12. Honduras, - on the road to nowhere...
I was warned about the high price to get a bike into the Honduras, but I still coughed and spluttered when I had to fork over 40 USD.
I’d engaged the services of a Tramitador, or rather Tramitadora to get me through the bureaucratic tangle, and that definitely saved me some grief. I’d arrived as prepared as could to combat overheating in my gear, having photocopied all the relevant documents – but stone the flaming crows, they wanted a photocopy of their very own entry document, #*@& !
My friendly , about to be dissapointed Tramatidor
Even though I’d negotiated a price with my helper, she was mighty unhappy when I only tipped her 1 USD extra. It doesn’t seem to matter how dirty the bike is, how smelly my clothes are, or how unkempt I might be, all the locals on this trip think I’m loaded, and it really gets to me at times…
Unfortunately there seems to be a breed of Package deal tourists out there with more money than brain cells, and I reckon they hike the prices up for everyone.
Wallet emptied I headed straight for Tegucigalpa ( you try saying that in a hurry ! ). Arriving at dusk headed straight for the city center in search of a cheap hotel from my Footprint guide, finding it after being trapped in a dead-end conversation with a local…., even starting the bike and flipping down my helmet wouldn’t shut him up. None of the ATM’s worked with my plastic, and would you believe I had to Mastercard a Burger King meal.
The Hotel was blissfully quiet, but Tegucigalpa has all the charm of a two week old dead fish hiding under the back seat of your car. Prejudiced by the border rip off and the smelly fish I headed straight for the Copan ruins on the Guatemala border. It was a great ride, but man was I sour about road signs in this country , quite simply – there ain’t none ! Twice I had to stop at a y-junction with absolutely no clue, having to look for locals or flagging down passers by to get directions.
There was one sign that had me laughing in fear. Coming up on a bend signed “Curva Peligrosa”, or dangerous curve, I followed what seemed like a detour bending at a sharper angle than the sealed section, and thank god I did. As I entered the unmarked detour the road ahead was simply blocked with mountains of earth, and I was lucky not to be doing an Evil Kneivel without a landing. It was a close one that I won’t forget in a hurry I can tell you.
Riding through Esperanza the warnings from Kristen ( Leon ) became more apparent. There were chain gangs and their armed Gorilla-like guards everywhere. They stared at me riding past and I was glad the helmet covered my mouth gaping as I stared back. There must have been one mother of a prison nearby.
The other 'interesting' part of driving in Honduras is the Honduran-truckdrivers-move. Basically if an 18 wheeler sees a clear strech of road ahead with which to overtake another, he does so, regardless if someone like me is heading towards him on a motorbike. The first time shocked me as I took evasive action, and even though I couldn't believe it, it kept happening...
I checked out the Copan Ruins, which were mighty impressive. The museum on-site houses many objects which cannot otherwise be seen, and hope to have some great slides out of there.
A view over the Ruins of Copan
Estela B, click here for a larger image
A rather sinister looking 'Hijole'
I got my stickers for the bike, and it was adios Honduras, but not before taking another wrong turn at T-junction without any signs.
A sign company could make a fortune here….
Jeremy , 31.07.2002
Currently in Phoenix, Arizona – 26,715 Kilometers ( 15,500 miles ) travelled
Posted by Jeremy Andrews at July 31, 2002 07:26 PM GMT