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

27 Apr

By now my Spanish is good enough that I’m not afraid to argue so I asked him “what’s the problem?”  To make a long story short, we “debated” whether or not I had exceeded the speed limit and had made a dangerous pass.  Finally realizing that it was not an argument that I could win I said “this is bullshit” (in English).   He said “que es bullshit”.  At which point I thought better of translating and just said “give me the ticket”.  You see, at that point he had not made any marks in his ticket book because the game is that you’re supposed to ask how much is the fine for your particular infraction and then offer to pay “the fine” on the spot.  You haven’t actually offered him a bribe.  You’ve just asked a fair question.  But you’ve given him the opportunity to accept the money (as though he would turn it in to the proper authority), thus saving yourself the trouble of jumping through the hoops you need to jump though to pay a ticket in this country.  And therefore since the cop hasn’t made a mark in his ticket book he can pocket the money and you both go away happy. 

 “Give me the ticket” might have worked like it did before if it weren’t for the fact that just at that moment another cop pulled up on a motorcycle.  Now they’re talking in rapid fire Spanish that I can’t follow but the bottom line is that the guy is forced to write the ticket because he can’t proceed with a bribe (oops, did I just use that nasty word?) with another cop witnessing.  He writes the ticket but refuses to give me my license.  I say “what the fuck is this?”  It turns out the other cop speaks enough English to explain to me that this guy has decided to suspend my license and that it will remain suspended for from twelve to eighteen months (he must have promised his wife dinner that night and now he sees that slipping away and is pissed).  And it is my California driver’s license.


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