Last week when driving out of Walmart onto a two way street cut by a couple of separated islands which allow for two way traffic to turn into either lane, I made a split second decision to turn left going the wrong way so I could quickly turn right between the islands and head in the exact direction I wanted. Otherwise I would have had to turn right and then go around the block. I should also note that the exit to Walmart is right next to an intersection with traffic lights. Just as I exited the parking lot the lights turned green meaning that oncoming traffic was headed my way - and I was facing the wrong direction. Leading the traffic was a motorcycle cop, who I unfortunately did not see until it was too late.
He immediately spotted me and began saying something, though I couldn't hear with my windows up. He indicated for me to pull over, which I did. He then drove up behind me, unmounted and approached my window. Feeling amazingly calm I apologized and pleaded my ignorance of the Mexican driving laws. The officer was very nice, but firm, indicating that it was my responsibility to know the laws of this land. He asked for my license and then began to tell me it was expired. Knowing it wasn't I pointed to the expiration date - sometime in 2009.
The officer began to write me a ticket and explained he was going to take my license and I would have to pick it up out of town at some station once I paid my ticket. Wait a gosh darn minute. You are not taking my US license. I don't care what I've done. I've heard of cops taking license plates off cars for being parked illegally but never a license.
I began to explain to the officer that I didn't want to lose my license and asked if there was another was to resolve this issue. Without getting into too many details (use your imagination), I was able to leave with my license in hand and without receiving a ticket. I even introduced myself to the officer and feel like I've made a friend. I have to tell you he was really nice.
I'm sure there are many who have horror stories of experiences with police whether they be in Mexico and abroad. And I'm sure many of them are true. Luckily for me my experience was a pleasant one. And from now on I'm going to drive going the correct way on the street and will obey the traffic laws more closely.
Playa del Carmen Condo and Villa Vacation Rentals
Views from Punta Roca, a condo complex in Puerto Adventuras, which is about 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. I'm taking this photo from a balcony in a condo owned by a friend of a friend.
Mitzi poses for the camera. I swear she's such a ham!