TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Day 331 – 4th November 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on November 4, 2009

Wednesday – Choluteca, Honduras

A short day in miles, a long day in learning patience

So, it all started OK, I was up early, had brekky and answered some emails etc. I transferred all the needed info into my notebook including the day’s exchange rates for both Honduras and Nicaragua (just in case I did both borders). I then went down and asked about where I could buy a triangle, the hotel was kind and one of the staff took me in their car to the shopping centre, but some of the shops were not open yet 😦 But, lucky for me, we tried the hardware store and Bob’s your uncle a new collapsible triangle for only $6.50, well worth the effort if it saves me $20 🙂

Now comes the annoying bit, I got lost! Yep, I followed the sign on the main highway, that should be easy you reckon, well so did I.

Well, guess what, there was a detour sign and when I went down it, there was no 2nd detour sign to put me back where I needed to go, I then made the fatal error of following someone who seemed to know where he was going. Well, he did, but it sure was not Honduras 😦 I ended up in the midst of suburbia, real back streets and lots of twisty corners. In the end I paid a taxi driver to get me the heck out of there, which he did after a lot of twists and turns, I would have spent hours without him, as it was it took 10 minutes!

After that it was full steam ahead for the border, only 20 minutes behind my intended leaving time and I was soon in the border town of Santa Rosa.

This is where I stopped to specifically lock away all my electronics and tidy the bike up so nothing can get nicked. I was approached by a number of people all offering their services to get through to Honduras. I told them all no, but one chap who had good English, said I need copies of my exit stamp that I can get right here. This was interesting, so I asked him a few questions, the most basic ones being the cost. He told me around $50 for all the paperwork and stamps, plus copies to get through both borders. I then asked how much did he want, he said US$10 for himself. Now, that sounded like a good deal, so I asked for ID and he was an accredited agent, so it all seemed fine.

I then had a quick conversation, basically telling him that if he did the work for me at the price quoted with no problems, then I would pass on his details via my website and he would probably get more work. He agreed and we were on the way, because when it comes right down to it, $10 is nothing, especially if someone can do it easier than me with my lack of Spanish 🙂 So, after shaking hands on the deal, he grabbed some copies of the exit stamp and I then followed him to the El Salvador Aduana(customs), he was in a TukTuk.

Here I paid an exit fee of $3 and got my vehicle import permit cancelled. We then tried to cross the bridge into Honduras, but were stopped by the police control, he wanted money, I said no way, I am not paying, there is no need for it. He eventually let me go after Yovani gave him the talk. We then crossed into Honduras, where once again we were stopped by the police!

Here is got a bit more difficult as I had one important document missing which was the vehicle title. Now, when I transferred the rego in San Diego, the actual Title (owners document) did not arrive before I left and it was actually two weeks later that it arrived in the mail at SanDiegoLands place. The only title I had was in Tom’s name, the seller of the bike. Anyway, the policeman was insistent I needed the doc, I told Yovani that the Title was in transit to Panama where I would pick it up, I had a scanned copy of it in my computer and offered to show them. He said, you wait, it will be OK. As I was blocking the entry to Honduras (see previous photo) I was asked to move on a bit so the trucks could get through, of which there were heaps. I moved the bike to a shady spot, (from the sun, not dodgy 🙂 ) and waited, with the Honduran border right there just to tease me!

And I waited, the policeman did not want to let me through and he also asked for money. I was adamant to Yovani, I would not pay anyone but him, he agreed with me as the police were being paid by the government already and he had a wife and 3 kids, etc etc etc. Eventually after about 5 minutes or so, an officer turned up to listen to the problem and give his ruling. I took a surreptitious photo and accidently chopped the heads off, but probably for the best 🙂

Finally Yovani was given the go ahead to proceed with Honduras entry requirements. He had all my documents, which made me a little bit nervous, but I did trust him. He said to wait, so I did, I had come prepared to wait and had a book to read, some snacks and there was even a shop next to me where there were drinks. This photo was taken at 12.10pm, I arrived at the border at 10am.

