Entering Into Mexico – Extortion and Inviting Hosts

This entry is part 17 of 34 in the series Latin America Series

My entrance into Mexico wasn’t too inviting after getting shaken down by the policia after only four hours in the country.

My CouchSurfing host Carmina made up for my first impression of Mexico. I arrived in Monterrey, and parked my bike in front of her apartment. While I tried to make myself somewhat presentable (aka, less hobo looking) after 10 hours on the road I hear her call from the window, “Ahlo Beeeil!” She scowled at my attempt at a handshake and greeted me with a big hug as if I was family. She introduced me to her sister Christina and their two cats, Solovino and Saskatia.

Solovino, Carmina's Cat

I spent the first two days in the apartment and only ventured a couple blocks to a shopping center to run some errands. The culture shock was kicking in, along with the reality of this endeavor that I had just started. The break-neck pace of Monterrey’s streets and my complete lack of Spanish skills didn’t help either.

I spent a of time on my computer, uploading videos and photos. I was receding into my comfort zone. During this fragile state, Carmina and Christina we the best people to ease me into Mexico and ease my anxiety. She cooked traditional meals and explained the why and hows of everything. She showed me around the city, and invited me to a party too. They were both really great hosts. Carmina and her boyfriend Esteban took a trip outside the city to a historic town called Real de San José.


Saint Christopher - The patron saint of travel.

Saint Christopher – The patron saint of travel.

Carmina was very knowledgeable and there was a story behind every building, meal or sight. I planned on staying for just the weekend but I ended up staying for almost a week. The kindness of these strangers (now friends) was only the beginning of more that I would experience throughout Mexico.

You can see more photos of my stay in Monterrey in my Flickr set here.

Series Navigation<< Interview With Overland ExpoNews Coverage Over Extortion Video >>
  • Mario

    Mexico is a great country, I love to ride my bike down to the Pacific Coast, never give a Cop more that 20 Bucks or 200 pesos, that does it amply.
    Best Regards and good riding,

  • analucia

    i just saw your extortion video, i feel so ashamed.. anyway, im from monterrey! what are the odds?! haha cool you were here.. did you like it? i find very interesting your journey around the globe :) i’d love to do that as well, im dying to know every corner of this sublime planet called Earth.. oooor, at least get to know the most places i can before i die.. or suuumthin’ lol. how did you started all this? i mean, it really takes a lot of guts! help me ooout! hahaha show me how.
    you know, here in mexico there’s this magic place called Xilitla, i dunno if you already went there, if not.. please come back and ill take you ..and we’ll eat some shrooms lol!
    where have you been here in mexxx? i bet there are still so many magic places left to visit 😉
    well.. great to getting to know you! hahaha even though it was a poor, undesirable situation.. hope mexico gets better sooner than later.
    catch up laterzzzz “atlas rider” lol. there’s my mail, if you need something here, ill be happy to help! au revoir!


  • Charro19

    Hey man Im a Mexican living in Australia..Im sad the this happened to you and I hope that you dont think Mexico and mexicans are like that, on the other hand your video now reached the national newspaper, here’s the webpage..WWW.REFORMA.COM, there’s no article, only a link to your video…enjoy the trip and good luck

  • Everest

    Hello mi name is everest, I feel sad for your first impression of Mexico, I feel embarrassed, now these in monterrey and me live in monterrey, I hope you have good stay and that you rest, I will be following your routes, I find very interesting your trip.

    God blesses you in your trajectory. this is my email address everestmtz@hotmail.com

  • carlos

    Mexican exp-pat livin in Canada. Just apologizing for that horrible extorsion. You spent a week in Monterrey so I hope now you know that not all Mexicans are assholes like those police officers. Good luck on your motorcycle trip.

  • Alfredo

    Hey dude, cool trip. I’m from Guadalajara and live in Mexico City. I’m ashamed that this happened to you on your visit to Mexico, but I’m sure that by know you’ve noticed that not all mexicans are like that, tough luck huh, anyways, it’s part of the experience. Your video has made it to the papers ( http://www.reforma.com/libre/acceso/acceso.htm?urlredirect=/galeria_de_audios/21/040925/?grcidorigen=1 )… I’m sure this will be noted by the authorities and adequate measures will be taken. If you come down to Mexico City send me an email, there are lots of stuff you can do around here. Thanks for posting the video, and have a kick ass trip.

