Wednesday, June 23, 2010

El Salvadors Best Wave, El Tunco

This bicycle had a T.V and a cooler on the back rack. Man this guy really knows how to Roll!
My guy at the Honduras border with his family that accompanies him here everyday. Aside from his wife and child he had his entire extended family here as well, mother, father, brothers, uncles, etc. They run the whole food catering, paper pushing mafia. Had I paid the asking price up front I would have been through in 5 I was promised! Instead for two hours I bought food from his relatives, practiced spanish, argued with his dad, and met his wife and child. It tured out to be a great experience.

The rainy season is in full capacity here and it typically rains in the late afternoon between 1pm and 4 pm depending on the topography. Here in a cloud burst a flash flood swamped this familys house and the inhabitants were hustling to get out all their possessions. While photographing it I noticed that the family was smiling and in good different from how I'd be acting. I guess.......the fact that they haven't been paying flood insurance means that they have no strees waiting to hear back from the broker about why they won't be paying.

My first ticket in 50,000 km for making a dangerous pass around a transport truck that was slowing down at about 1 km from a check point. I of course could'nt see the check point so I passed in the passing lane. This apparently was dangerous and the cop pocketed my license and ordered me to pay 300 Cordobas. I was so mad that I requested to see my license and when it was presented from his pocket I tried snatching it from his hand. It didn't work out all that well and I had to pay up in the end to free my hostage license.

Mr police man. I popped a shot while he was writing up a ticket after I was arguing with him that I did nothing wrong....but whats to loose on his end other than 300 cordobas if he was to just let me roll on through. Thats what I get for stopping and abiding by my western rules which state, when a cop says stop...down here you waive and say ...good bye!

A Marathin ride was in order after hanging out for the better part of a month and so I pulled out of San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua with full ambition to cross through Honduras and get to El Salvador in good time. As I was practically at the Costa Rica, Nicaragua Border I was instore for a big day.

