Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Mexican Lawlessness

Edit: After looking at it again, this post seemed kind of long, so here are the Cliff's Notes:

1. Mexico is lawless.
2. There are no crosswalks -- only jaywalkers.
3. They have no vehicle code.
4. No need to sign a waiver when doing a dangerous activity like horseback riding
5. You only have to be able to walk to get alcohol.
6. The cops can be easily bribed for what in America would be an arrestable offense.

Original post:
As I mentioned before, I spent some of my vacation stowed away on a cruise ship. One of the stops the boat made was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I took the opportunity to get out of the cargo hold and stretch my legs a little, and entered a foreign country for the first time in my life. It was probably a good place to start, since I came into a tourist town where most everyone speaks English, and the cash registers have a handy button to convert from Pesos to dollars.

What I did notice however was the absolute lawlessness. Our first stop was "Siempre WalMart", where we had to pick up some bottled water, because as they say, if you drink the water in Mexico, you'll be making a run for the border. The WalMart was across the street from the docks, but at first I was confused on how to get there. There was a road, but no signals and no crosswalks. I then observed for a few minutes and realized why these things were unnecessary -– people just walk across the street wherever and whenever they want. It doesn't matter if cars are coming, if there is a cop, or anything else.

After getting our water, we boarded the tourbus that took us to the horseback riding ranch. There were no windows on the bus, but that didn't matter, because there are no vehicle safety regulations either. Once at the ranch, we saddled up for our ride. The nice thing about having no laws is that there was no pesky paperwork to sign, either. We just showed up and hopped on. There was one small sign warning us that, "You might be injured riding a horse." That was pretty much it.

After a fun but uneventful ride through Mexico, we returned to the ranch for a tequila tasting. It was there that they purveyors handed out cups to everyone there (including the twelve year old boy) and starting pouring shot after shot of tequila. I think I had about six. I think the twelve year old had more.

On our ride back on the bus, we did almost have an experience with the law. The bus driver decided to completely ignore a red light, blowing through a solid red at full speed. All of us on the bus saw it, but didn't think much of it. However, it seems the cops (yes, they actually have cops) did seem to mind, and pulled us over. However, it was a rouse. The driver jumped out of the bus - a move that would have gotten him shot in America - and ran up to the cop with his license and a few bucks. Here is a picture of the cops. It is hard to make out the bribe, because we didn't want to use a flash.

The Federales

After seven minutes, we were back on the road. I must say, the system works much better when you don't have to deal with things like rules and lawyers and such.