So earlier this week I began a three day roadtrip from Tegucigalpa, Honduras to Panama City, Panama. It was actually an incredibly beautiful drive. Country to country, through the mountains, scenic vistas the entire drive. The roads, as you can imagine, leave something to be desired, but that comes with the territory. Overall, the actual driving was nothing to complain about. What I can complain about, however, is the border crossings.
Border crossings, and road travel in general throughout Central America, well, how can I put this delicately….make sure you carry enough cash. At every police stop along the way, and especially when entering countries, cost a lot in bribes. Because they didn’t stamp my passport properly, because you’re not a citizen where the truck is registered, because you’re carrying medications (antiparasite medications for CHILDREN to be exact) or most of the time just because…it’s no big deal, they can help you out, it’s just going to be another $50 or $100. The graft at times feels too much. There’s obviously nothing to be done for it right now, you pay or they take away your license, or your truck, or, in some extreme instances, you.
Sometimes I wonder how much of this is a trickle down effect. While raiding the house of recently deposed president of honduras Manual Zelaya, there were upwards of forty million dollars in petty cash. I wonder what would happen if leaders of countries actually obeyed laws too, setting a good example for their fellow countrymen, would it have any effect? Would they set the tone for everyone else? I think I’d like to think so, although I’m not sure I’m optimistic.
“No stop signs, speed limit, Nobodys gonna slow me down…And Im going down, all the way down, I’m on the highway to hell.” AC/DC – Highway to Hell