I had previously thought that I'd stop into Granada and visit a fellow named Amadice who Julie and I stayed with on the way down. This time, however, I'd be able to talk a bit, now that I have a better volcabulary of spanish. Alas, when I checked the map I was only 62km away and it was 9:45am. This seemed too early for me to stop so I continued northward to the border of Honduras. Just before the border there was a check stop and a large transport truck began slowing down about 1 km from the stop. There was a passing lane, and from behind the truck I could'nt see what was going on, so, I simply pulled out and passed the truck at about 80km/hr only to see a check point ahead. I was pulled over to the side and asked for my license. I handed over the trusty laser photocopied and laminated fake and got busted for it. No big deal! He simply asked if there was an original available. As Grant and I were asked the day before at the border to present originals I thought it was ok to hand over the original. Dumb move! The currupt cop pocketed my drivers license and began writing up a bogus ticket. I could see what he was doing so I interrupted and asked what hapened to my license. He immediately pulled the card from his pocket and stated that he'd be holding onto it until I paid a traffic ticket for dangerous passing. I thought back to the dangerous pass and there were no other cars, it was a straight road and it was also a designated passing area with a broken yellow line. All these thoughts ignited a fury in me and I lurched forward and tried to snatch the card from his hand. He must have been a professional knuckles champ, because, his reflexes were so fast that I missed and raked his finely pressed shirt with my greasy wet black gloves. This totally startled him and he backed way off and began yelling at me. As I knew that he was totally working me over I started yelling back at him which really did'nt do anything at all. I pulled out my camera as he finished writing up the ticket and popped a shot of him and he seemed oblivious. In the end I had to ride into town and direct deposit the money (15 USD) into a police account. On return with the payment reciept from the bank I got my drivers license back and he wished me good travels trying hard to be my buddy now. On departure there was a solid line of cars on the way out, I said good bye and rolled on the throttle passed them all on a solid line and suffered no consequences.
The fun wasn't over yet! As I was riding along, black as ink clouds beagn to form to the east. I could see rain on the horizon and suited up in rain gear. Moments later I was riding through one inch of flowing water making its way off the highway to the adjacent ditching. Eventually I made it out of the rain and arrived at the Honduras/Nicaraguan border at 2 pm. There was a football game on and Argentina was playing so the Aduana guy would'nt leave the T.V. room to process the papers for 30 more minutes until 2:30. I didn't care because I expected nothing more than this when I was approaching the border. Once the Guy came back it was only 5 minutes and I was in. I ran into the money changer at this border that ripped me off 30 USD on the way down. He remembered me and told the guy that was exchanging cash with me that I was a friend and to give me a good rate. Of course he remembered me! I paid for his months food and Accomidations and I specifically remember him yelling to me as I rode off that he "Loved Canadians!!!"
The last time that I crossed Honduras there were 15 check stops. This time however, there were 4 and I only got stopped at two of them. At the last stop I was getting too friendly with the police and finally when I turned the key on to start the bike the guy began asking me for my motorcycle gloves so that he could own a pair as I was returning to the United States where I could get another pair easily. As I'm low on cash the notion of handing over 60 dollar gloves was out of the question so I simply relpied ...NO!
I was about to tackle the worst border of all between Honduras and El Salvador. Here the border is run by a family that charges processing and paper handing fees to all that pass through. I told the guy that he was running a mafia and he totally agreed. I argued that I wasn't paying anything because I'd passed through more than 40 borders and its all the same process. He was very convincing that this was a different border and that I'd be spending the night. I agreed and showed him that I was content on staying up all night and sleeping beside my bike. The conversation was over heard by the woman at immigration and the message was relayed that she would'nt stamp my passport if there wasn't a payment. In the end I barged through the big wooden doors and spoke to the head official who phoned over to the immigration office and right away my passport was stamped. This scenario took 2 hours and in the mean time I met the paper pushers whole family who comes to the border to cook snacks, sell beverages, push papers etc. His wife and child also hang out at the border all day with daddy. In the end I saw the man as working for a living with his whole extended family extorting the public just to make ends meet. I finally gave up 6 dollars because he became my friend and introduced me to his father, mother, wife, brothers, brother in laws, baby, and all his friends (oh and didn't let anyone steal my gear when I had to go inside to sign a paper). I took a picture of him and his family and gave him my email so that I could forward the photo to him somehow just because I liked him in the end.
Getting into El Salvador was so easy that it only took the time for the official only to read the passport and it was over. Some 5 km up the road was Aduana and this took the better part of 45 minutes and a drug sniffing dog. By now it was dark and I was heading to El Tunco for El Salvador's best surfing wave. Alas, 40km down the highway the bridge was missing. A huge bridge...just gone! and with all the iron and concrete laying in the belly of the river below. I pulled a U'ey and accumulated so many bugs on my visor that it was an emergency to stop and find accomidation immediately. The problem was, there were no ligit accomidations other than love motels which are very popular down here. You see the vast majority here are catholic and the kids live at home basically until they are married so....if you want to get your end in, you gotta go to a love motel. I guess this is better than going to her house and having to stick around and pretend to enjoy scrambled eggs in the morning around an awkward breakfast table with daddy staring down his machette.
Finally, a hotel appeared on the horizon that wasn't pay by the hour, 24hr/day. Unfortunately it was 3 times the price that I usually pay and I had to shell out 28 bucks for a hotel that would definately run me about 150 in Canada, complete with free coffee, fresh potable water, and a bag boy with a pistol grip defender, chrome finished shot gun. He was a cool dude and very helpful with carrying up my bags. He was also really interested in my motorbike but was willing only to talk for a moment because he had a duty to protect the establishment with the pump action chrome pistol grip 12 guage.
Today I changed my oil at a little motorcycle shop and made my way to yet another bridge washed out. Apparently all the way up the coast I'll be running into wash outs. There was a group of fellows willing to help me across, for pushing, pulling and stabilizing the bike. In the end, however, I knew the water was too deep and the babyhead size boulders making up the river bed was just too much work, not to mention that the water was running hard and about waist deep according to the eager helpers. To save the bike and about 20 bucks in handing fees I opted for an alternate route. Announcing the plan for an alternate route one enterprising individual demanded a consultation fee. He was about 8 years old and should have been at school...but this little brat was obviously well on his was to being a millionaire.
I skirted the bridge by going north east to San Salvador and then came back south west to the CA2 to El Tunco where El Salvador's best point break is located. I checked into a hotel that offered me a 12 dollar room. Once my bags were in the room the girl looking after the bed sheets demanded 25 bucks. I was so polite that it was sick. But having the option to leave as it was only 2 pm she backed down to the original price and was super nice about it after I explained in broken spanish that her boss told me 12 dollars and I'd leave other wise. With this matter setteled I headed down to the beach that was rocked hard by a storm only a couple of weeks ago and rented a surf board from a friend that I met 7 moths ago named Bambo. The storm completely ruined the beach. Now all that is left is Boulders and round stones and pebbles. All along the back beach is piles of drift wood so deep that is is impossible to navigate. Alas, it was alot of work to get to the entry point where the surf break is located.
El Tunco is one of the best places for me as there is virtually no breaking waves off to the side of the point. Thus, I don't get my face wet trying to duck waves! I simply paddle out to the entry point, wait and catch a solid 30 second long wave. It's totally awesome dude!
Perhaps I'll stay another day but the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala are calling my name.

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