I watched the traffic and the people in between reading my book. There were some weird sights, including a very drunk/drugged lady female with F&^K me boots on and a very slovenly appearance, I decided not to engage her in conversation 😉 It is now gone 1pm and the storm clouds were building up on the horizon and getting closer! I was being patient, Yovani dropped by every half an hour or so and said it is slow, tell me about it 🙂

He had come back at one stage during the process and needed money, I wanted to give him the $50 needed but only had $60, so that meant he had all my documents and his payment, I was still inclined to trust him though, so I waited and read a book! I also met a young fella called Brian and his dad Richard who were from the north east coast, Brian spoke excellent English for a youngun of about 10. I forgot to take a photo and forgot to give him my card, he would have liked that, never mind. And finally after nearly four hours, Yovani came back with all the paperwork filled out, the right stamps, he then got me quite a few copies of the vehicle import permit(VIP) for the exit barrier and I gave him the rest of the money for his payment. There was a normal increase in cost, the system had gone down, so I was missing one receipt, not sure what to believe here, but in the end I paid him the princely sum of $12.50US Now, he stood in lines for hours in the stinking heat, he got me through the police barrier without me paying any extra and I had a relaxing time reading a book and watching the flow of humanity both ways through the bottleneck of the border. I personally am glad he did the work, I had no stress, he got some well deserved moolar and we were all happy campers 🙂

For those following, you can call him on his mobile phone : 3297-9388 and he is worth the money, cheap at half the price. I was now ready to leave, it started to rain and I mean rain, thunder bumpers and lightning, right overhead, I got as far as 300 metres before pulling up under a servo and I read a book for about half an hour!

When it had dropped to a tolerable level, and the storm cells had moved a bit further away, I headed into Honduras. I got as far as another 100 metres, where I was stopped and asked for a copy of my import permit, plus my passport, drivers licence, yada yada yada! He let me through and I was free, it was now gone 2.30pm and my naive thinking yesterday had been to get through Honduras, into Nicaragua and to the town of Grenada on the lake, yeah right m8!! I would be lucky to get anywhere further than a hotel in a large town called Choletuca about 100kms away! The first 50km was a bit hot with all the rain gear on, even my camera fogged up a bit, but the countryside was beautiful and green, well it would be with all this rain 🙂

I stopped at a road junction to drop the wet’s as it was now broiling and I needed some air flow!

I had already been through one police checkpoint about 5 minutes ago, now I had another one, this is probably the ones that try to scam you, and may be the ones that got Willi. They asked for all my paperwork once again, then asked to see my warning triangle, well I sucked them in, cos when I pointed at it behind my bags, they just laughed 🙂 There were also some military chaps near here and they had wondered over for a bit of a look, I had no idea who was the good guys, but so far the police have been corrupt! I got them to pose for some photos though, hahaha 🙂

So, I get going again, and it is amazing what you have to overtake in this country, hopefully they will not jink to the left!!!

It was nearly 4pm when I crossed the bridge into Choluteca and after a short ride around town I followed a sign to the Paradise Hotel 🙂

I was soon booked in and after a short chat, told the people that if the internet was a good connection, I would consider two nights 😉 This soon proved to be correct and I was soon settled in the room answering emails while the rain poured down again!

On the ride to here I had seen a lot of weird craftwork of deer looking beasties on the sides of the road, but I never stopped, which was a pity, but lucky for me they had some in the hotel foyer and here they are 🙂

It turns out they are made from corn husks, but I have seen no deer down here, so the logic of making them escapes me, except maybe specifically for the north American market 😕 Anyway, the bar was rocking, not, but I had internet, beer and the TV was on the soccer and they said I could watch the baseball at 6pm. I might as well watch it, I had seen the other games 🙂 The beer I chose tonight was Barena, it tasted quite nice and had life in it, just like an Aussie beer should 🙂

This is Donald with the beer held up and Max to the right, the lady is a staff lady, I don’t know her name, maybe later!

Donald was a nice chap, he bought me a beer later. While drinking, they kept serving plates of nibblie’s, quite nice I thought 🙂

A small problem occurred later on, we had drunk the fridge dry of Barena, so I had to migrate to Port Royal, another nice beer 🙂

One of the chaps I met was also called Richard, a very popular name down here it seems, so we had a few beers and as he spoke very good English, we managed to communicate, although I practiced my Spanish as well when I could 🙂 He also told me that the Barena beer was light beer, OK, but also it was light in alcohol, bummer, I just wasted an evening drinking bloody lolly water! But, the Port Royal was 5%, so I will remember that next time I have a beer here!

We were the last to leave and when he found out I was staying another day, he said, if I liked, he would take me and show me around and meet some people and see things tomorrow, that would be brilliant I said 🙂 They kicked us out at 10pm, so I took a homer and went and finished writing and posting a post. I also managed to catch up with Peter from Mildura, who had now scored a job and was packing to head to umm, Narabri maybe? It is a 3 year contract, so well done m8 🙂 Tomorrow I could sleep in, I wanted to go buy a sticker of Honduras and maybe also post last month’s photos home, so maybe Richard could help with directions and finding places 🙂

All in all, a long day, not many miles but an achievement anyway, this is supposed to be the worst border crossing around, I hope so, at least until I can get my Title. I had tried to print it in Mexico, but my USB key will not work on a Spanish computer. One note of interest from today, Richard had advised me that the police are corrupt but the integrity of the military is absolute and they will observe but probably not intervene, although their presence within hearing distance will deter some of the scams.


