Something wicked, this way comes...

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
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25
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Trip End Sep 03, 2008


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Flag of Honduras  ,
Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ok it's Jess...a short blog here, but let me paint the picture a bit for ya' ...the Pan American Highway (it's not highway, just a series of paved and unpaved roads called the Pan American Highway) follows the Pacific side of Central America and goes through El Salvador and the southern end of Honduras...about an hour and half to transit through Honduras on your way to Nicaragua, but they ensure they tax the hell out of every vehicle traveling through!!...this is famed as the worst border crossing in Central America, and today, it lived up to it's promise.
 
It only took about 90 minutes, but it cost us $112 to cross!!!..it should have been about 30 bucks!!...and it's Sunday and the bank is closed where you have to pay the mandatory fees...there were semi-trucks a mile long on either side of the border...with drivers sleeping in hammocks under their trailers...I took that as a bad sign. 
 
Ok, the good part, immigration was a breeze...6 bucks for Malin and I and we were in...but now we have to temporarily import the bike, and the helper I hired for this process was both good and evil...the entire Honduran system is rigged, first off we had to hide Malin and the bike in a small courtyard of a border-town restaurant...smells fishy from the get go doesn't it?...then my helper had to pay off just about everyone at each stop to bypass the fact that the bank was closed today...11 bucks for the import form, another 26 bucks for government fees, another 15 bucks for cutting lines to "save me time", and then 65 bucks that just got lost in the process...I tried to follow him to all of the official offices, but he wanted to go alone...I did accompany him for about 45 minutes, and of course, we made no progress. The officials who were getting paid-off to sign us through did not want me present to witness the debauchery...and getting a second or third opinion in a system that is totally corrupt is absolutely useless.  It was obvious that my helper knew everyone in town...and when I tried to solicit another helper, it was obvious again that they were all in cahoots with one another.  When I confronted them about the corruption, I was told "you can't talk about that"...you're not in America, you're in Honduras now mutha-f'er!!...and even though I could have crushed them with mind-bullets, they have guns, this is their country, and its their game...not mine.
 
So long story short, I've lost much more money on one hand of black jack at the Hard Rock and had a good time doing it, but this just soured the Honduran experience from the get go.  Now, as I type, we're in a nice hotel with a pool and wireless about an hour drive from the border in Choluteca, Honduras, and after a few beers...the sting of getting ripped off is ebbing a bit....I hope we don't have to go through the same pain on the way up!...my new attitude for such corrupt places...forget it...time is money...pay it and be happy...circumventing the system here is a time consuming process with little reward.
 
By the way...at the police checkpoints after the border...they waived us down to stop to check our paperwork and of course, to solicit additional bribes, but I was fed-up, we waived and smiled at them, and kept on going!  I looked in my mirrors and there were no M16's pointed at us...so I just twisted the throttle and hammered down...it worked twice!
 
Our way north through Honduras will be along the Caribbean coast, and I'm sure we'll have better experiences, but today was pretty bad...knowing that you're getting ripped off, even before it happens, and dealing with such corrupt officials, there is no recourse, only frustration...all of this just to transit through the country!!  Well, Mom never said this trip would be easy!
 
Time to chew a stick of Juicy Fruit and wash away the day...it can only be upward from here!
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Comments

lisamckinley
lisamckinley on

Bummer!
It sucks to have your initial impression of a whole country tainted like that...I wonder if little Luis knew this was coming! If you see him again, throw him another fiver, for his honest work.

Hey, I'm at work right now, and getting financially reamed by border officials in Honduras still seems preferable to being here. Thanks for taking us with you! Keep the stories and pictures coming, xo~Lisa

nancylmckinley
nancylmckinley on

Patience Needed!
Sorry to hear of the tough border crossing into Hondorus. I imagine I would've had my tongue almost bitten in half, but of course you're right...what can you do since you're on their turf. Smile, smile, smile. But to gun the engine and roar off without additional stops? Thank God they didn't try to chase you down. Be still, my heart. Wow!
Love, Mom

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