SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis –

21 Apr

chapter 33 continued

Because all Marchamo’s in the entire country are supposed to be paid in December.  I bought the car in October and of course the Marchamo was valid so it was my responsibility to renew it in December.  So now I’ve got the whole picture.  These guys were pulling everybody over that had the wrong color Marchamo in their window (it changes each year).       Oh boy, I’m calmed down, I’m resigned, and I say once again “ok, do what you have to do” at which point the guy who speaks English say’s “just a minute, the guy with the tools is saying something.”  They exchange a few quick words, too fast for me to catch, and the guy say’s to me “he say’s if you’ll pay the ticket here he won’t take your plates”.  I get it!!  No problem, how much?  40,000 colones (about $80).  I whip it out (I had long since learned to carry colones).  But now I have another question.  Ok, I get to keep my plates but what next.  Well, coincidence of coincidences (LOL), the town just up ahead has all the offices I need to go through the rest of the process and get my new Marchamo.  I really didn’t want to go through the whole process right then because I actually was headed to that town, but to take care of other business (which, you’ll get to read that crazy story too).  So I ask if I can do this at a more convenient time in a more convenient town, like the one that’s only one hour down a rough dirt road from where I live.  He say’s “no” for two reasons.  One, the town up ahead is the only one around where I can do all this (it’s kind of like a county seat) and two, if I get stopped again it’ll be the same process and another $80.

Well, I got it all done and was going to flip them off on my way back to Junquillal but they weren’t there.  They’ll have happy wives tonight.  A nice dinner out and who knows, they just might get lucky.

An interesting side note here.  Of course the government decries police corruption but is talking out of both sides of its mouth.  The police are notably underpaid, as acknowledged by the government, and yet are expected to do their jobs acting in accordance with the highest standards of integrity and thoroughness.  But they have hungry mouths to feed at home too.  This, of course, does not excuse them for their corruption but does provide insight and perspective. 

Now then, along comes the next opportunity to test the detector.  I have no idea why this cop is pulling me over.  I think I came around a corner or crested a hill that he had his gun aimed at because when my detector went off it was too late.  But by now I’m really fed up with paying their bribes so as he’s going through his spiel I just keep repeating “give me the ticket”, “give me the ticket”…..   Finally he stops, looks at me disappointedly and tells me to leave.  Hmmmm, I’ve learned something.  Apparently if you don’t whip out your money it’s better for them to cut their losses, so to speak, and move on to the next victim.


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