Monday, January 5, 2009

Adv #7 Continued: Honduras. Briefly.

And then there’s Honduras. (We entered Honduras January 3rd, but I’m posting this January 5th at our hotel in Granada, Nicaragua.)

Honduras, I wish I had more good things to say about you. We couldn’t even find a flag/sticker to add to our bikes!

Starting with the border crossing experience at 11am, my first question is: Why does this have to take so long? Okay, we take twice as long because one guy waits and watches the bikes, and the other guy does the paperwork from office to office. But it took us 4 and a half hours to get into your country with no lines of people ahead of us? And about $38 in total charges per person and motorcycle? I thought I was being scammed by a crooked border official, but we’ve read a couple of reports that say it should cost that much.

We utilized the services of a couple more border expeditors, and still had a really long and miserable experience getting into Honduras. “Wait here, show these papers. Now get 2 copies of this, 4 copies of that, and 5 copies of that. Now go back over here and get this signed. Then take those copies…….” On, and on, and on. It’s a joke. And then when you get the final checkpoint….oh… need to drive back and get one more copy of something they forgot!

Anyway, we made it through the border in the steaming heat, but had a pretty weak first impression of Honduras. Instead of even looking for other things to do in the country, or what to go and see, we looked for the fastest route through to Nicaragua, which put is in Choluteca, Honduras for one night. (Plus, we really felt like making up some time on this trip so we could spend more time in Costa Rica.) The roads in Honduras were littered with potholes and plenty of garbage, too. And about every other person we encountered really lacked the basic “friendliness” we’ve encountered every step of the way until this point. Some people (cashiers, clerks, etc.) were downright rude.

These two pictures will show what I mean about the garbage along the roads. First one is a zoomed-in picture of the nice countryside, in the middle of the ride to the Nicaragua border:

But when you zoom-out, you see the same picture with all that garbage at your feet. From what we saw, it seems garbage is everywhere in this country:

Aside from our adorable waitress at the Argentinian restaurant that night, and the guys who fixed my flat tire the next morning, Honduras didn’t show us much worth staying for. Tough to make that conclusion having seen only one piece of highway, one major city, and one small part of the country, but it really didn’t feel like something to stick around for. (Oh, we woke up to my flat tire the next morning. Flat caused by a “pinch,” which happens when you hit a pothole a bit too hard, and the tube pinches inside the tire and rim.)
I’m sure there are finer points in Honduras, but I’ll have to see them later. Off to Nicaragua.

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