Heading Home! 30 miles from Honduras-El Salvador Border

El Amatillo Travel Blog

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Puma Station less than 30 miles from Honduras-El Salvador Border:

N13’ 26.371 / W87’27.074

 

We’re headed home!  Here's how that transpired:

 

 

Ned arrived and we were thrilled!  His one checked bag didn't make it (but now will be returned to Houston). We headed for Grenada.  New Canadian friends rode with us- their luggage was lost too.

 

Got stopped by that damned Police scumbag!  He instantly recognized fake id.  I admitted it right away and showed real one, but wouldn’t hand it over.  He demanded for $20 US.  I figured it was a good deal given the amount friends had to pay and that he had me on an infraction for using a color copy.  So I basically threw the $20 at him, grabbed my fake id back, said, “Gracias!” and drove off without looking (while he was trying to ask for more $ for his partner). 

 

Granada:  Entering the city we experienced a Funeral crowd blocking the street, a motorcycle accident, difficult city driving with trash blowing everywhere.  I cannot believe that "colonial jewel" is the best attempt at tourism for Nicaragua.  Umm-um!  I didn't go into Managua, the city, because the same guidebook said that was one of the most tourist-unfriendly places in the world.  Maybe by comparison, Granada is nice.  The Granada square could be nice because it has impressive architecture, but it wasn't pleasant at all when we drove through (and I now have a very high tolerance for a lower-standard of living).  Not impressed with Grenada. 

 

We made it to the Grenada Touristcentro Park (3km long) along the water of Lago de Nicaragua (the big body of water in Nicaragua).  Paid 30 Cordoba to get in ($1.50) and tips to two vigilantes.  Parked in large parking spot near lstreetights, backed up to a nice breeze off the water.  Traffic continued through park until late.  A little uncomfortable feeling.

 

Awoke early and had an idea:  Head home with Ned!  5 minutes later, it was decided.  I could not imagine putting him on a plane in Costa Rica without us and having to navigate that stressful territory back home.  No thank you! 

 

Before 8am, we drove back through difficult Granada.  Cobblestone, one-way streets directly along the central plaza.  Another motorcycle accident! 

 

We had to go right back by Masaya or go through Managua.  Yuck!  So we went a 4th time past the potential corrupt police stop.  He was not there!  Horray!  However, different police did stop us about 3-4 times in Nicaragua.  They waved others by and got excited when they saw us coming. 

 

Border crossing into Honduras was easy!  We used 2 different guides and they were helpful.  Officials were nice.  Copy of vehicle permit from Honduras previous entry was helpful.  Nicaragua and Honduras get along.

 

Stopped more by police, at least 4-5 times in Honduras!  These 150 miles between Nic and El Salv were the worst of the whole trip!  We passed about 3 more police sets without stopping- I don't think they wanted us to stop, but I made sure not to look or linger.  Charmed my way through the stops the best I could.  One police asked for money and I said, “No money, but para ninos, chocolate!” and he was happy with huge Hershey bar and tootsie rolls for his 3 kids.  Nice enought guy, a Federale police, but why ask for money?  No Spanish fluency seems to help me, although I do try to be helpful in minimal Spanish.  I refused to turn over my driver's license and when they wanted it out of the wallet’s clear window, I handed a nearby b&white photocopy for “el numeros”.  Think that saved me. 

 

Other techniques when stopped by police: 

1.  Asked for directions:  When they went to wave me over, I hesitated in the RV, rolled down the window, and asked nicely for directions, as if I was stopping them.and then I would say, “Gracias,” throw down the map and drive off.   

 

2.  Refused to go to side of road unless absolutely had to.  Instead, I'd stop in road with them in front and blocked traffic.  They would walk up to my window and talk from there.  Sometimes they immediately directed me over, but that at least put me at the front of the line with access to leave.

 

3.  Would act pleased to see them, compliment their country, apologize for "mi Espanol es malo," smile a lot, touch their arm when asking them to repeat, and other sickening charm in what is not a charming situation.

 

Very nerve-wracking and stressful day!  Confirmed my desire to leave.  People are nice but police are crooks.  We are obvious targets.  I drive and Ned lets me handle all police conversations, providing a complimentary score for the acting afterward.

 

We’re about 15 miles from the El Salvador border now.  Nice ladies at a Puma station let us park behind the building- I showed them the inside of the RV, tipped the vigilante, gave cookies to their sons.  It's hot here. 

 

Hope El Amatillo border goes okay.  Nervous. 

 

Can’t wait to get home.  Will kiss the ground!

 

 

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