Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Honduras at Last!

At long last we've made it into our country of destination!

Today's journey was our last long one. We started out this morning from our hotel with a short drive to the border. We came up on a. long line of trucks waiting for paperwork to clear. A guy waved us over and some others came rushing up to offer their assistance. As advised we ignored them and drove up as close as we could to the border buildings. Fending off a few more offers for help, Janelle set out on her own to clear us out of Guatemala. That turned out to be fairly easy and we were soon on our way through 2 kms. of no mans land to the Honduran "aduana".

Same thing, we came up behind another line of trucks and were rushed by another crowd of guys hoping to handle our paperwork. We again drove as close to the buildings as we could and found a guy who spoke some English. Janelle determined he seemed fairly trustworthy and set off with him to begin our paperwork process for the truck and our visas. We stayed with the truck. The migration window officer in an interesting roundabout way let Janelle know that we could do the truck paperwork ourselves and didn't need this guy to help us. So Janelle offered $10 for the help he had given us so far and told him we would handle it ourselves. He eventually gave up on us and Janelle proceeded on her own. The Honduran customs officials were very helpful and she eventually got through the process and we got on our way again. Ask Janelle for more details some time! We probably spent two and a half hours at the border.

What we have for the truck is 90 days temporary permission to operate it in Honduras. That temporary permission can be extended but eventually to license it in Honduras we will have to pay an import tax of an undetermined amount. We quickly discovered a very good reason why we should get Honduran plates on as quickly as possible. It was one that I suspected would be a problem the whole way south of the U.S. border. We were waved over at almost every police checkpoint between here and the border. I'm sure it's because we don't have a license plate on the front. Any plate would be better than none. When they see nothing recognizable out comes the arm and over to the side we pull! With one exception this has been only a minor annoyance. Just before the city of San Pedro Sula there was a police checkpoint and the guy waved the bus over in front of us. As we were slowly passing him, he must have decided we looked like a more interesting possibility. He blew his whistle for us to stop waved the bus back onto the road. He came up to our window and claimed he had waved us over instead of the bus and since we didn't pull to the side immediately (which we couldn't have because the bus was in the way) he wanted to fine us. We tried playing dumb and then arguing but it was clear he was determined to find fault with something and get a little money out of us. Because when we corrected him on his story about us not pulling over right away he then wanted to know if I had a fire extinguisher (which I did) and orange triangles (which I didn't). Then he wanted to fine us for that. Seeing where this was going and wanting to be on our way again we just paid the fine and took off.

Our drive today took us up and down a lot of mtns. That gave the truck a pretty good workout. The brakes were smelling hot and I found a nail or screw in a tire. I've had to be very alert for potholes and sunken parts of the road in Honduras. They have had a lot of rain here and among other things, it's been hard on the roads.

It was dark when we arrived at our hotel here along Lake Yojoa we were told there will be a good view of the lake in the morning. Nobody else is at the hotel and the owner said they haven't had anybody here for about a month because of the weather. It is a nice place.

Well I want to get some news on the election and then get some sleep. Thanks again for all your prayers. It's hard to believe tomorrow we'll be at our destination!

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