Tuesday, February 17, 2004



I must say the traffic in Chiclayo is absolutely horrendous. Today as we were driving through the extremely congested city centre, two out of three traffic lights were defunct. There are traffic police everywhere, and although they look very fetching and official in their bottle green uniforms and sizeable cream plastic hats, they don’t seem to have any effective purpose whatsoever. In fact, that seems to be a pervading theme here. Officials are for show only, and corruption is rife. Actually, corruption IS the system. Tito has been trying to get his driving license renewed after his 11 year has gotten nowhere. It looked like he was going to have to go through the whole driving training scheme again - a lengthy and expensive process in Peru, as elsewhere. Don’t bother, said the officials at the Min of T, if you get stopped just give the policeman a five soles (85p) bribe and be merrily on your way. However, Tito still wanted to get some proper, official documentation. So today he looked up a friend in the police force and paid him a visit. “I’d really like an official letter stating I’ve lost my license” said Tito. “Sure,” his friend replied, “and I’d really like a beer.” The letter would have to be stamped by the mayor, and also by the chief of police, and guess what? Seems they’d like a beer too. So, Tito took them all out for a little spin in the sexy blue Celica and a few beers. Now he has all the documentation he needs to drive in Peru.

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