mille dolleres eh?´ Oh no, says I, it´s more like 3,000 if I´m lucky. Generally I don´t like answering this question (which I get asked a hell of a lot here) but thinking he seems harmless enough, I don´t mind in this instance.

Anyway, once the pleasantries were out the way, he next asks for my driving licence so I give him one of my crappily laminated copies, they don´t know the difference anyway. You get stopped all the time here and its not unusual to be asked for your licence, vehicle registration or import document several times a day. On the way to Machu Picchu, a cop stopped me and asked for my Vehicle Registration which actually I´d left at the hotel. Shitting it, I hand him my laminated driving licence which he is happy enough with. Anyway, back to this looser, he pulls out a small book and points to a paragraph, quite evidently relating to speed fines and then to the figure of 170 soles (about 30 quid).

Apparently, if I understood him right, we were doing 45kph in a 35kph zone according to this prick, but he also mentions something about 80kph so who really knows, although there´s no mention of where this dreaded offence took place. I´m then summoned over to the rozzer mobile and am told that it will cost 170 soles. I refuse to pay this as A) he had no evidence to give me of the offence/s ie radar, camera etc, he just pointed to his knackered looking speedometer B) I told him there weren´t any speed signs to no avail C) I asked to go to the police station to deal with this but it turned out this was in Lima (like bollocks it was) and D) I wanted some paperwork like a ticket but I got nothing.

Oh, and his English speaking capabilities had suddenly reduced to a few smiling ´no intiendos´ to all my requests. In the end, he reduced his pathetic demand to 85 soles which I stupidly ended up paying. I won´t next time, I´ll be wasting a lot more of their time than mine I can assure you. Anyway, as I had to give him a 100 soles note, I demanded change. Turning round smiling to his rather silent co-wanker, who I understood him to say ´just tell him we have no change´so wanker no 1 produced an empty ashtray and with a sorrowfull look said, ´look we have no change´. I persisted though and eventually got my change.

This is the first time we´ve had any problems with the police as on the whole, they´ve been very helpful and friendly. So continuing on our merry way to Huaraz, every town, and I mean every town has a cop car at right angles to the road watching the comings and goings. My new trick is to slow down to a total crawl and give the bastards a hearty big wave. As its very vague as to what the speed limits actually are, I reckon we´ll be seeing a lot more of this behaviour on the road ahead...stay tuned.

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