Something happened to me today which didn't seem all that surprising to be honest, at least to me. But them I'm used to this sort of nonsense. It might not be so "normal" to you.
I got both vehicles verified today. "Verificación" is done twice a year, every six months. It is basically an emissions inspection. It costs anywhere from $20 (for an older car) to $26 (for a newer car). The older car will get a "2" sticker, which means you can drive for every day except 1 weekday a week (my day is Monday), and one Saturday a month (my no-drive Saturday is the first Saturday of each month). That's right. Our 1999 Chevy has to remain parked 5 days every month.
Our newer Dodge Journey, on the other hand, can be driven every day. Of course, that will cost you an extra $12 a year in emissions inspection cost, something we happily pay (aside from the fact that we have no other choice).
I took the 1999 Chevy to get inspected today and gave the appropriate papers to the attendant. After waiting for a while, he came back and told me to pull up to Lane #5, and then mentioned something about a "tip," but to be honest I wasn't paying much attention, and as I had previously that morning done the same thing with the Journey, I knew the ropes. Give papers. Pay. Wait.
I pulled up to Lane #5, gave another man the appropriate papers, and went to pay for the service. "Just wait," he said, which was strange to me, because that didn't happen earlier this morning. "Do you need some help?" he asked. I quickly caught on. "No, no, I put in a new catalytic converter less than a year ago, it's fine." He nodded and let me go pay.
When the car was finally ready, another man who puts the "Passed" sticker on the car put the sticker on the back window, then wanted to talk to me, behind the raised hatchback of my small Chevy. He obviously wanted his "tip." "I saw you talking to my partner over there," he said. "Yes, I did...but I told him that the car was fine, that it has a new converter on it." "Ok, but did you tune it up?" At this point I'm wondering if they are going to demand the bribe. "Yes, actually I did. New plugs, new cables, everything." Finally they left me go.
So...in a metropolitan area where emissions inspections are required every 6 months, is it any wonder that one sees so many vehicles, even so, belching smoke with recent stickers on their back windshields. Here, it is far more to be totally honest than to engage in bribes, at all levels of society.