Malgus, sounds like Africa. I need to upgrade not downgrade – Lol.

dorette, let me tell ya…

It was an experience. Panama is thoroughly corrupt at every level. Bribery is just the cost of doing business down that way. Don’t want to bribe anyone or make a stand on principal? Good luck getting anything accomplished…

I was going to be there for a few years, so I had my vehicle shipped down. A Jeep CJ7. Bad idea. Well, a half-bad idea anyways.

I had to get my vehicle “inspected” by the Panamanian “authorities” before they would clear it for use on their roads. Now, you would think that an American 4×4 like a CJ7 – that was already approved and inspected for use on our roads – would have breezed through… yeah, you woulda’ thought that…

Wrong. Inspector Dude gives my Jeep the hairy eyeball for about 2 minutes and then returns with a laundry list of “defects” that I had to have “corrected” before he would approve my vehicle… sigh…

An old hand told me to go to the Class VI – which is literally a military liquor store – buy a bottle of something moderately good and “accidentally” leave it on my front seat with the paperwork, then tell the “inspector” I got everything “corrected”.

I did as bidded. Bought a nice bottle of rum, wrapped it in a brown paper bag and ‘accidentally’ left it on my front seat with the paperwork. Told Inspector Guy that I had all the “defects” fixed, even though it had only been 2 hours (a team of engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory working around the clock with unlimited budget couldn’t have corrected all the “defects” in 2 hours, even if someone resurrected Von Braun himself to head up the team… it just wasn’t humanly possible… didn’t matter).

20 minutes later, my paperwork was approved, the bottle was gone and I was on the road.

I thought: “Here endeth the lesson. Their country, their rules.”

In a way, living down there and having to use a combination of living by your wits, selective bribery and occasionally strong-arming someone, was good practice for our coming troubles… everyone is corrupt and is gunning for a dollar, but not everyone is worth bribing.

The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1