Border crossing suck, big time!

Guasaule Travel Blog

 › entry 24 of 34 › view all entries
Border crossings are always a little bit frought with danger, and although we've crossed at some pretty pissant border posts this one definately takes the cake.  After eventually finding the right bus to take us to the border and waiting on it for half an hour, Tristan realised that he had read the wrong section in the guide book and this was the bus to the wrong border.  We got off just as the bus revved it's engines, leaving the locals cursing "los gringos estúpido".

When we finally got to the border we were swamped by touts of all kinds.  Before the minivan had stopped our bags were being hoisted off to roof-racks by cyclo drivers as money changes were blocking the door.  With a snarl Tristan snatched his bag out of the hands of one guy as Arlene realised that her bag was no where to be seen.  It had already been loaded on a bike taxi behind the crowd.  Tristan gets a bit worked up when people touch the bags, but considering that all our earthly belongings are in them, its understandable.  Even though the tout didn't understand a word I think he understood that Tristan was a bit miffed.

We picked one driver to make the others go away and he told us the fare was based on tips, fair enough.  As the cyclo took off towards the border crossing hoards of money changers ran alongside offering rates that were close to daylight robbery.
At the border we were charged a dubious 3 US$ exit tax, then a mysterious 7 US$ entry tax, all the while being haranged by 10-15 money changers.  It's hard to stay focused under pressure and the sums are not that easy.  We knew we where getting a pretty average rate but it was almost worth the 4-6 bucks we lost just to get them out of our faces. 

Luckily the cyclo driver was a real friend in this.  When we told him that the rate we got was bad, he asked if we wanted to go to the police, but it wasn't that bad   He talked about where to go in Nicaragua and we politely nodded not understanding much.  He was a real pal until we got to the onward bus station 2 km down the road and requested 20 US$ for his services.  Was this guy serious!!!  Tristan keep repeating "DOLLARES...  DOLLARES" thinking that he must of been mistaken or high.  He got 2$ for his efforts before the bus driver shooed him away.
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