Hi Karen, sorry to hear about your experience. Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones [for now], but this has never happened to me. Although I had my fair share of arguments with US border control ;) However, I do have many friends who had similar experience [with corruption] inside a country. They politely ‘had to’ leave a bribe for the police patrol to let them continue their road trip. This happened in Africa. I’m 100% sure the small corruption cases like these happen also in my own country, no exception.
I’d say the important thing is to bring this on the spotlight like you do. People in power shouldn’t abuse it but rather use it to help where is necessary. And you are right, we shouldn’t judge the country and its people based on one example. While traveling the world, I was often surprised by warm and welcoming nature of a country as well as betrayed by people in that same country, so…But I wish you good luck in your further travels and hopefully no more experiences like this! :) Keep us posted.