Border crossings – the travelers nightmare! Really when it comes down to it, it is a really a very simple process made very complicated by a wonderful latin bureaucratic process. There are two things you need to do, the first is enter the country as a person and then process your moto and get a Temporary Import Permit (PIT). Unfortunately you can never do this in one single step and it seems that every country does their best to add their own special twist to the series of events that lead to these two simple requirements . First of all, the offices are not clearly marked, nor are the officials clearly identified – offices may appear closed, when in fact they are open, they may not be plainly labeled or visible. Requirements always include photo copies of all document in duplicate, and that also includes documents produced by customs or immigration at the time of entry. All this leads to confusion and opportunity. “Opportunity” comes in the form of “handlers” – a group of self-appointed individuals (sometimes in the dozens) vying for the opportunity to process your paperwork and guide you throughout the process for a fee. As an experienced traveler and speaking the language they usually leave me alone after the first 10 minutes. But they are very frustrating and annoying as they generally will never take “no” as an answer.
Crossed the border in good time, with a short side trip back Guatemala (event the most experienced can be humbled by the process) for some forgotten paperwork. Once done, it was smooth sailing into the country and a lovely nighttime ride of twisties to EL Zonte – Surfers Paradise where we pulled our bikes up onto the sandy beach side Palapa for a well deserved beverage, with the waves crashing behind us. We were fortunate to have stumbled into a lovely bungalow styled hotel surrounded by thatched buildings culled together with timbers to make a thoroughly unique surf village.
in preparation of an inland stretch where temperatures where we expect temperatures to rise to close to 40 degrees celsius we drench ourselves in water – Lee actually just walked into the outdoor shower and claims he will have his own air conditioning for 45 minutes – the time it will take to dry in these conditions. After several frustrating attempts at finding accommodation on the beach, we stumble upon Tortuga Verde and Tom the owner, who took very good care of us, on one of the most pristine beaches we have seen so far.
The following morning we all decide to go to the boarder with Nicaragua. Unfortunately I experience the first flat tire in my all trip since Italy. I manage to fix the tire on the side of the road with the help of some locals.