Chasing Seagulls

{March 17, 2009}   Mexican Jail

Got a couple of stories for you.

About four or five years ago, I was living in Cancun, Mexico. If you’ve ever been there, you understand that the local past-time is drinking. And what a lot of the young tourists are most afraid of is ending up in a Mexican jail. There are such horror stories told that I thought that I would share my experiences.

The first time I was arrested in Mexico, I had been up all night drinking. It was about 10:00 am and the liquor store in Party Center was changing shifts, so they had the doors locked. I had met some guy about five minutes before (on some street-bum-drinking-buddy shit) and we were looking to buy another beer. So since we couldn’t buy beer at the “regular” store, we went around the corner to the Oxxo. We bought a beer there and came back to sit in front of the liquor store, where there was a metal box that everyone usually sat on to drink.

Notes: (1) “A beer” meant a caguama, which is a one-liter bottle of beer. I used to put away about four or five in an average night. Preferably Corona, Superior, or Sol. (2) Drinking in the streets is allowed in the Hotel Zone in Cancun, but not in the downtown area.

A few minutes after we sat down, the policia showed up. They told us that we couldn’t drink in the streets. I figured the people working at the liquor store got mad because we were drinking beer in front of their store that we hadn’t bought there. The policia took our beer and told us to go home. After they left, we started back to the Oxxo to get another beer. We were pretty drunk and obnoxious. All of a sudden, the guy disappears and a cop is standing there telling me to go stand by the police car. I see the guy I was with being handcuffed. I asked the cop why I needed to go to the car. He said, “Go to the car or we’ll arrest you, too.” So I thought, fine, I haven’t done anything wrong. I walked over to the car and the cop handcuffed me and put me in the back. I looked over at the guy I had just met and we started giggling. We were so drunk that we just kept talking shit and laughing. The cop in the passenger seat kept turning around saying, “Shut up! Shut up!” As a cherry on top, the cop had handcuffed me with my hands in front. So my slick ass decided to wriggle my way out of the cuffs. After I got one hand free, I held them up and said, “Look at what I can do!” The cop was pissed and embarrassed, and recuffed me so tight I had bruises later.

When we got to the police station, I still wasn’t believing that I was going to stay. I hadn’t done anything illegal. But if I did have to stay, I at least had a place to sleep. When they were doing my paperwork, I kept asking why I had been arrested. They never told me. They took my shoestrings and emptied my pockets. I told them they had the wrong white girl, because all I had was one peso. Most of the time when you get arrested in Mexico, they just want money. You pay them off and they let you go. But I guess they just wanted me off the streets. Which was fine with me, because I really didn’t have anywhere else to go.

They put me in a cell by myself. They had the guys in the next cell over. There were two concrete benches built into the walls and a hole in the back where a toilet was supposed to be. I immediately passed out. I woke up some time later because the sun was shining on me. The cells were outside and the courtyard had no roof. So I switched to the bench on the other side of the cell and went back to sleep.

When I woke up, I was severely dehydrated. I finally started to worry about my situation. How long were they going to keep me in here? Was I going to get food and water? I started yelling for someone to let me out. I wanted water badly. No one came. I went to the back of the cell and squatted over the hole in the floor, seeing something scurry down first, which creeped me out, but what could I do? I noticed that there was a water spigot sticking out of the wall, presumably what you would hook the toilet to. I didn’t give a good fuck. I turned it on, and water came out. I cupped my hands under it and drank my fill. You’re not supposed to drink Mexican water, but I had to do it on several occasions, and I never got sick. It tastes like toilet water, but when you’re really thirsty, you don’t care much.

After that, I sat back and waited. After a while, a cop that wasn’t on duty when I came in came back to check on me. He asked if I wanted some water and I said yes, please. He brought back a Coca-Cola. It was delicious. He told me I would be out in an hour.

When they released me, they gave me back my shoestrings and my one peso. I asked again why I had been arrested. They still didn’t tell me. I walked out of the police station and found myself at the end of the Hotel Zone with no bus money. I had to walk all the way back to Party Center, which took about an hour. When I got there, I bummed some money for something to eat, then started drinking again.

I should mention that if you’re going to go to jail in Cancun, it’s better to go to the one in the Hotel Zone because that’s the one used to dealing with tourists. It’s probably the nicest jail in Mexico.

This story was a little long, so I’ll tell the other one in the next post.

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