Sunday, June 5, 2011
5/11/11 - More Dickhead Cops and One Step Closer to Home - : Tampico - Monterrey, MX. 330 miles, 10 hours.
I leave Tampico and soon wind my way from the center of town to the main highway leading north. This place is notorious for corrupt traffic cops, who like to pull over foreign dudes on motorcycles and solicit bribes for fake infractions. It happened to me here a few years ago, where in the interest of time I paid a $3.50 bribe (talked down from $50). My mindset is different now though, were I to be pulled over. As mentioned many times previously in the past several posts, I'm hot, exhausted, dirty and ready to come home. I head north obeying speed limits and traffic lights while sticking close to the backs of big trucks, trying to stay as out of sight as possible. I see a couple of cops but they are preoccupied. I see another pair of 'em and they are busy as well, and I'm pretty sure I am good now and relax a bit. Until the pair I just saw speed up and pull right next to me, frantically signaling me over. I'm pissed, and there is no way I'm paying shit. A young kid/cop steps out and points me to the SUV they rolled up in where I confront his superior. He has a ruleboook out and is angrily (in a contrived and unbelievable manner) pointing out a rule which states that motorcycles need to be in the right lane only. Ummm..Ok guy. This is the point where I am supposed to pretend I don't know Spanish at all and sit around for 20 minutes babbling incoherently until they get frutrated and let me go. I'm too sick of this shit to put on a show this time though. They start asking me for money, money, money. I say no. The kid-cop is especially annoying, he seems to not know what the fuck he is doing and just keeps parroting his superior. They say I should go to an ATM. No. I finally tell them to do whatever they need to do, I have NO money for them. There is a Mexican (literally?) standoff happening now, me looking disgusted, alternately at them and the ground and them just sitting there trying to think of another way to extract the dinero. After a while I soften up a bit and just tell them that look, I've been out of my country for 8 months, its my last day here and I just want to go home with a minimum of fuss. The guy realizes no exchange of funds will likely be happening, and maybe even sympathizes with me a bit and disappointedly tells me I can head on out.
Still annoyed but pleased at myself for not giving an inch, I head north across the flat desert plains of northern Mexico, eventually crossing into the state of Nuevo Leon, my last Mexican state of the trip. Not as humid, but with the temperature spiking even higher and no cloud cover, I duck into an OXXO (Mexican 7-11's now at most gas stations) every hour or 2 to soak up the AC. I see a big ass thermometer at one point on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere which reads 34C, which is somewhere in the 90's pretty hot for May. I notice that Mexico is becoming more modernized than even the last time I was here. Little things like the proliferation of OXXO's, the accepting of credit cards more frequently, etc. It is still a pretty long day for me, and I had planned to stay at Monterrey for 1 night to take care of some last minute things before crossing back into the United States. Monterrey is HUGE. Like 4 million people- huge and it takes me an hour to even figure out how to get downtown. After another couple of hours of stopping, using the internet, getting one last 1 dollar shoe shine, and finally, after much searching, finding the hostel I was looking for, I settle into a dorm, which I have to myself for the night. It is clean enough, but its 5 flights of steep stairs up, and the heat in the room is pretty unbearable, even with the windows open and the ceiling fans going. After a half hour of lugging my shit up the stairs, I head out for some food and to the downtown/pedestrian area for a quick look. Not too impressive, and soon I'm back at the hostel where I wind down and hit the sack for one last hot night in Mexico.