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La mordida – The bribe

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Once upon a time I bribed a Tijuana policeman.

I’m neither proud nor ashamed of the mordida (bribe). But that was just one of the run-ins I’ve had with Mexican police over the years.

There was another time that I saw police lights start flashing as soon as I pulled out of my office in Tijuana.

I pulled over.

El policía me dijo. The policeman said to me, “Your trunk is open.”

I closed it and said gracias, expecting that would be the end of the matter.

“El policía me dijo “es un delito.” The policeman said to me, “It’s a criminal offense.”

He started checking out my car very deliberately. It was clear he and his partner were after a bribe.

Then he started insulting my wife.

Now I was angry!

“We’ll have to go to the police station,” he said.

That was supposed to intimidate me, but I said,

Está bien. Respeto la ley. Vamos a la estación de policía. “It’s OK. I respect the law. Let’s go to the police station.”

I said it with authority and it shocked him.

Maybe he thought I knew someone because immediately he became polite.

I had neither authority nor contacts. I just didn’t like my family being pushed around and would rather have taken my chances at the station and kept my wife out of it.

When you are in a country without the language, you can feel very small at times.

It was good to have the language skills and the confidence to express myself as a man of honor and integrity.

You really can stand taller when you gain control of the local language.

If you live in a Spanish-speaking country or plan to visit one anytime soon, you really owe it to yourself to get up to speed with the language.

Saludos,

Marcus Santamaria Spanish Communication Coach
Synergy Spanish

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