Honduras again....ugghh!!

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
Trip End Sep 03, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hotel Santa Maria

Flag of Honduras  ,
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We knew when we started today that we would have to put in a lot of miles and cross the border from Nicaragua into Honduras. We had planned to stay in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa but from earlier experiences we figured that we would try and go through the capital city and stay further along in a smaller town called Comayagua. 
Today turned out to be one of those difficult days that you almost rather forget. However there is always a good lesson to be learned in the end and today I feel we learned a lot.
The border crossing was not too bad. Of course the helpers lied several times trying to make us pay all kinds of bribes, but having experienced this before Jess was able to see straight through it and handled everything on his own. We did not have to pay a single bribe! I was proud to see him take control of the situation and use only Spanish in order to avoid contributing to the corrupt system that's been put in place at these crazy border crossings!
Once we were done with the 2 hour border crossing it started pouring down rain but that's not a problem anymore, so we just put on the rain gear and rode off! In general, the way people drive here in Honduras is pretty crazy, and today was the worst of all. We saw a bus pass a huge 18 wheeler truck in a blind curve just when another bus came in the opposite lane! They passed 3 across and the oncoming bus had to steer off the road just to fit and not crash right into that passing bus...we were also in a few dangerous situations while riding through Tegucigalpa that I wish I never experienced. I got so angry and scared it was hard to stop thinking about it for a long time...
Anyway..Jess will fill you in on more of the details but we ended up reaching our destination and took some time to process what we experienced today and what we learned from it. However we need to have these days as well in order to appreciate the many good things that have come our way and the fact that nothing really bad actually happened.  It could of, but it didn't...
Yep!!!  Jess here, and today was another one of those days that ABSOLUTELY SUCKED!!!  Getting out of Grenada was great and we were on the road early and heading toward the border when I got stopped for speeding again!!!  I was doing 60 mph following a local car, but the cop said that it was a school zone and that I had to surrender my license to him, ride up the road about 10 miles to the local bank and pay the equivalent of $75 for the fine...then return to him with the receipt and he'd return my license.
First off, I've seen radar guns in use in Panama (I got two speeding tickets there) and Costa Rica, but not in Nicaragua!!  Anyhow, I handed over my AAA International license (cost me $15) and sped off...that cop can keep it as a souvenir from us to him...I've got my real California license plus another expired license that I can use in the next such situation.  So that's 3 speeding tickets so far and all they've cost me is the price of my cheapie AAA license!   I kind of felt like growing up in Ventucky has paid off...and I mumbled "them Dukes...them Dukes" as we sped outa sight....bullet number 1 for the day...dodged!
Okay, now we have to get out of Nicaragua (without the license I used when I came into the country), get into Honduras, and then get through the traffic of the capital city and find some place to hole-up for the night before pushing north to the Caribbean coast.
Well getting out of Nicaragua was a breeze...the customs officials didn't ask for my license and pretty much just stamped our paperwork and waived us through...now time for Honduras...and yes, again, they tried to rip us off!!...but no, no... that wasn't going to happen today...not to us!!  I felt like Michael Douglas in the movie Falling Down...I was ABSOLUTELY NOT  going to take any crap from any man, woman, or child today!!  I was going to get my beloved wife, our bike, and all of our crap across this god-forsaken border crossing come hell or high-water, and I wasn't sure what sort of William Wallace-like hell I was prepared to unleash, but all I knew for certain was that Malin and I were going to the Caribbean and we were going to have ourselves a rocky-mountain goodtime when we got there (although non-existent in these parts, that's a reference to Coors Light beer which flows freely as tap water in Ventucky).
The corrupt border helpers ended up throwing every lie in the book at us...we needed to buy insurance for Honduras for $20 (false, only for Nicaragua and Costa Rica)....the customs boss was eating lunch and would have to be bribed in order to stop eating and process us through...(false, I barged my way through the employee-only entrance door and spoke to the boss myself)...and finally, without the original copy of my title/pink slip, we could not cross into Honduras, no exceptions!...this last one was the hardest to overcome...I have a color-copy of the title, but I told the officials that we (Americans) keep the original title in a safe place like a safety-deposit box and that the original registration document will suffice...they said no way, and told me that we would have to return to Nicaragua.  That was unacceptable and was not going to happen...not today.
