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Tourist Trap

November 12, 1995

I read your description of Todos Santos ("Baja Bohemia," Oct. 15) and I think you should be aware of my recent experience in the "charming little town."

My travel companion and I were staying in La Paz and decided to take a day trip to Todos Santos. Upon our arrival, we were immediately pulled over by the local police. The two policemen, who were at the corner of the single stoplight (which Christopher Reynolds mentioned in the article), claimed that my friend, who was driving, ran four stop signs. This bogus claim was correctable with a 100-peso payoff to the two men, who were carrying their ticket books and their guns.

Having received our welcoming shakedown, we went to the visitors center, about five kilometers away, and ran into other American and British tourists complaining of the same treatment. Uniquely, we were all driving white or tan Jeeps with Thrifty Rental stickers on the side. Apparently, that was the way local police identified the out-of-towners.

I have been visiting Mexico for 30 years, and this is not the first time I have had this type of experience. However, things have improved in Mexico and it has been a long time since anything like that has happened. On our return trip to La Paz, we stopped in Todos Santos, had a fish taco at Pilar's and from our benches, we watched the same thing happen to other wide-eyed tourists.


Hidden Pleasant


Christopher Reynolds replies: It's true--the cops do hang out by that intersection. But I passed through there several times in my obviously rented car and they never bothered me. Send letters to Travel Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, L. A. 90053.

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