Monday, January 24, 2011

SHAKEDOWN at the Border! WTF?

I posted this video about 'Corruption and Bribing a Police Officer' in Costa Rica a few weeks ago. If you haven't seen it, it may be worth a look, but in it I mention that I've NEVER in my 5 years of living in Costa Rica been asked by a man in uniform to pay a bribe nor have they ever tried to extort money from me. Well, I can't say that anymore.

We were returning from our trip to Nicaragua and was crossing back over into Costa Rica at the Penas Blancas border crossing. After stamping out of Nicaragua, D'Angelo and our friends decided to hit up the duty free shops and I decided to take the 10 minute walk over to check out how long the line was to get stamped back into Costa Rica. Between the 2 points they have a couple passport checkpoints.

Costa Rica border crossing guard asked to see my passport, nothing out of the ordinary, so I obliged. Then he asked me if I had $5.00. WTF? Before I tell you how I responded and what happened I'd like to add my 2 cents.
"Although I understand the mentality of wanting to travel alone, I highly discourage it and really, it borders on stupidity. Like many things bad, this border crossing guard probably wouldn't have asked if I was with other people... but I digress."

So, he asked me for $5.00 and I responded in true expat spanglish, "What the fuck for, dude............ para que? I know, I know, I have a way with words. Anyway, he said it was for 'admission', and I said, "pa....leeez... que mierda!" it was then he realized I wasn't just any gringo traveler and pretty much dropped it, handed me my passport and I was on my way.

I know I'll take grief for this, but it really doesn't bother me, he tried... and it didn't work. Honestly, didn't even cross my mind to 'report him' or whatever... just not my style. So, that's my encounter with 'corruption' in Costa Rica.

Oh, just in case you're not familiar with the Penas Blancas border crossing, we made this video awhile back on how to do it:

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