By 8 am the boys were on the road again trying to reach Mexico City by early afternoon and whilst traffic was mild at the beginning it became thicker as they reached about 120km not of Mexico’s capital.
Gone was the Karoo look alike land on the side of the road and lots of agricultural activities could be seen on either side of the road with many more little towns appearing and the feel for Mexican changed from dull to more interesting the further this capital of Mexico was approaching.
The double highway changed to 4 and 5 lane traffic and some 50 km before centre of Mexico City blue lights appeared in the rear mirror of Lipstick which is one of the most hated sightings the boys love to see.
Soon 4 cops on two motorcycles lines up with Lipstick indicating in no 2 ways that Lipstick has to stop. Andre was driving at this time and was adamant that he was well under the speed limit before the cops forced Lipstick to come to a stop on the right-hand lane of the 5-lane highway approaching Mexico’s mother city.
A waterfall of unidentifiable Spanish phrases was fired upon Willy who was sitting in the passenger seat and now closest to the highest authority in the form of traffic cops on motorbikes.
“Hola me not speak Espanola” did the trick and the chief operating office decided that he must now use his broken English to read out the traffic laws of Mexico to the boys.
“InMexico, no use of cell phone when driving” – (it needs to be mentioned that Willy was using his Google Map app to guide Andre into Mexico)
“Sorry Capitano – me not driving look steering wheel is on other side “left the commanding officer speechless for a while after thoroughly checking that there is no steering wheel in front of Willy who still had his cell phone in hand.
“Hola so no problem with use of cell phone but foreign car not allowed into Mexico City today” Now it was on team Lipstick to become speechless because why on earth would a foreign car with proper temporary importation documents not be allowed to drive onto Mexico City.
“No, no Sir this is impossible because we can show you receipt of the toll roads – so when they allow us to pay for the toll road we should also be allowed to drive into Mexico City”
“NO POSSIBELE today no foreign car is allowed into Mexico City – you follow us to Police station 40km back and car need to stay there and tomorrow you can drive again after paying fine”
The boys were sure that this now is the opening of the central and South American private enrichment of the uniformed league of traffic cops and negotiations needed to be started.
“Sir is it not possible to pay a spot fine”
“NO NO, car needs to go back to police station and can be released tomorrow”
“But we are very close to our hotel – we can pay you a fine here and you can escort us to hotel where we can park the car until tomorrow’
“Do you have cash money” (now that’s the secret code that an unofficial spot fine could be negotiated and there was a sign of light on the horizon.)
“yes, but very little only a few Dollars”
“ The fine would be 5000 Pesos “ ( holy Moses – that could feed a party of 8 for a nice Dinner back at Garcia’s restaurant in East London.)
“ ok we can pay the fine but we would require an official receipt”
“No problem my friend – we give you police reference number”
So, the unavoidable took place and Dollars were handed over to the Helmet wearing cop in charge of the day and in return a piece of paper as the official form of receipt was handed over by them.
“ Please follow us now we take you to your hotel”
Wow – is this not a set up after all – instead of them going ahead of Team Lipstick they stayed behind Lipstick on the highway for about 4km before taking a sudden exit to the right disappearing into the massive traffic of Mexico City.
In disbelieve the boys had to laugh at being caught hands down by self-enriching traffic cops.
On to Google however the following came to light:
Foreign-plated Vehicles Hoy No !
Vehicles with license plates from outside of Mexico City and the State of Mexico, including plates from the United States and Canada, as well as Mexican states without reciprocity agreements regarding emissions testing, are not required to undergo emissions testing but may do so voluntarily. Importation documents will be required for cars with non-Mexican plates.
Foreign-plated vehicles without emissions stickers, or with class 1 or 2 designations, are subject to the Hoy No Circula restrictions, and are additionally prevented from driving between 05:00-11:00 each week day, and all day every Saturday.
This put Team Lipstick more at ease realising that obviously foreign number plate cars can simply not drive in Mexico City on a Saturday. However, they are in extreme doubt whether the money paid will ever be seen to add to the income of the City Council of Mexico City rather than then to a festive Saturday night party by a bunch of motorcycle cops…
C’est la Vie!
Some 15 minutes after the “cop stop” Team lipstick arrived at their destination in the centre of Mexico City and could park right in the front of the Hotel which was pre-booked through booking.com.
After taking the luggage to the room the boys decided it was time to have a drink at the bar when the receptionist cam with a request to move the car some 5m back from the entrance of the hotel as this area was restricted to Taxis..
No problem – Willy had the key and proceeded to do the job but the:
Key in ignition – turning …. turning … turning… with no action whats so ever. Assuming that the keys battery must be flat the boys used Andre’ key with the same result – there was not even a blink of noise coming from the starter motor despite the fact that the keys could open and shut the car.
These things normally happen on a weekend and a quick call to the local Toyota agent of course revealed that their business is closed till Monday morning 9 am. With the help of the receptionist – Joseph – Willy took off to the streets of Mexico and found a locksmith who was friendly enough to come and investigate the problem.
After dismantling the lock it was found that the shaft inside the lock barrel was broken and this in turn keeps the steering in its locked position preventing the engine to start.
Again with Google’s assistance the boys established that the only solution would be to bypass the ignition switch and arrange a separate circuit to power up the starter motor.
The next day on Sunday Andre was busy to dismantle as much of the lock mechanism as possible – whilst Willy went off in a taxi to search for cabling and switches and he was eventually lucky to find a street mechanic with a bit of a scrap yard shop where suitable cabling and 2 small switches could be sourced.
After revealing that the receptionist ( Josef ) has some background as an electrical mechanic he was only too eager to assist with connecting the scrap wire to the starter motor and leading this back to the dashboard from where one could now use ths scrap switch to start the ignition and with another wire that could be used to connect the battery to power up the engine – the boys were then mobile again and the engine could be started.
The steering lock was bypassed by inserting a tenfold thick paper into a slot preventing the steering lock bolt from arresting the steering mechanism.
Team Lipstick was mobile again and decided to pull off the next day not before having some great food at the famous “Butcher” restaurant in Mexico City..