Police Pocket Are for Payoffs (AtoZ Travel Tips)

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Police pocket are for payoffsPolice pockets are for payoffs, and there is no hiding it in Morocco.

As we drove through the interior we frequently came upon road blocks.  Our tale is best shared in a short story I recently took 2nd place for in a writing contest.  The rules: maximum 250 words  starting “I laughed silently”

Dad Knows What He’s Doing

I laughed silently as the officer instructed my husband to exit the car.  It felt odd to be on the ill-treated side of racial profiling.  Yet, I was intrigued by the corruption and blatant assumption that Europeans were prepared to pay “fines” for imaginary offenses.

The roadblocks were frequent in this African nation, and we were familiar with the drill. As we approached I reminded my husband to appear disinterested. However, his unintentional eye contact and gentle smile resulted in our being stopped.

I hoped this was going to cost us less than yesterday’s 300dh fine.

My daughter’s worried voice interrupted my thoughts, “Mom, dad’s arguing with the police and he looks mad.”

“Keep your eyes forward,” I reminded her. We were out of our comfort zone, but we knew that a woman’s place was silence.

“Dad knows what he is doing,” I assured her.

We breathed a sigh as he returned to the car smiling.  Today’s fictitious infraction was passing a truck on a curve, which carries a 700dh fine.  This was all written in Arabic for him to confirm, a language we don’t speak.

My husband simply announced to the officer “That’s too much.”

A brief negotiation resulted in 100dh paid directly into the officer’s pocket, a deal my husband happily took.

We were on our way until the next day’s roadblock, when I laughed silently as the officer stopped our car.

* * * * * *

Fiction or non-fiction?  Mostly true, I took liberties to stay within the 250 word limit.

Laugh Quote’s Travel Tips for the Day:

  • Talk to the locals, read, and know the protocol before you get pulled over. Police pocket are for payoffs in some places, however in most other countries hubby would have ended up in jail. He understood how it worked in this part of Morocco, so I am proud of hubby!
  • Negotiate, pay the price and go on with your day. We met a couple that refused to participate in a “payoff” so insisted on paperwork.  In their quest for honesty they ended up paying a 2,000dh fine.

 Police Pocket Are for Payoffs Pictures:

Are you kidding me?  No way was I taking police photos.  I wasn’t about to do anything that would upset the men who determined how much our fictitious fines would cost.

Instead, here are some roadside photos – all taken in the interior or in the Sahara from Marrakesh traveling east towards the border with Algeria.  If you are wondering, Morocco is one of my favorite places. The payoffs are just a part of their culture that seems easy to poke fun at for the letter P.

Police pocket are for payoffs

driving in marrakesh

Police pocket are for payoffs

driving in morocco

payoffs

women carrying packs in Morocco

kasbah on the roadside

All photos ©Rhonda Albom 2011-2012.  All rights Reserved.

Have you been stopped for something you didn’t do?

What about a payoff, have you done it?  Would you do it?

#atozchallengeI am participating in the A to Z challenge during April 2013. My topic:

Travel Tips I Learned the Hard Way

See the list to date in the right hand sidebar.

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About Rhonda Albom

When I met my hubby he was looking for a traveling companion. Together we have moved to New Zealand and visited over 42 countries, most with our now teenage girls. Things rarely go as planned, and generally we have an amusing tale to tell. That's what Laugh Quotes is about - the fun side of our adventures and our expat life.

Comments

  1. Toto. I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

  2. Al lot of my misspent youth was on the streets of Juarez. “Mordida” (Spanish for ‘greasing the palm,’) is just a fact of life. I look at is as a tip, and budget accordingly.
    Oh, Joyce, it works in Kansas too.
    Mike recently posted..The Horror Of HateMy Profile

  3. How wild. I liked your story, and found it very interesting. Really great pictures too!
    Shawn at Reading Practice

  4. This happened to a friend of mine in Costa Rica. I’m glad to hear it happens frequent
    Y so I know what to do if it ever happens to me. Cuz I’d probably freak out!

    Hugs!

    Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi

  5. Yes! Once on Costa Rica for “speeding.” (Over those potholes? Seriously??) Twice so far in Mexico. One Mexican cop was nice & turned us loose. The other one was a dick who made my daughter cry. We weren’t going to pay, until we discovered we’d cleaned out the glove box and forgotten to return the insurance and registration paperwork. Gulp.

    Great story!
    Renee — RambleCrunch recently posted..Meet the barking parrotMy Profile

  6. I’ve never been stopped. I have one of those innocent faces, apparently.
    Your photos make me want to travel again!

  7. That was interesting, although not a pleasant experience.

    I like the photos Rhonda :-)
    stevebethere recently posted..ChuckMy Profile

  8. Miranda Hardy says:

    Oh my! This is a great reminder to do research on the area you plan to visit.

  9. I’ve seen such practices in movies, though, never encountered one myself. Since the farthest I’ve traveled wasn’t far enough.

  10. I was a cop for 25 years and I never took a bribe. I would have been ashamed to do so and it’s against the law too. I don’t ever want to visit here. I’d be in jail and they would take everything I had. Awful.

    Have a terrific day. :)
    Comedy Plus recently posted..Smart DogsMy Profile

  11. Very creative story, one I sadly fear is far too true in many locations. I love to travel, but my comfort zone definitely controls where I’m willing to travel.

    A-Z
    Sandy recently posted..PolygamyMy Profile

  12. Wow. Not a fun experience.

    My husband and I were remembering the other day about how during a vacation about 7 years ago, every one expected a tip. Not just the waiter. Tip the bathroom attendant. Tip the bus driver. What was next, tip the horse for not throwing you off during the horseback riding event? It felt ridiculous, but your story sounds downright scary. A good reminder to try to educate ourselves on foreign cultural expectations before we go. Too easy to forget that there isn’t a universal moral/cultural standard, every where is different. Thanks, very interesting blog!

  13. I would have freaked! I like to think I’m all smart and worldly wise – nope, I would have had a full on panic attack.
    Julie You Jest recently posted..O is for Oh my god, it’s going to suck out my bones!My Profile

  14. No, but only because I haven’t traveled to such exotic locales as of yet. And with your adventures in mind, I think I’ll stay put!

  15. I can’t say I am worldly enough to have experienced the greasing of the palms to this extent… goodness! I might have broke into tears, thinking we’d be disappeared into a local gulag forever. Great story – congrats on winning 2nd place!
    Corinne OFlynn recently posted..N for Nudibranch – #atozchallengeMy Profile

  16. Quite a racket they’ve got going on!
    Nick Wilford recently posted..An A-Z Story – PMy Profile

  17. It looks like a fascinating place, even though there is this blatant targeting of tourists!
    Roshni recently posted..Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: P says ….My Profile

  18. Simpler to pay them off. Annoying, but easier.

  19. Congrats on winning 2nd place in the contest Rhonda! I would’ve been a nervous wreck if that happened. It’s a good thing that you and the girls stayed calm. Unfortunately, I’m sure by now you’re all used to it.

  20. I haven’t ever experienced the need to bribe–that I know of! Though there are times when I’ve felt ripped off taking the same trip with different cabbies and having wildly different fares… probably not the same. :)

    Great post.
    Sherilee recently posted..A-Z blogging challenge: R is for RainbowsMy Profile

  21. Hi Rhonda .. I don’t think I have .. I’m glad to say … or I was with people who paid and knew their way around .. love your photos though .. cheers Hilary

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