Sunday, May 08, 2005

Bribery in Costa Rica

This is Roberta telling you her little exciting story about bribery and not passing a smog check. Adam, fortunately had to work, and did not accompany me.

I've been reading in Tico Times that the government has been trying to crack down on bribery, but luckily that hasn't happened in our case.

So in our previous blogs you may have read that we have successfully purchased a legal vehicle in Costa Rica. All is fun and games until you don't have that last little sticker. Well in Costa Rica there is an equivalent DEQ smog check, which the truck past last December, but never obtained the sticker for some mysterious reason. Here is the crazy scenerio of Thursday afertoon. You have to remember that this is in a foreign country and I don't know spanish that well, the whole time in my head I'm thinking "Midnight Express". Here's how it goes:

- Get picked up by the owner to go get the infamous sticker in Limon, about an hour and a half away. Realize that the sticker was expired.
- Stop by this junkyard where some guy owes somebody some money. Waiting in the car, kind of creepy...
- Head over to Escazu, an hour an a half away, where somebody knows somebody who can get us into the smog check that day because it takes a week to get an appointment at this place.
- Head over to the mechanic who will fix some things to get it to pass.
- Go over to this other guys house, pay him off to get us an 'in'. Paying off, is a quick 10,000 colones (~$20) in a shady like handshake. But, we have to take his cousin.
-So we drive another hour to get the cousin, who also happens to bring another sidekick who just wants to tag along for the ride.
-So there are four people in the car to go get this sticker. At this point I'm drinking Smirnoffs in the back seat with the sidekick.
-We get in, but somehow there is a hole in the muffler and we don't pass. Complete bummer. I guess you can't bribe your entire way here, by that time I was ready to pay. The mechanic friend is going to get this worked out on Monday, because Orlando the guy who was suppose to work this out is heading to Florida for the week.

We'll See...

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