  • ab

    hello my friend i live in houston and also have a house in monterrey i own some radio shops and one is in villa de santiago i also ride bikes around the countrys if you need something in houston,monterrey or villa de santiago please send me a mail and i will arrange anything for you or your bike , good luck and god bless

  • Alfonso Villanueva

    Hi my friend,

    I apologized in behalf of all Mexican, well not all but most…. I’m from Monterrey and I live in California, and I feel ashemed of the reality but unfortunately that’s how it is and if you give them money they will keep doing it.
    I’m glad that you are ok.
    I hope that the rest of your trip goes well.

    Thank you for visiting our beautiful country.

  • http://www.nerdcast.net Jurgen

    Those cops aren’t fired yet, but they will be, you can check it in http://www.zocalo.com.mx we will have that article when its official (I work in that newspaper).

    You are famous now here in Coahuila. You can read all about that video here:


    and here is where they said that their fired:


    If you can post a comment in the newspaper or can comunicate to our newspaper for an interview it will be great.

    My name is Jorge Decanini, Im in Zocalo Internet

  • Anonymous

    fuck the cops mexican lows suck that happen to the mexicans to we need to pay and they dont ask about mexican bill they want us just dont go back in motorcycle its dangerus

  • Anonymous

    que clase de frase es esa tu eres famoso en coahuila que verguenza si no es un artista esto le pasa atoda la gente que vive ahi y ala gente de estados unidos que son mexicanos la policia no hace nada todos son unos corruptos ya no piden para las cocas piden en dolares y arriba de 100 si no le ablan ala otra gente kienes son la otra gente osea realmente se salvo de mas enserio gente que va de vacaciones ahora en diciembre es alo que le tiene miedo alos policias de pacotilla los gatos hambrientos porque para los federales de caminos mis respetos pero de ahi que dios nos ampare amigo cuidese y ni hablar ninguna disculpa es aceptable de les la entrevista pero ahora agales el dibujo usted no con 100 sino con 1000

  • Annel y Adalid

    We are Mexican and we are ashamed for you had happened. But of certain way it is well that abroad they know what is happening here. We need the critic before of the flatteries. Sometimes it works better than someone says to us what is bad. We think that it is hour of that critic. We must wake up to the reality. Many Mexicans wants a change: of air, bad politicians, police. We want to Mexico but without them. Luck in your trip. We following you…

  • Rod

    i´m sorry ´bout what u went thru man! i´m mexican living in mx city, yeh corruption is enormous in this nation, you´re so brave by hanging around in Mexico nowadays with all this damn violence everywhere !!!

    cheers good luck

  • genkis_kan

    esto esta llendo muy lejos.
    el le dice a el oficial, how much!!!
    en tu pais tu nunca le ofreces dinero a un oficial
    eso es soborno…
    te dan una multa y la pagas en la corte…

    el policia no habla ingles el escucha la palabra much
    en espanol la palabra moch es moche
    (no exactamente en ingles) es lo que el oficial entiende
    por eso dice que go a la carcel
    tu detenido (arrestado) tu moche never
    camera grabacion
    tu moch?
    prestame una pluma un lapiz
    a continuacion lo que vemos es la barrera del idioma no sabe decir carcel
    y lo dibuja …

    como estan las cosas en mexico
    es una estupides sacar dinero de esa manera que tal
    si el oficial te reporta con algun grupo delictivo y te matan para quitarte el dinero que
    por que no pierdes una hora o dos y vas y pagas la fianza por ir a exceso de velocidad

    no defiendo a esos corruptos oficiales que deben de ser encerrados

  • genkis_kan

    this is going too far.
    first …
    he tells the officer how much!
    in your country you never offer money to an officer
    That’s bribery …
    give you a fine and pay it in court …

    second …
    the police do not speak English he hears the word much
    in Spanish the word is moche moch
    (Not exactly in English) is what the officer meant
    So he says you go to jail
    you stopped (arrested) you never moche
    camera recording
    Your moch?
    lend me a pen a pencil
    below what we see is the language barrier can not say jail
    and draws …

    third ….
    how are things in mexico
    stupidity is taking money out of the way that such
    if the officer will report to any criminal group and kill you and take away the money
    why not lose an hour or two and go and pay the bail to go speeding

    fourth …
    I do not advocate those corrupt officials who should be locked

  • RMM

    By the way, those officers got fired!!!!!

  • RMM
  • Meme

    Dude, FYI, you marked Villa de Santiago in a wrong position at google maps.
    Any way, hav a nice trip.

Read previous post:
Long Way Round the TV series

If you haven't seen this series already, the following review may persuade you to check it out. I had already...