On the road in El Salvador
I have started to develop a routine, mosty based around security, for the borders. Horizonsunlimited also continues to be a great source of information, some amazing people out there write up each step you need to take to cross the border, although it's clear things do also change. I reached the border and crossed into El Salvador at La Hachadura after a few wrong turns, the road signs are few. Still it provided much laughter for a crew of petrol station attendants when I went to ask for some directions, the guy who spoke some English did a great job, his mates rolled around the floor, at my expense, I hope. As soon as I pulled up to leave Guatemala at the border a guy called George (with a sister working as a nurse in London) came up and offered to help, he told what the customs/immigration would charge on each side and offered to help for a 'tip'. One cigarette later, as I scanned the chaos around me, he had a deal. George was great, there seems no logic to what you are required to do, get copied and then signed ... many times, to cross these borders. This was a whole new border experience. It took about 1 1/2 hours, without George I could be still there. What I noticed was the customs/immigration staff would not allow him to presents my papers, a great idea as this reduces the risk of corruption on both sides. I thanked George, paid up and rode into El Salvador and the heavens opened to celebrate, big rain, big thunder and amazing lighting.
Coastal El Salvador
.. and more of the same. They have signs on the side of the road warning you about surfers crossing, just what are these guys on ?
I soon realised this country was small, I looked at my map and saw I had covered almost half way in a few hours, I had heard 7 hours to go straight across. I pulled into a hotel at La Libertad and spent the night there on my own, 4 staff, one security guy with a shotgun, a dog and me. I left in the morning and looked for somewhere to spend the night near the next border. When planning this route I had decided to steer clear of much of Honduras, it did not get a great write up, thats not to say they were right. Anyway, the plan was to leave El Salvador, ride into Honduras and then cross into Nicaragua, all in one day. I had heard that going this way you spend 2 hours in Honduras. I chose to stay at La Union, about 45 minutes form the El Salvador/Honduras border. When I got there I found this empty port and a brand new 'Welcome Inn', very strange, almost as if it was airlifted down from California. The hotel was full of USA soldiers and evangelical christians, a strange mix ? .. I don't think so. Anyway I fitted right in, enjoyed the 'western buffet' and stayed for 2 days enjoying the gospel singing.
A beautiful day at La Union, Honduras in the distance
All quiet at the port
I was trying to check the brakepads