August 30, 2009 GMT
El Salvador-Honduras-Nicaragua

While we were in El Salvador, there had been a military coup in Honduras...quite something, they kidnapped the president and took him to Costa Rica. America and Colombia were up in arms saying it was an illegal coup, and thousands of people were in the streets in Honduras. At this point no one knew if they were protesting his arrest, or celebrating it...only in (Central) America.
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A quick blast through Honduras

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The local way to travel
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That's GOTTA be a strong bike!

The day the borders re-opened, we got on the bike and did an epic ride through El Salvador’s volcanic landscape, out of El Salvador, meaning we had to export the bike, then go through immigration, then import the bike into Honduras, and then do the Honduran emigration, $48 and 4 hours later, we were in Honduras, we sped through Honduras, stopping very briefly for a taco and some abuse from a very very drunk national, and 2 hours and 6 military and police checkpoints later, we were at the Honduran border with Nicaragua.


I rode into the customs complex, and whilst looking for the right building to import the bike, I missed the huge pot hole in front of us. The bike dropped 8 or so inches into the hole, and emerged minus a stand spring, with my stand dragging along the gritty floor. Uh oh, that was the sixth time, and I was down to my last spare spring. We repaired the stand with a bungee cord and rode up to the customs building. Another 2 hours of exporting and importing, and we were through, almost. I took a photo of the bridge and the ¨Welcome to Nicaragua sign¨ as per usual.
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The snap that caused all the trouble!

A Policeman from the Honduran side ran over to me and seized the camera, telling me it was illegal to take photos of the police. He pocketed the camera, then asked for my driving license, which he put in his shirt pocket with my camera…this was going to be fun!
I insisted that the photo was of the sign, and showed him the picture I had taken, he asked for my driving license, which I gave him, then he pocketed it, and the camera, and demanded $80.
This is fairly normal practice; police are corrupt, and eager for an extra buck. I told him I had enough money to import the bike to Nicaragua, and no more, so if I paid him, I would be stuck, not being able to re enter Honduras, nor enter Nicaragua, I gave him my favorite line of having no money , but a lot of time! I explained that I could wait all day if I had to, but that I couldn’t pay him any money. I went and sat on the bike, taking off my helmet and jacket and getting comfortable. A few minutes later, he approached me and said $20 would be enough, I again said I couldn’t pay him, and said all I could do was give him cigarettes. A few minutes later, we were on our way over the bridge, into Nicaragua, waving goodbye to the smug copper, smoking my Marlboro, and pocketing a $5 bill in his fat, sweaty hands.
Entering Nicaragua was a fairly simple, and free, experience, and half an hour of paperwork later, we were free to go.
The road on the other side of the border consisted of stones and rocks thrown together in a fairly straight line for 3 miles, at the end of which, a man with an assault rifle stopped us and asked for the $1 toll. I resisted at first, not wanting to pay a toll for a road that hadn’t even been built, but, with the rifle looking a tad menacing, and the fee only $1, we paid and were on our way to Leon.

Posted by Dan Shell at August 30, 2009 10:37 PM GMT
 


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