5/21/2014 – Driving While Gringo

San Carlos to Santa Ana: 193 miles, 4 hrs, 10 minutes

In the States we often hear the lament of African Americans or Latinos that they were pulled over for DWB or DWH, Driving While Black of Driving While Hispanic.  The implication is that the only reason they were pulled over was that they were a minority.  Well, down here in Mexico, the same thing happens to a different set of minorities: DWG or Driving While Gringo.  Leastways, that’s the only thing I can come up with for what happened to me in Hermosillo today.

I was driving on one of the main arteries and had to turn right onto the on-ramp of another major artery. Now, picture the scene:  Each side of the road has about 4 lanes of traffic including the right turn lane.  I’m in the right turn lane headed north with a red light.  The eastbound traffic (on my left) is stopped so that the westbound traffic (on my right) can turn left to cross the intersection and head south.  It’s a two-lane left turn lane and the traffic is just scooting through the intersection.  Obviously, there’s no chance of any pedestrian traffic on this side of the street as they’re cut off from the north and the west.  OK.  I’m in the right turn lane.  As I approach the intersection, a cop pulls up in his squad car two lanes over from me.  I notice that he holds back and doesn’t snuggle up to the car in front of him, sort of like he’s leaving himself room to turn out of the lane.  Each car in front of me approaches the red-light intersection, pauses very briefly, if at all, and then makes a right turn.  Remember, those guys making the left turns have cut off all other traffic.  I approach the intersection when it’s my turn and, knowing the cop is back there, I come to a complete stop, look both ways and then slowly proceed through my right turn.

Now I’m down the road a half mile or so, stopped at a stoplight.  In my peripheral vision, I see a (the?) cop car pull up on my right.  Again, he leaves space in front of his car and, as a matter of fact, is positioned so our windows are right next to each other.  I avoid making eye contact as long as I can but eventually I had to look over lest it become too obvious.  He makes some kind of gesture but I’m not sure what he means.  I gesture back, asking if he wants me to pull over to the curb, his returned gesture is, once again, totally ambiguous.  I indicate that I’m going to pull over and so I pull across in front of him and stop at the curb.  He stops sort of next to me but back a little and just sits there.  I finally got out of the truck and walked over and asked him what he wanted me to do.  He indicated that I had gone through a red light.  I explained that I stopped, looked and then proceeded through, just like all the other cars.  Then he said something about a school zone and niños and told me to slow down and then drove off.  Well, first off, I already mentioned about how there were no pedestrians and secondly, I was barely keeping up with traffic, so sensitive was I to the likelihood of getting stopped, so I damn sure wasn’t going too fast.  Anyway, no harm, no foul.  But I can’t imagine what his motives were.  he didn’t actually pull me over, he never turned on his police lights, he didn’t seem to be trying to get a bribe as he never threatened me with an expensive ticket, he didn’t ask for my license, and it was all just so completely bogus.  Just bored?  I don’t know.  Anyway, gringos, be aware.  And have a little compassion when you hear someone in the States complain of being stopped for DWB.

Other than that, the trip was uneventful.  I even got through the big military checkpoint without having to have Flipper searched.  That’s a first for sure.  Oh, I did run into this guy.  This is actually for our daughter, Cody, who loves VW bugs but HATES spiders.  I actually turned around and went back to get this photo.



Now I’m all set up at Anna and Edgardo’s Punta Vista RV Park in Santa Ana.  Got set up early enough to take a little walk through town.  You may recall that Edgardo gave me a driving tour last time I stayed here.  It’s a nice little town and one that I could see settling down in except for one thing:  Anna said that it can get up to 130 degrees in the late summer.  She said the saving grace was that when it reached the 110-120 degree area, that usually coincided with the monsoon rains which help cool things down.  OK, I think we’ll pass.  But here are a couple shots of the town:




Hasta mañana.



About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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