Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Honduran Double Border Day And The Expected Torment

... that never happened!!! 

For me I had been reading horror stories of the dreaded double crossing including corruption, lies, unnecessary hold ups and photocopying beyond belief, helpers who will torment you mentally and basically just a day out of your life.

So we are not far from the border filling up at the service station when a guy comes up and says hello where are you from ..... I can help you, Ellen says New Zealand and where are you from, he replied El Salvador, I work at the border .... ah ha ... we know you!!! ... the famous Jose ... at the service station!!!

No gracias, we can do it ourselves and that was the end of the chat with smiles etc.

On our way to the border a small bike fizzes past us, it was him.

Leaving El Salvador was easy except we missed one photo copy which we soon rectified .... then across to the dreaded bridge to the Honduran side ready for WW3.

We were greeted by the “officials” Jose and Ronnie, they were telling us what we needed to do, we still said no gracias.

Then we were greeted by the real officials in proper clothing and formal shirts.

They took us to customs and aduana offices and I was swamped by money changers, again I just replied no gracias with a smile and they almost went away.

Ellen was doing all the paperwork and running around / photocopying, Jose and Ronnie were standing there only 1.5 metres away like two loyal puppies and realising after about 20 minutes they were not going to get any money they left and even waved goodbye to me....too quick for the camera unfortunately.

I was having fun with the money changers with roars of laughter from both sides and at one stage I grabbed a huge wod of money off him after he was talking about quetzales (Guatemalan currency) where he said did I need 5 Q? and I swung it around on 5 Q! for the whole wod of cash .... funny enough that deal didn’t work for him and as quick as a bolt of lightning he realized I was pulling the piss and he said no I offer you 5Q for your Moto, ... I said I didn’t have the heart to rip him off .... again followed by roars of laughter from both sides, handshakes and away he went.

Maya waiting outside patiently


All in all apart from the ridiculous amount of paperwork the crossing went very smoothly and took 1 hour and twenty minutes and was almost enjoyable.

Into Honduras and across the country to the next border at El Espino, passing through we took in the sites and to be fair it was much nicer than we imagined and the roads actually not to bad other than a couple of biggish potholes here and there.

The last part of the road heading up to the border was stunning with beautiful winding road in great condition (shown above), we arrived at the next border at 12.30 pm and everyone was at lunch, ..... so lunchtime it was.

Again an official came bounding up keen to help, I asked him if he worked for customs or was a helper, he showed me his official helper badge which I was throughly impressed with, again he said you pay me, we just said with a smile no gracias no dinero and as quick as a flash he ran off, maybe we just smelt bad.

So realizing we had entered lunch break mid ship we just joined in picking up some chicken and rice to munch on, it was soon enough 1.00 pm and the wheels of industry started turning again.

Ellen set off to do the paperwork while I guarded Maya, the helper came back over and we had a chat about life for a while (about 20 minutes) that was great cos I had nothing else to do, I did make sure he knew there were no consultancy fees on our chat and he was happy just to sit and chew the fat.

Leaving Honduras, easy, done in half and hour, then off to the Nicaraguan side.

We snuck down past all the trucks and Maya had a bubble bath of something useless, we exchanged $3.00 dollars for that then headed to the Nicaraguan immigration to do the usuals.

The insurance man was there as were money changers and more helpers, insurance being mandatory I set to and started getting that done while Ellen got us clocked in to Nicaragua, Maya the mighty monster was creating interest with the locals which was cool. 

Very friendly and very helpful we were done in another half and hour plus our half hour lunch in Honduras.

After exiting El Salvador at 9.00am and entering Nicaragua home free at 2.08pm, across Honduras NOT one policeman in sight, no corruption or anything stupid so what I had been stressing about for months turned into a very pleasant day indeed, so much so we had enough time to find Vallardos house and get out canyoning for the afternoon ... that next. 

Our experience for the day was excellent however Dick and Diane Hubbard from New Zealand had a gun pulled on them by officials but at the lower border.

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