Friday, January 18, 2008

La Tira

As any other civilized people on earth, Mexicans-especially Chilangos-are not fond of authority. This aversion is captured in the way they refer to police officers: la tira (TEE-dah) to refer collectively to the police department, tira or tiras to refer to one or several officers of the law. The word comes from tiranía (lit. tyranny). Tiras usually travel in a trulla (TROO-jah), which is a contraction of patrulla (lit. squad car).

In the image above you can see two tiras in their charro uniform (sombrero and all) right next to a trulla. A synonym for tira when used collectively is chota (CHAW-tah), and a synomym for tira when referring to one officer is azul (a-ZOOL, lit. a blue one) because of their uniforms' traditional color.

Travel advice: when in trouble with the police in Mexico City, never offer any bribe. Wait for the tiras to ask first, and then haggle.

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