Yuriria is a small, historical town located in the lowlands of Guanajuato. We found the name hard to pronounce Yuriria, so we crudely re-christened it ‘Urethra’. After a long day on the road we relaxed near the Fifteenth Century cathedral finding shade .
As late afternoon crept into early evening, we considered where to camp. We cycled over to Isla de San Pedro, a little peninsula on the lake about 2km from the cathedral. After finding the perfect spot, we slung our hammocks and then joined the locals to watch the sunset.
Since leaving our 9-5 jobs, the weekends and weekdays now seem to blur together. We were quite amused when we heard hard house banging out of a night club across the lagoon. This went on until about 4.am.
It was around 1.am. when we had our encounter with the Municipal Police. A car drove out to the peninsula, their red lights flashing through the mosquito netting of my hammock. I shouted for Lars to wake, knowing how heavily he sleeps. Two flashlights were shining directly into my face, the two policemen asked me questions in Spanish (talk about wasting police time)!
“Lo siento, hablo espanol muy mal”
Lars finally woke up after they shined their bright lights in his eyes. They warned us that it was very dangerous at night, especially on a Saturday as the party people may come out after drinking too much in the club. They looked over at our bikes and said we should be careful as people might want to steal our belongings.
My mind was racing through all the stories about crooked cops in Latin America and I hoped that these were the good guys and that they wouldn’t make us pack up our stuff, pay them off and find a hotel (or worse, a cell)!
As they were leaving, one walked back to me and told us to call them if we had any problems. He slowly said the numbers: zero, sesenta y seis. I repeated it back to him. Zero, setenta y seis. He throws his hands up in the air and reaches for his mobile to type it out for me to see. I acknowledge my mistake, I would imagine the words ‘silly gringos’ came out of his mouth as they walked back to the car and drove away.
Fortunately, our first encounter with the Mexican Police was positive. Even since this incident we’ve had no problems. Lars was once asked to show his British driving license, but that was only because the officer had never seen one before! Even the Federal Police who ride in pickup trucks five deep wearing scary black masks and carrying massive guns tend to nod or beep the horn in appreciation of our cycling efforts. Let’s hope we don’t have to write a post that says otherwise.