Holiday budgeting for bribes

Re: Mexican corruption targets local residents, Chilliwack Progress, March 29.

Dr. Jones incident in Mexico is typical and should come as no surprise out of the safe havens of tourist areas.  My brother, dad and I recently motor biked from Vancouver to Panama and Mexico police/border agents/military were some of the easiest to deal with.  It’s wild in the rural parts of these countries.  Try Honduran police; now they know how to shake you down.  Having driven/rode in a lot of Third World countries (Indonesia, Thailand etc), here are some tips.  1)Pick vehicles with tinted windows  2)Take off any insignia that says it’s a rental (they didn’t notice or care) 3)Be assertive and borderline insubordinate,  they’re not like professional police forces. 4) Negotiate, they don’t want to take you in 5)Carry lots of American ones and fives, 5) If you have a passenger, good cop bad cop routine.

We budgeted 600 bucks for three of us on bribes through seven countries and 15 border crossings, and it turned out to be about right.  We started at about $30 for speeding but by the end paid $5 to $10 once you know the ropes.

Don’t let this stop you from visiting these countries, they are incredible and that part of it is the cost of doing business!

Blane Reynolds

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