Accomidations: $20 US/night
Food: $ 30 US dollars
Fuel 27 Colons/ Litre
Exchange rate: 20 colons / US Dollar
We took off out of the little surfing village of El Tunco fueled by a cappucino and a peanut butter and jam sandwich each. The road through El Salvador was the best road that I've ever ridden. So good infact that if that particular stretch was a toll road near home I'd pay to ride it at least 4 times a week.
We planned to have an early departure, however, we were delayed because the bank machine ate up 20 dollars US. I had to sit in the bank for an entire hour while the banking staff counted the ATM money to verify if I was telling the truth. In the end I got my 20 bucks.
The delay at the bank caused us to arrive at the El Salvador/Honduras border at noon. The paper pusher there told me that it would be a 4 hour endeavor if I chose not to hire them to push the paper work through. Apparently they used to work there and they knew everyone. Well the paper process on the El Salvador side was mostly done by me and it took at grand total of 5 minutes.
We crossed over no mans land to the Honduras side (you have to sign out of one county, then sign into the next one). Again there were paper pushers...same story..."Amigo this border is different....you need me". I ignored this guy as much as possible and he ended up causing more delays than if I would have ignored him completely.
Anyhow some big guy was blocking the doorway and I was asked to pay him 10 dollars US plus 65 dollars to process the paper work. I declined and this caused a bit of a disturbance and about 1 hour of incessant negotiation. Finally I recognized a weakness in these fellows and that was thirst and hunger. I drank a refreshing 7Up and crunched away on a bag of chips which I offered only to the skinny guy. Approximately 10 minutes later the fat guy got out of the way from the door and walked over to the road side store. It was then that Julie gave me the all is clear and I entered the airconditioned Customs office where my passport, drivers license and registration was laid out on the womans desk just waiting for me or the paper pusher guy to go ahead with the process.
Alas it was no more than 20 minutes to get done what needed to get done. In the end I only had to pay 35 US dollars....converted to 635 Hondurans money. Even the woman at the bank where I had to pay wouldn't give me the change from 650 until I asked twice for it. I was sure glad to get out of there.
We headed through Honduras with only 3.5 hours of light left at 2:30 PM. It was then that we encountered the first of 15 police road blocks, equiped with machine guns, toyota trucks, and shot guns and of course their side arms. It was the same thing every time...passport, customs papers, drivers license, registration. After stopping at the first 5 stops I was getting more worried about getting stuck in Honduras compared to the repetitive police. At the 6th stop I began waving back to the police...when they realized I wasn't stopping they freaked out and jumped out of the way. They were shocked and only blew their whistles and yelled and this was the signal to roll onto the throttle and get back up to speed.....audios!!!!
I repeated the slow down and gun it approach at all the following check stops with good luck. We arrived with one hour to spare covering the 130km in good time. We passed into Nicaragua with no trouble. I was so annoyed with getting ripped off all the time that I refused insurance and took of into the darkness to the town 60km into the country.
We arrived at Hotel San Cristobal and to our delight they served the best food we've eaten in years. I had the Chicken " Gordon Blue" it was delicious!
The hotel was a party joint on the side of the road and we listened lucidly to the Latino beats well past 4 in the morning until the last screaming latino went home. Alas our room had A/C and had a comfy bed.
DECEMBER 11, 2009
We high tailed it out of town to Granada, Nicaragua. Unfortunately we ran through a huge pothole which at first seemed to cause no damages. I pulled over nonetheless to inspect. The hole was so severe that it disconnected the speedometer, caused the battery to leak acid out of the overflow, and on further inspection dented the rear rim. Luckily we didn't flat! We made it to the Capital of Nicaragua, Managua. Here a fellow beat the rim face almost back to normal...good enough to keep going. Managua was the first place in the world that I encountered real deal poor people. There were tent villages made of plastic bags for walls and roof tops and children in the streets carrying their baby brother or sister begging at intersections where traffic was stopped. These were 3 and 4 lanes of traffic that drive fast and I thought about the parents desperation to allow their childern to beg like this.
The villages gave me the creeps as I rolled through wearing my oakleys and expensive motorcycle and gear so we got out of there emerging from the garbage and burning plastic smoke. I was happy to have my GPS to help guide me in the correct cardinal direction until I finally found the highway. You just never know how to get anywhere down here, you just navigate in the correct direction until you find faster flowing traffic and stick with it until it turns into a highway.
All is well that ends well however. We got a room at some guys house named Amadice for 18 us dollars a night and went out for yet another great meal in Nicaragua. We'll hike another Volcano tomorrow and look at the colonial town from high above situated on the shores of Lago Nicaragua.