Sunday, May 15, 2011

5/5/11: Leon, NA - Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 200 miles, 6.5 hours.

So I wake up, pay my bill and get my things together. Say goodbye to K who stops by. Finally leave around noon. Head north and an hour later Im in Chinandega, which is even hotter than Leon to stop for something to eat. The girls working at the cafeteria are super - flirty and really nice. There are a bunch of drunks hanging around outside and one guy is waiting around to hit me up for whatever. I have the cafeteria chick put the rest of my lunch in a bag to give to the guy. I get back on my bike and another guy comes up. Maybe its because Ive been away so long, but Im pretty jaded from random dudes coming up and talking to me down here, when its obvious its usually a big drawn out conversation designed to separate me from my money. I usually skip the formalities at this point and just say I have nothing for whoever it is I am talking to, in the interest of just saving time. And thats the case with this guy as well. I head north and Im at the border in 30 minutes. The crossing starts out pretty cool when a border guard lets me handle and check out his AK-47, which I have definitely never done before. Its one time on this trip where I really regret not having managed to get a picture somehow, but I didn't want to press it with the guy who was being super cool already. The NA side is fairly painless, I stamp myself out, after some confusion where they wont take NA money, just 2 dollars US. Which is fucking ridiculous, but I knew this. They finally take some NA money at a crappy rate, but whatever. My goal is not to go to an ATM until I hit Mexico where I can use a Santander ATM and not get charged, since they are linked to my bank back in the US. This is going to mean a lot of haggling with money changers, but I am up for the challenge. Stamp my bike out and go cross the bridge into Honduras. Go to immigration and get sorted out. Its not that bad, considering Hinduras has the reputation for being one of the worst borders to cross in Central America. Its not that crowded, but did I mention its HOT? I meet a couple of other motorcycle travelers from Venezuela and they point me in the right direction to import my bike. I sit in an office with very welcome AC and chill while my paperwork is being done, in no rush at all as I am enjoying the cold air. I run to get some photocopies, pay my 35 bucks to the nice chick who has processed all my papers, and Im in Honduras proper.
True to form, I start getting hit up by cops after a while. In all, I get stopped 5 or 6 times. Haplf of them are cool and let me through no problem, or just ask a couple of questions. The other half are not cool. I start to go through one checkpoint and am angrily waved over. The cop feigns surpeise and anger and is demanding all of this shit from me, blah blah blah. These guys are a joke, so un-intimidating, not any scary stereotypes you may normally imagine. So after a while, the monetary requests keep going down as I continually refuse to give in. Finally, the cop asks for a Coke. Sure, Ill get you a Coke man. "And for my friend?" Sure, anything else? No? Good. I run across the street get a couple of Cokes, take a picture on the down-low and roll out. Only one more cop before I reach Tegucigalpa, who asks for 50 bucks and then when I make a face, starts laughing. Ok, nothing for you. Teguc is still a shithole and frustrating to navigate. No internet cafe's are open, and its only 8PM. I find a cheap hotel and buy some nacatamales off the street, go to a Burger King and buy a drink so I can eat in the AC, and head to a coffee joint, where I am served instant coffee. I leave and see a group of guys hanging around some bikes and start up a conversation. They invite me to get my bike and go for a ride with them. Im tired, but what the hell. I go get my bike and they are digging it. We head over to the leader of the crew's (Edwin) club, which is packed with all kinds of bikers, women and bikes and is pretty hopping. I have a beer and a good time hanging out with everyone, and before I head out I have a few new Facebook friends. I manage to make my way back to the hotel and sack out. Tomorrow, Ill try to make it through the rest of Honduras and cross into Guatemala where Ill head to Rio Dulce and Casa Guatemala, the orphanage where I need to drop off those photos.

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