I got awoken by the lovely blaring of music at 6:30am. This is something I will never understand about Latin culture. Anyway, I packed up and made my way out of town after a little sleep-in once the music people went to work. I was about half a mile from the end of the town when I stupidly passed a slow taxi by crossing the double yellow line. This wouldn’t have been so bad had I looked ten feet further up the road and seen the three traffic cops standing there. I wasn’t even halfway past the taxi when they excitedly ran out in the road and flagged me down. CRAP!!!! Here comes my first bribe, I thought. As I got off the bike and removed my headphones and helmet, I contemplated my strategy. Profess deep sorrow and ask where to pay my “fine” or act dumb. I chose to act dumb because passing that taxi was… Well, dumb!
The woman looked at my Bermuda license and immediately pulled out her ticket book. She was rambling on in Spanish and barking infraction, infraction although I pretended not to know what she was saying. I then told her I didn’t speak Spanish and then fought like hell to be completely baffled when she told me I had to go to the bank in town and pay my two dollar ticket. I feigned complete ignorance and spoke only in English. After about ten minutes of my bewildered looks she wandered over to her fellow officers and I noticed out of the corner of my eye (the good one) that she had put away her ticket book. A few more hand gestures got me to understand that they were letting me go. Many, many thank you’s flowed out of my mouth. By this time a crowd had gathered and turns out a guy who owns an apartment in Orlando was walking by. We chatted for a bit and pointed me on my way to Leon. WHEW!!!!! Who knew acting dumb works 🙂
Interestingly enough, at the very next town I was stopped by another traffic police checkpoint. The guy was on the radio and I swear he was talking to the guys who stopped me before. They proceeded to speak rapid Spanish at me and I kept up the dumb act just in case. In fact, they just wanted to meet me and shook my hand many times as I somehow conveyed that I was on my way to Costa Rica. An hour later, I was in Leon and somehow managed to find my way around the maze of one way streets until I found the Bigfoot Hostel. I decided to try the hostel scene to see if I was missing something by not co-habitating with other folk :). Turns out what I was missing was a uncomfortable bed, no hot water, no air conditioning, no privacy, no security and a whole lot of broke college kids who knew too little and talked too much! However… I liked the idea of sleeping in a bed next to half naked 20 year old college coeds so I told the manager to make sure it was only all girls in my room. Me and 7 girls… That works 🙂