I’ve been waiting for a moment like this. Luckily for me, it didn’t involve a police payoff or “protection” scam. This was of the simple, garden variety.
I heard a loud knocking at the door and went down to see what it was. A rather portly man from the local electric company wanted to check our meter. Although I wasn’t understanding a lot of his Spanish, he said something about suspending the electricity and I started to get a little panicky. He showed me his work order, which had a completely different name on it than the owner of this house, so I calmly explained to him that he was mistaken. He then showed me the matched numbers on the work order and the box, and said he would have to shut it down. I called Julio and passed the phone to him. They had a cordial but animated exchange for a few minutes while I stood there catching about 40% of it. I figured the only way we were going to get rid of this guy was with a bribe and sure enough when he handed the phone back to me, Julio asked to to go upstairs and get 100 pesos. I returned and as per Julio’s instructions told the guy in much more broken Spanish than I normally do that I really didn’t understand any of what was going on and sorry, “no tengo más dinero“. He smiled, pocketed the bill and left.