Total Mileage: 7,072
Money Spent: $15
Thanks tree, for giving me a nice spot to sleep. My home for the night in Honduras.
I crossed the border into Honduras from El Salvador around mid day. It was an easy border crossing, just a little slow. I had to pay 3 bucks to get into Honduras, which was no big deal. While I was waiting for the paperwork to be completed, I sat and shot the breeze with the border guards and some of the vendors. They gave me some good tips on getting through to Nicaragua. It made me laugh though when one of the Salvadoran vendors pulled me aside and warned me about the crazy Hondurians. He said they had lots of guns and that they might try and rob me for my bike! I swear, every country I go to, they warn me about the crazy people in the next one, even in the USA that happened going from one state to another. But for a Salvadoran to warn me about guns in another country is like the pot calling the kettle black!
I crossed over into Honduras and set off down the Pan American highway, from one border to the other would only be about 80 some odd miles. I was not in Honduras long enough to get a real feel for the place, but my brief experience there was very positive apart from the Nicaraguan border crossing (I will get to that later). The people were generally very nice and wanted to ask me where I was going and wish me good luck on the trip. I was glad to be able to communicate as my Spanish has gotten so much better. I still have trouble expressing complex ideas, but I understand a lot. By the time I get through Argentina I think I will be close to a conversational level. The one thing that throws me though, are the differing accents, that takes some getting used to.
After a few miles of riding in Honduras, a couple of local kids that had seen me ride by rode up to me and made a big deal of passing me on their bikes. Not being the type of guy to let a challenge from kids a third my age go unanswered, I hit the gas and we raced for a good two or three miles. Although I have to admit it is pretty tough to race when you are laughing so hard. It was a ton of fun and we were alternating riding with no hands, no feet, swerving all over the road, etc. I swear, I felt like I was 12 years old again.
The guys wanted to show me the town statue so we pulled over and they insisted I take a picture of the statue as having one is pretty cool I guess, even if it was a tad underwhelming. I gave them a bottle of my water as it was so dang hot and they asked to see my map and for me to show them where I had ridden. They were very cool kids, especially the littlest guy, Santos. He was a real fire cracker. He always had to ride at the front of the pack (which was funny because he was too short to sit on his seat and pedal, he had to ride standing up the entire time). He would constantly show off too, by standing on the seat while riding, jumping off of dirt mounds, stuff like that. He always made sure everyone was watching first though! Every time a car would pass us and honk (we were all over the road) he would shake his fist at them and yell things at them a kid his age really shouldn´t be yelling. He was a show off for sure, and a little too wild for his own good...he reminded me of me when I was his age! Well, to be honest, that was me up until a few years ago!
We rode together for a few more miles until we got to the turn off for their house and we parted ways. I rode further into the country and I have to say, Central America is just such a beautiful place. I have moved on from the jungles of the north into the mountainous plains (sounds like an oxymoron I know, but that is the best way to describe it that I can think of) of the middle. Here, everything is just as green, but it lacks the overabundance of plant life that the north has. The mountains are still covered in trees but the flat areas are all fields of lush grass dotted with Oak and other types of big trees, some of them are gigantic too, like Banyan trees, with long arms that stretch out tens of meters away from the trunk. It makes for a gorgeous ride and reminds me in some ways of the Bay Area of Northern California after the rains have come. That night I rode out into a field and slept under a big tree. I got a great night´s sleep and it finally didn´t rain, which was nice. Rainy season is coming to an end which is good news for me.
Crossing the border the next day was a nightmare, but as that has more to do with Nicaragua than Honduras, I will save that for the next post. My overall impression of Honduras though was very positive, and I could easily see myself returning in the future.
There are two things I had forgotten to mention about my time in El Salvador too. One was the food, which is delicious and very cheap. The local dish to try though are the Pupusas. They are a thick corn tortilla stuffed with beans and cheese and are only about 30 cents. I would get 6 of those, two friend plantains (I have come to really love those plantains) and two Coca-Colas for $2.50. Not bad!
The other story is very telling of the state of El Salvador´s infrastructure. I was riding down the road when I noticed an ambulance pulled over and the EMT´s out on the road trying to flag people down. They waived at me and I stopped to see what was wrong. They were on their way to answer an emergency call and they had run out of gas, and they had no money to get more gas! Holy shnikeys, that is unbelievable. Someone could have been dying and they couldn´t even get to the emergency because they lacked money for gas to drive the ambulance! Wow, that just blew me away.
At any rate, I will post more in the coming Nicaragua post.