After leaving the paradise beach of Mizata, we headed back to Sunzal
near La Libertad, where we heard from our german friends Daniel and
Ramona that they were coming to meet up with us... At Mizata! So we
packed up again and headed back to paradise for another two blissful
days. This time there were nine of us and a nearly half the crew had
NEVER tried roasting marshmallows over a fire. Needless to say we
remedied that situation, and the marshmallows were a huge hit with the
Euros and the Latinos.
After two days we once again had to pull
ourselves away from Mizata and we headed to Lago Coatepeque for one
more night with Daniel and Ramona as well as to celebrate Andrew's
34th birthday!!! Its very challenging to surprise each other for
special occasions as we are together 24/7. However with the help of
our tag along chef JF, we managed to bake andrew a double layered
banana and chocolate ice cream cake from scratch on a camping stove!
It was a pretty sweet surprise and an awesome day on the crater lake!
After parting ways with the Germans we prepared to cross both borders
of Honduras in one day to get to Nicaragua. The border crossing from
El Salvador into Honduras was relatively painless except for being
bombarded by 'helpers' trying to convince us that the process was WAY
too complicated to do on our own. We did just fine on our own and
drove into Honduras.
30 kilometers later we hit the first police check stop. We had heard
about possible scams the police pull to try and make you pay absurd
fines, and we were ready... or so we thought. We had heard about the
'orange triangle' scam and the 'fire extinguisher' scam, so we made
sure we brought some along so there was nothing to argue about. We
weren't quite prepared when the cop told us we needed four reflectors
all along the side of our van because we were a 'microbus'. The fine
for this particular infraction was 40USD. That is $40 we didn't want
to part ways with, so we tried telling him that they weren't needed in
ANY of the countries we had been to . Finally we saw a microbus drive
by with out any so called reflectors and we pointed this out to him.
Right away he knew he was caught and handed back our papers and sent
us on our way.
30 kilometers later we hit the second check point. This cop asked for
our triangles and we showed him. Then he asked for our extinguisher
and we showed him. Finally he pulled the reflector scam... by this
time we weren't having any of it, and told him the last police officer
said it wasn't necessary. He gave us an angry look but gave us our
papers and sent us on our way.
The next two check points were relatively painless.
The final check point just before the border we came across a new one.
The police officer told Andrew his license was a copy and that he
would have to pay 61USD at the police station which was in a town 40
km back the way we had come. His 'helper' friend who spoke perfect
english told us that we could also settle it there for a smaller sum.
There was no way we were paying anything, but how do you convince a
police officer is wrong and you are right? We told him we would gladly
go back the 40km to the station and discuss it with his supervisor.
After about 20 minutes of back and forth we finally called his bluff
by getting in the car to go to the station. For the third time in
120km the officer gave in and handed us our papers with no money
exchanged and it was on to Nicaragua!!
After the border crossing into Nicaragua we were stopped again about 5
km past the border. "Not again" we thought, being tired and somewhat
stressed about arguing with police.
This was a little different. The cop greeted us with a big smile and a
handshake, and asked for a coke. His buddy was standing on the side of
the road laughing. We told him Sorry! we have no cokes! The cop just
laughed and sent us on our way. Supertroopers perhaps? Either way,
Welcome to Nicaragua!