What’s my name again?

Crossing from the laid-back, polite police experience I had had in Uruguay, to Argentina was a bit of a shock. I knew the road to B.A. was known for the police hassling foreigners, but since I hadn’t had any problems to date in South America I really didn’t take it that seriously.

Silly me.

When I arrived in Brazil I had arranged for multi-country insurance through a company in B.A. The guy running it was used to riders and was happy to e-mail me all the docs and then wait for payment until I arrived in B.A.- over a month later. I have to say, I really liked what that said about riders that he was comfortable enough to provide insurance without payment upfront simply because I was on a bike. What does this have to do with anything? Well, it means that when I entered Argentina I already my insurance sorted and didn’t have to do what many riders do and ride without insurance to B.A. where they purchase some.

Back to the road… Crossing the border and then starting the 200km ride to B.A. I was almost immediately pulled over by the police. I knew I wasn’t close to speeding, so I really wasn’t sure what they wanted. The cop approached me and:

“Hola, Seguardo?”

(In my mind) “Ah nope, you got the wrong guy- my name is GSGuy.”

“A, si- una momento”

Then, much to his obvious disgust, I pulled out my completely in order insurance papers. After flipping through them and returning them he left without a word- no request to see my drivers licence, nothing.

About 50k down the road, I see flashing lights in my mirror again… And repeat the previous encounter.

Another 100km down the road… Once again, repeat the first encounter.

It was obvious that they had a fairly successful little racket going (I confirmed with the owner of the rider place I stayed at in B.A. that is was in fact a shakedown) and weren’t concerned about anything but getting a ‘fine’ for me not having valid insurance. It only cost me some time, but none the less, I was quite annoyed since I’d previously been so pleasantly surprised by how friendly and honest my interactions with South American police had been.

Ah well, all good things come to an end… Though Seguardo kind of has a good ring to- maybe if I ever get a dog…


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