The difference between L.A. and el D.F.


I recently passed through Los Angeles and one afternoon was driving around Hollywood with D.T., a chum from my school days. Happy hour was upon us, so we decided to repair to the Formosa Cafe, my favorite bar in the city, and one of the few that still looks more or less the same way as it did in the 1940s. (It is in fact such a museum piece that it has been used as scenery in various period films, including L.A. Confidential.)

At a certain stretch of Formosa Street, D.T. saw a sign warning that he wasn't allowed to make a right turn. There was no visible reason why not, he groused, and he didn't feel like driving around in circles, so he decided to make the turn anyway. I mentioned that this sort of logic and his subsequent unlawful action would make him not only a typical but an exemplary driver in Mexico City.


However, unlike in my home town, on Formosa Street there was a patrol car lying in wait for just the sort of miscreant who would dare to make an illegal turn. No problema: D.T., showing that he is at heart a chilango, simply stepped on the gas and tried to lose the cop in traffic. My heart leapt at the idea of getting into an actual Hollywood-style car chase in actual Hollywood.

Unfortunately the patrolman caught up to D.T. on Santa Monica Boulevard. He wrote him up a ticket for a stiff fine. D.T. will have the opportunity to take an on-line traffic course which, if he passes, will result in his getting the infraction stricken from his driving record.


Had D.T. actually been caught making an illegal turn by a Mexico City traffic cop, profuse apologizes and a 100-peso note (worth about $10 US) - "para el refresco"  (so the cop could "buy himself a soft drink") - would have been sufficient to settle the matter on the spot. Here D.T. enjoys a martini at the Formosa after the fireworks were over.