I then took out an American quarter and did my best to "emboss" an official looking seal on the color copy of the title by pressing the quarter into it and went back to the boss to plead my case...I guess they liked my ingenuity because they accepted it!...but only after I showed them in my passport where two-weeks earlier the same documentation was permissible for entry into Honduras on the way down. 
Hell yeah!!!  We did it!!!  I was stoked!, but then the border helpers said that I owed the boss $100 for accepting my documentation without an original title...and that I had to pay them and they would pay the boss...I looked at them and told them first in English and then in Spanish, that they would make more money if they were honest and quit lying to people, and that it's not good for them nor for the image of Honduras.  I dealt with the boss directly, and she was cool and professional...these rats had no idea what they were talking about...case closed.
Just then, the clouds opened up and dumped on us,  but we could care less...after the day we've had so far, a little rain wasn't going to stop us...bye-bye border...bullet number 2....dodged!
The capital city was about 40 minutes from the border and the traffic was hellacious!  A car came into our lane and pinned us between the cement curb median and the main part of the road...so we were basically riding on the 10 inch cement apron next to the curb, but there was 3 inch high asphalt ridge to get back up to the road, and it took three attempts to swerve the bike hard enough to make it up that little ridge, all the while doing about 35 mph and having the undercarriage of the bike scraping on the cement curb.  This was a little wake up call to what I have to say is the worst road-manners we've seen anywhere on our trip...yes there is aggressive driving in all of the countries down here, that's just how it works and it fits my riding style just fine, but it seems that maneuvers in Honduras are a little less thought-through ...we actually saw two painters carrying their ladder on their shoulders running across the 4-lane freeway ...the car in front of us slammed on its brakes and started a chain reaction...it was like a scene from the Three Stooges....seriously!!....anyhow, bullet number 3 for the day....dodged!!
Okay, we're through the capital city and up into the foothills,  about 40 minutes away from our destination.  The sun is fading and so are we, when all of a sudden a feel a little brush on my leg....I look in my mirror and see something white tumbling behind us...I asked Malin...what the hell was that??  She said she don't know...I then looked down at the tank bag and the zipper was open!!...that white thing tumbling behind us was a gallon-size Ziploc bag with our passports, visas, and customs documentation!!!  Holy crap!!  I pull over about a half-mile down the road to do a u-turn, but I have to wait for about 10 semi-trucks to pass us that are heading straight for our paperwork!!!  I was sure that if we ever found it that it would be totally shredded and useless...and we'd have to return to the capital city that nearly killed us and spend a week or more at the US and Swedish consulates getting our paperwork re-issued...literally, I pictured our entire Central American adventure grinding to a halt..just then, on the shoulder of the road, I saw our documentation, totally unscathed!!  Hmm...what if I never felt that brush on my leg?....never mind, bullet number 4 for the day...dodged!
Finally we pull into a sterile looking Honduran hotel across the street from Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, Dunkin' Donuts, and Baskin Robbins...how's that for a little culture?  I passed up those fine establishments and headed to a place aptly named "The Beer Store"...the guy staring back at me through the rebar-grated window looked more happy to see me than I was to see him!!  Must have been the bike and my angel sitting on the back....anyhow, I ordered some Salva Vida (the Honduran national beer) to go, and Malin and I discussed the events of our day over a couple of cold beers....we were both exhausted...but acknowledged the fact that today we were lucky, that we are on an evolving journey and need to keep improving our adventure skills, but most importantly, we are thankful for each other and the angels hovering above us.
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donw on

Come Home Soon
I'm having heart attacks reading your entries.

braden on

Wow! What a day!
Yes! Your angels are with you both. Via con Dios et Santa Maria!

Your Pop

jloder on

Nice work!
Nicely done Mckinley's...can't wait to see you when you get back

lisamckinley on

Just a reminder
Three speeding tickets and I am compelled to share the following tidbit of cheesy wisdom:

Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly

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