Day 46 - September 17th

Hot. Long. Tired. Crossed 2 borders today - supposedly some of the worst borders we are going to encounter on our journey. The day started in San Miguel at 5:45am and we were on the road before 7:00. Said our goodbyes to Orlando and Jesus, and headed for El Amitillo. We read online from multiple sources that this crossing is absolutely horrendous, so we were expecting the worst. Upon arrival we were swarmed with 'touts'....people who wanted to help us through the border process. They were pretty persistent and followed us around even though the official on the El Salvador side spoke perfect English. Red Shirt guy kept following us anyways....whatever. Leaving El Salvador was pretty easy overall. We had to get a couple copies made of various paperwork and different stages, but everyone knew exactly what was needed and made sure we were prepared. After about ten different steps, we made it across the bridge to the Honduran side. Here was where it got crazy. Red Shirt guy had a Honduran friend who helped us out... we followed him around from the copy shop to the immigration building to the copy shop to customs to the bank to the copy shop... it went on and on. Without him there, we would have had no idea what was going on. At the end of the crossing, we paid a total of $3 for our immigration fees, 100 Honduran lempira for some crappy paperwork (still not too sure if that was legit) and $5 to Red Shirt guy each. After about 2.5 hot, sweaty hours, we were through. Once in Honduras we also heard 14 police roadblocks were to be expected. We didn't see anywhere clos to that number. In fact, we only saw 2 and even those didn't require stopped...pretty sure we slowed from 110 km/h down to the speed limit of 80 km/h and waved at the cops. No big deal. We wanted to head to Leon, Nicaragua so we had to get off the Pan American in Honduras and head to another border crossing. The road was terrible and full of potholes, but no biggie, was only for 30 mins or so. We arrived at the Nicaragua border, spending a total of 2 hour in Honduras, yay! Really glad we paid that $34 Honduras import fee. Luckily, the border on the Honduras side was super easy and took all of 20 mins to get thru immigration and customs. Again we had helpers try to give us tips, but we fended them off. The Nicaragua side was pretty funny at the start. We had to go into a tiny building with a lady and a camera who pointed at our heads. We said, "yupp, we have helmets!" Then we tried to smile at the camera together. She had no idea how to ask us what she really wanted. She then pointed at our fingers and made a breaking motion. "Nope, we don't have any broken fingers!". She laughed and handed us a smudged piece of blue paper. We didn't find out until later that this was the medical checkup. Perfect. The border was hot, and took way too long. Lots of people, a couple of busses must have arrived at the same time. The registration that we gave them took us an extra while to get approved as well, bu lt we made it thru. Another 2.5 hours at the border. At least we didn't need tons of copies or pay random people this time. We did have to pay for a tourist card and mandatory $12 insurance though. We got out of the border area and drove the 2 hours to Leon and found a cool hostel with a couple top bunks open, a swimming pool and some hammocks. Got there just after dark. Both completely destroyed from the long day, we found a quick bite to eat around the corner and hung out in the hammocks until bed. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, just glad this border day is over.

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