Day – 96 miles and 154 km
Trip – 42,333 miles and 68,128 km

Salud
TravellingStrom

WORLD

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13 Responses to “Day 331 – 4th November 09”

  1. GrahamD said

    Hey Richard,

    Thanks for all the stories, glad the border crossing dude worked out well!

    Forgive my ignorance but what is all this about triangles?

    I must have missed something!

    Thanks again M8

    Cheers
    Graham

    • Hi Graham

      Ah, the triangles, well they are the reflective things you put out behind your car/bike when it is broken down as a warning. There are no specs for this when you enter the country of Honduras, it is just a scam used by the corrupt police to collect beer money.

      In fact, as I sit here and write this, Vincent has rolled into the hotel a day behind me and here with me now, he did not have a triangle and was not asked, his scam question was, where is your front number plate, the other one they use in rotation is where is your fire extinguisher.

      He spoke Dutch to them and they let him go, no money changed hands.

      There is a lot of corruption here, hopefully I will get out of the country tomorrow before they read this post and follow up comments 🙂

      Cheers TS

    • Hi again

      Here is an excerpt from the Scams section of the http://www.drivetheamericas.com site

      Police in Nicaragua and Honduras

      Both in Honduras and Nicaragua, a favorite scam seems to be the ‘fire extinguisher and orange-safety triangle’ trick. While it is likely a good idea to carry both of these in your car in case of an emergency, it is unclear if there is actually a law stating that you are legally required to carry these items in your car. Variations on this scheme include pulling you over for passing in a no-passing zone (a ridiculous statement, since people spend more time passing than driving on the right side of the road down here) or speeding (also ridiculous, since speed limits, while posted, are never obeyed and often the posted limit is ridiculously slow). The police will ask for your license, vehicle import permit, and proof of insurance. While you can try to hand over photocopies, they will likely insist on the originals. You can try to argue this point here, but we have successfully retrieved our original documents every time (so far). They hold on to your license, state that somehow you have broken the law, and that you will have to pay a fine. The police officer will keep your license, and state that the only way to retrieve your license will be to drive to some remote location the next day in order to pay the fine. However, to avoid that inconvenience, you can pay him on the spot and continue on your way. Stating that you can pay the fine next day and retrieve your license will usually confuse the officer, and he will ask you if you understand what he is saying. State that you do, and that you would be happy to drive out of your way the next day to pay the fine and retrieve your license. He may then pull out a pad of paper as if to write a ticket, or hand your license to another officer. If you keep your cool and smile, they will hand over your license (sometimes with a smile) and let you continue on your way.

  2. ybg said

    Rich,

    The triangle is a very practical tool. The next time the strom goes belly up in a ditch, you can whip it out and use it. You should be able to attract a good crowd, who can then pick up the strom and make it all right, no sweat. If that doesn’t work then you can just use it to beat the strom into submission.

    Looks like your gunna need a couple more wally bags to carry all that stuff.

    ybg

  3. Gary said

    Richard,

    How did the Strom fare after the bellyup. Seems like nothing damaged but the pride. Have this week sold my Ducati and have ordered a black DL650, you have kept me interested.

    Gary

    • G’day Gary

      I reckon you have done a good thing and bought a Vstrom but I am a tad biased 🙂

      The bike does not handle very well upside down, but as I am usually not attached to the bike at this stage it is not a big issue.

      Technically, I did see a little bit of oil deposit, over the top of the outside of the engine, this was later and as the motor was running upside down, a small amount of oil came probably out of the air filter box region.

      To tell the truth, I have not given it a 2nd thought, it has oil inside the motor that is all that counts. I did just change it anyway, but that was due to distance travelled and it needed a change anyway 🙂

      Cheers TS

      • GrahamD said

        That’s funny (strange)

        The DL1K’s have tilt switches in them that cuts fuel, ignition etc when the bike tilts over more then 70 degrees.

        I thought that the 650’s would do the same.

        Cheers
        Graham

        • Yeah, I thought this had a tip over sensor too, in fact the motor did stop, so it must be working, but of course the oil was still available to drip into the air cleaner breather tube.

          Cheers TS

  4. Gary said

    All this information and not having to ask. Richard when are you due in South East Asis as part of RTW.

    Gary

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