Well we are in a hotel right on the beach at Masachapa in Nicaragua. And when I say right on the beach I MEAN right on the beach. It has been another eventful day characterised by roads that went from fantastic to terrible to downright bloody dangerous. And the big showdown between Ricardo and the anonymous policeman. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
We rode out of our flash hotel at 6am but we weren't the first ones out and about.
We gassed up at the next door petrol station which took visa and then headed off down the road. We were puzzled at first by the number of cars and trucks ahead of us swerving all over the road. And then we realised! Not topes but potholes. Huge potholes on this main road. It took us over an hour to cover 40 kms. Crap!
If you hit one of these at a fast enough speed it would be goodnight nurse!
We were in horse country.
and before we knew it we were at the border.
And hello! What a surprise! There were blokes here who knew our names. Yes, more brothers/cousins/nephews of the indomitable Ronnie! We were a bit more on the ball this time. As you can see above, serious negotiations took place. We established a price of $USD20 per bike. We refused to pay them for taking our passports through Nicaraguan immigration. We figured we could do that ourselves. Again nervous moments as they disappeared with our passports, drivers licences and Certificates of Registration. However all seemed ok. While we waited, Kiwi checked out this young chap. seemed ok.
We received our papers and set off for the Nicaraguan border.
However, suddenly it seemed we had to stop at the side of the road for a police check. And then the drama began. The police checked our passport, exit documents and licences and all seemed ok. There was a problem though with our Certificate of Registration apparently. We needed to have two papers: a certificate of registration AND a certificate of title. We patiently explained to them that this is not the way it is done in New Zealand. We explained to them that every other country we have travelled through has found this acceptable. We explained that the Honduras officials had allowed us to enter the country with only one certificate.
No joy. We needed both certificates. There was no alternative. We were trapped in Honduras forever unable to leave until we could present both certificates. Then, mysteriously the three policemen became one. Mysteriously this one didn't have a name tag on his jacket. He was going to solve our problem. For a consideration of $USD125 per bike he could overlook this shocking shortcoming in our documentation.
At this point I stepped back and left Dick to it. He tried reason, he tried anger, he tried reason again. He demanded to know the policeman's name and number. He described this as corruption. Loudly. The policeman put his hand on his gun. Dick put his hand on his hips. They glared at each other. The policeman blinked. Our papers were returned to us and we were free to go. Phew. Our minders, who were in on the whole charade could not hide their disappointment.
At this point they said their job was over and could they please have their $20 and they would leave us to get on with it. No way! No pay without results. That put them in a quandary because they weren't actually allowed across the border. Finally they agreed that the young insurance saleswoman (Julia) could come with us, see us through the final stages of the process and we could pay her. And so it was. The Nicaraguan officials were slow but thorough. Julia was great. Really helpful, scurried around getting photocopies made and waited until the last stamp had gone kerthunka on the last piece of official paper.
And we were out of there. We sprinted up a really good piece of road and stopped at a chicken place for lunch. Shirley wasn't quite sure which loo to go,to so photographed them both.
We then headed off down a great fast road towards Managua and turned off to Masachapa. Wow we thought! We could almost be in another country! Hello? We were in another country. Then suddenly the great road turned to crap. We were in off road mode and the GPS was saying still 57kms to go.
We stopped to ask a family on a scooter. Mum, dad and two kids.
They said (we think) the road is bad for four more kilometres and then it is good. We took them at their word and they were pretty much right. Maybe a leetle more than four kilometres.
But with interesting company.
Anyway the road improved and as we turned onto a side road down to Masachapa it became this weird embossed concrete stuff.
Firstly we went to this really flash hotel, supposedly by the beach There was no room at the inn for four scruffy motorcyclists so we went around a few corners and found the Hotel Summer. A bit rough, a bit basic but ok. No wifi but a lovely surf side bar with incorporated sunsets. Kewl huh?
And that was it. A dinner, a beer for me and a margarita for Shirl and we're in bed by 8pm.
Tomorrow, another early start with a long ride and a border crossing into Costa Rica. Oh yes - we're going all the way to San Jose.
Today's ride: 305kms + a border crossing