January 28, 2013
We have decided to bypass Guatemala City and ride to the border of El Salvador today. As we left Antigua, we stopped for fuel. Scott wanted to check the oil in the bike, so I bent over to grab the back of the bike to help pull the bike onto the center stand. I had my helmet on, eliminating any peripheral vision – I was surprised to see someone’s hand right next to mine along with the barrel of a shotgun. I turn to see what was going on and there stands a man with a shotgun hanging over his shoulder, and a big smile on his face. As I look around, I notice several guys with guns – protecting the gas station. We have been used to seeing the police or military with guns, but these guys were not in uniform. He was very happy to help (enamored with the bike) and waved cheerfully as we rode off.
Driving out of Antigua, we drove past two active volcanoes – the closest was Pacaya. We rode around the base of the volcano for quite a few miles. We could see the smoke puffing from the top. It is a popular activity to do the 4-hour hike to the top of Pacaya… we were tempted until we heard that several people have died from the lava spurting out the top…. I think that I was as close to the volcano as I want to be today. I couldn’t help thinking about all the indians living in the villages at the base of Pacaya… how would they get away from a large eruption?
We ride through beautiful ranch land and miles of sugarcane fields. Everything is very green and lush – the trees are so beautiful, at some points covering the entire roadway.
As we ride along, we have seen people doing crazy things in and on vehicles, thus answering our question, “Why are so many people here missing one of their legs?!”
We crossed the border into El Salvador today. As I waited by the bike while Scott did the paperwork, I noticed some cars parked across the street… I started wondering how long it was going to take us to get through the border…
It is not an issue to cross the border, it is just a long process…. took 3 hours. A man named George helped Scott through the process. We have learned that the term for these guys is “coyote.” He lived in Riverside, CA, for nine years, so he speaks English well. Scott bought him lunch and gave him about 8 dollars. El Salvador uses dollars as their currency, Guatemala uses quetzals, Mexico uses pesos…. I am glad Scott is in charge of the money!
We met three men from Mexico City who are riding to Panama – Ricardo, William and Miguel. We joined them to ride down to the black sand beach. Stopped for a meal at a restaurant on a cliff along the ocean – great view!
Riccardo speaks English well, the others just a little. Scott and I weren’t really hungry at first, just thirsty (at 95 degrees….). After seeing them get their meals, we decided to order some of what they were eating. It was delicious! We asked the waiter for our bill and he said that the other guys were paying. They would not let us pay! We invited them to visit us when they ride to the states. They told us that when they planned this trip to Central America, all their friends and family in Mexico City told them that they were so brave and also very crazy – because it is so dangerous in Central America….
We found a little hotel on the black sand beach – Roca Sunzal in El Tunca, a surfing beach. Cooled off in the pool and took a walk on the beach just after sunset.
The other guys are leaving early to ride through El Salvador on to Honduras – we may stay here another day….
January 29, 2013
After breakfast with our friends, they took off to ride. Riccardo has invited us to stay with him and his wife when we ride back through Mexico.
January 30, 2013
I got up early to see the sun rise…
Today on our ride toward the border of Honduras, we saw some interesting things. We saw several young men standing on the side of the road holding up something for sale – we slowed to find….
….. iguanas for sale! Not sure what exactly we would do with one… Then, seeing the cattle sign on the road took on new meaning today…
The herd split into two groups, one crossing the road and the other going our direction…
When we got to the border, a pack of “coyotes” descended upon us – they were literally climbing over each other to get Scott’s attention. Scott had read on the ATV Rider website about this border crossing… there was one guy’s picture posted on the site with the warning that he was dishonest. Sure enough, he was one of the pack. Scott pointed to him at said, “I will NOT do business with YOU!” He was not too happy about that! As we progressed through the many steps that we had to complete, we did find one honest guy, Osmond, who helped Scott without trying to get any extra money from him. When Scott was all finished, he showed Osmond and his group of friends the picture of the dishonest guy on the i-pad. They all got so excited about this and had Scott write down the website – they wanted to show it to all their buddies.
An hour or so after crossing the border, we were stopped at one military checkpoint. They kept asking Scott for something, we weren’t quite sure what they wanted. Scott showed them our passports, then our documents, then finally realized they just wanted to know the size of the bike. “Uno bad ass moto!” is what they said as we rode away.
Staying tonight in Choluteca, Honduras. Tomorrow we will cross the border of Honduras into Nicaragua.