I woke up in El Salvador to the sound of the waves crashing into the beach, no alarm clock for me anymore. I wanted to get an early start, cross Honduras without stopping and reach Nicaragua by early evening.
I followed CA-2 towards the border, a great road and I was making great time. El Salvador is very scenic and beautiful so I slowed down a little to enjoy it more. I was close to the border when some men jumped from behind some trees and into the roadway, motioning for me to stop! I became very startled and hit the throttle as much as I could, I was soon doing 140km/hr. I was not sure if they were muggers or what they wanted but I was not going to find out. As I rounded the corner still doing 140km/hr more men jumped from the bushes, these ones were flashing some cards they were wearing around their necks. Turns out they were “helpers” that some people use for assistance crossing the border. By the time I stopped my bike I was surrounded by about eight men all wanting to be my “amigo” and “help” me cross the border. I had to call over a policeman just so I could get off my bike. A couple of stamps later and I was out of El Salvador, easy, no help needed.
I rode over to the Honduras side and was again approached by men wanting to “help”. Unfortunately for me I arrived at lunch time and many of the offices were closed. I decided to use one of the “Helpers” in an effort to speed things up, big mistake. I waited near my bike and was immediately approached by a staggering drunk, smelly man. He mumbled something and almost fell on my bike. I gave him the remainder of my Pepsi in an effort to get rid of him, it worked. A few minutes later another drunk approached me, this one was old, missing teeth, spoke some English and was eating a box of crackers. Each time he opened his mouth crackers few out, some of his disgusting filth landed on my shirt. When some crackers few out and landed on my bike I lost my temper and angrily got him to leave. My “helper” finally came back and needed more copies of my Drivers License, we went to make copies while his “friend” watched my bike. I waited and waited for my helper to move things along but it seemed to take forever, I was getting both frustrated and bored. That is when the entertainment started.
A drunken man and a drunken woman started fighting right in the middle of the roadway (CA-1 the Pan American Highway). The woman throws a roundhouse punch to the head, followed by and uppercut to the jaw, the man returns with the kick to the stomach, knocking them both down. Down but not out the man gets up and starts punching the woman. Finally the police, who had been watching from the side lines, blew their whistle and approached the couple. Round one was over.
Five minutes later – Round two. Suckers punch from behind to the man’s face. He returns with three quick rabbit punches to the nose, she is down. The man jumps into a moving pickup truck, the woman crawls to the ditch where she remained for the next hour, nobody checked on her.
Another drunk approached and shoves a bottle to Tequila in my face. I move away, trying to avoid trouble, and in almost perfect English he calls me a “dirty Gringo” and staggers away. My “helper” is still not helping, I am no closer to crossing the border then I was when I arrived.
The old cracker chewing drunk come back and wants to talk about the “First Lady”. I tell him I am Canadian and don’t want to talk about the USA. He extends his hand says “I like Canada”. As we are shaking hands I notice the smell of urine, he just pissed his pants.
You can’t make this stuff up.
My “helper” finally returns with my paperwork. I pay him the $2 he asked for in the beginning but it is now not enough, fine, we settle on $5 for him $5 for his “friend” who watched my bike. As soon as I put my helmet on I am approached my one of the cops who was watching the fight earlier. He says he needs to do an “inspection” of my motorcycle. My “helper” says he will “help” translate. The cop says my motorcycle has “mucho problema’s” and he has only inspected my brand new tires. My helper offers some advice “$20 to avoid inspection”. I don’t want to pay a bribe but after 20 minutes of listening to “mucho problema” I slip $20 US in between the seat and gas tank, I am now free to go.
With my helper running beside the bike I am them stopped for a “fumigation” of the motorcycle. The fumigation station smells like rotten eggs and there is no way I am getting this stuff all over my bike, $11 solves that problem.
I try and take off but my helper has now got a Tuk Tuk and is right in front of me, slowing me down. More police and I am motioned to stop. My “helper” is right there to translate. There appears to be an “exit tax” that nobody told me about. I am not paying anything without a receipt, so another 30 minutes pass. The cops have more patience than I do and $15 each in phony taxes and I am free to go. Or so I thought now my helper wants more money. It was getting late; I needed gas, a clean washroom, and just want to be on my way, I gave him $10. I am finally free to enter Honduras. It is too late to cross all the way to Nicaragua so I call it a night about half way through.
I get another early start and am only about 30 minutes from the border. Some kids are filling in pot holes along the road and wanted money or food for their effort; none of the passing cars give them either, nor do I. The road is complete crap and it takes a lot of effort to pass the convoy of slow moving tucks in front of me. I finally got another good stretch of road and again someone runs out from behind a tree, holding something in their hand. I don’t like this running out from behind bushes stuff, still a bit shaken from the masked, machete men in Guatemala. Turns out to be a girl carrying a large iguana, about a meter long, the roadside ahead was full of people holding meter long iguanas. I wanted to stop and get a photo, but I was not feeling good about Honduras so I kept on driving, straight to the border. Once at the border I avoided all helpers and exited Honduras in about 15 minutes.
Off to Nicaragua, that border crossing was fun, more on that in the next post.