Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Mordida

Yesterday I had to go to Guadalajara to apply for a new passport. My friend Mimi was also going so she let me tag along. We got a little lost and once she didn't see a red light. She started to go and I told her to stop. She had only driven a few feet when she stopped. But after the light turned green and we drove on, we heard the police car behind us. She pulled over. Fortunately, she speaks Spanish and she could understand what he was saying. Basically, he just wanted Mordida, which also means kickback or bite.  He told her that he wanted 2500 pesos. She said she didn't have that much. He asked for her license and acted as if he was going to put it in his pocket. At this point Mimi was starting to worry that we wouldn't get to the American Embassy before it was too late to apply. He told her 2000 pesos. She countered with 1000 pesos. And he gladly took it, gave her back her license and we were on our way.

I am guessing that he would have settled for less, maybe 500 pesos, maybe 200 pesos. People have told me that 200 pesos was the going rate for Mordida. But we were in a hurry. We were like sitting ducks to this man. She was driving with foreign plates and obviously we were lost. He must have thought he had hit the jackpot with us.   I had not experienced this before. It is disconcerting. In the United States, we mostly take it for granted that the police are actually trying to do the right thing, not line their own pockets....   Mimi wasn't bothered by it but I was. I don't like to feel threatened. But we made it to the embassy in time and applied for our passports. It is just another experience to remember along the way. 


  1. Don't ever pay mordida. Twice I have been stopped and I just ask for the ticket. Once he let me go and once I got the ticket. If you pay within 5 days it is 1/2 price. It cost 86 pesos...less than $5. Paying the mordida just encourages them to stop Gringos

    1. Thank you Joni. Very helpful information. P