The story from David:
Keith (the Dean),Federico, and I were driving to downtown to meet alumni in a restaurant. Federico – whose navigation skills are not better that mine – was driving around the same four streets in circles, and attracted the attention of two policemen. The two policemen stopped us to check our papers. I did not have a passport (because I was not told to take it, so I left in the safe).
The policeman started, “Sorry, I must take this one (me) to prison until you show identification.”
Which prompted Federico to ask, “Do you think that he’s an illegal immigrant?” before adding, “He does not look the part.”
With a stern face the policeman replied, “The law is the law, I have no choice.”
(He probably wanted money at this point)
So Federico decided to turn it around on him by adding, “Good, go ahead we will come back with our contacts and you will have to explain yourself.”
Still, the policeman threatened, “I know that it will short, but it will not be pleasant.”
Federico shot back, “If people will find out it will be long and not pleasant.”
“I have no choice,” the policeman started, “What would they do in America?”
“They have more important things to do – at most they will give you a ticket.”
Seeing that he wasn’t getting anywhere with Federico he turned to me and asked, “What is your name and what are you doing here?”
So I innocently replied, “I am a professor and came to a conference and research project in Costa Rica.”
When it looked like he didn’t understand, Federico clarified, “We are researchers.”
With a puzzled look on his face the policeman said, “You do not look like detectives.”
(researchers and detectives are similar terms in Spanish)
Federico clarified that we were, “professors.”
Which led the policman to quickly reply, “Professore… why didn’t you say that earlier…” and let us go.
It just goes to show, it pays to be a professor.