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Bo 'n' Louise

A blog about one of our trips

The unprepared round-the-world tour starting 29th of June 2009.
First phase was from USA to South America on motorcycles. We made it, and the bikes are sold.
Second phase was the South Pacific... from island to island in old fashion backpacker style.
Third phase was around and around in Southeast Asia.
In fourth phase Louise went back to Denmark (August 2010) for work, while Bo continued in East Asia.
In fifth phase we were both on work, Louise in South America and Bo in Southeast Asia.
In the sixth phase Louise was in Denmark while Bo was making his way home through Russia.
By November 2010 both Louise and Bo were back in Denmark and an amazing journey has ended - but then there is always the next trip :-)

Worlds worst border crossing – now with scorpion

Honduras + El Salvador Posted on Sun, August 30, 2009 21:47:55

All right all right, there are probably worse border crossings in the
heart of Africa that nobody survives. However the border
crossing “El Amatillo” between El Salvador and Honduras must be a close runner-up for the title of “the worst border crossing in the World”.

99 % of the people in the pictures are actually not crossing, they are just there

We had made our preparations and knew that this border had a
reputation as being a crazy place, so we had to have a go at it.
Midday afternoon on Friday we rolled up the bikes towards El Amatillo.
Already 2 miles earlier we had been met by a bunch of guys who all
wanted to be our helper at the border. We waved them away with great
authority, including the ones claiming they were custom agents from El
Salvador. They would like to annul our motorcycle permission from El
Salvador, but were rejected since they didn’t carry any
picture-identification. We were completely on top on how to handle
those guys. However, they were very persistent and did wear same
t-shirts with the customs logo. Hmmm… all right, so they were real customs
agents after all, and did get our permissions in the end. Onwards to the
actual border where more helpers and money changers, who met us with big
smiles on their faces. The border crossing itself was rather chaotic
with cars and trucks everywhere and small stands and offices with
people wearing uniforms and not. While I found the room with
immigration shared be the two countries, Louise was looking after the
bikes.

Due to the border cooperation you – in theory – do not need to be
stamped in or out, but that did not stop Honduras charging 3 USD for
the entry. El Salvador wanted us to stamp out (yes, after we had
“entered” Honduras), even though we had not been stamped in when
travelling in to the country. This was however free (hurray). All that
was left now for us to continue our trip was to get the motorcycle
permits for Honduras. Luckily we had been through the procedure once
before at the border crossing between Guatemala and Honduras, so we
had some knowledge about what was going to happen. However El Amatillo
did not achieve it’s bad reputation for nothing. First the custom
officer would not accept our American registration as documentation of
ownership of the bikes, despite no one have had a problem with this
earlier. I finally convinced him that owners documents and
registration are one and the same thing in the US (okay not entirely true, but we do not have the latter as the American authorities take their time). Then it turned out that the permissions
were approximately twice as expensive as when we last entered the
country. The explanation being that they had a private company
entering the data in to the database and they apparently charged the
humongous amount of 14 USD to do this, which was something that was
not used at other border crossings.

Hmmm… then we talked to the manager, this couldn’t be right. Louise
told him in very big Spanish words that it was absolutely brain-dead
(I believe she used another word). But those were the rules and hence
we set things in motion. The papers were filled in and then the
customs agent needed 8 copies of this and that, and the receipt from
AduanaNet, the private company with the database. It was now past 4 in
the afternoon, but everything looked promising. After an hours waiting
by the little grey house that housed AduanaNet, I was finally told
that the system was down. So uplifted I went back to the custom agent
and told him to stuff his database payment where the sun doesn’t shine
because their ridiculous database was down. He was not entirely in
agreement with this, but gave me the generous offer to give them the
money and then they would pay AduanNet in the morning on our behalf. I
was beginning to be a bit sceptical. Was this just yet another trick
and everyone was in on it. After some pondering I gave AduanNet one
more chance and all of a sudden their system was up and running. Just
before that I had talked to a truckdriver who told me the system was
often down, so maybe it was actually true.
You would think that that would conclude matters. I had gotten the 8
copies for each of us and had paid AduanaNet. But no, I had to pay
some of the money in the bank… however they closed at 4 pm, several
hours ago. Funny, no-one had mentioned this before. Again the custom
officers were very cooperative and would like to make the bank payment
for me the following morning if I paid them now. It was now after six
at night and we would not be able to drive anywhere anyway so Louise
found a hotel in the border area while I returned to the custom agents
to tell them we would wait until the morning and make the payment to
the bank ourselves.. and not pay them… They had not expected this,
because all our papers were already stamped and ready. They were,
bluntly put, slightly irritated and was very reluctant to give us any
of the documents when we wanted to leave. And that was the end of that
day.

The next morning we woke up. I went out to grease the motorcycle
chains that Louise had cleaned the previous night. As I walked trough
the door I felt something fall into my hair, but brushed it away with
my hand – or so I thought. The chains were greased and back in the
hotel room I felt it again – that thing in my hair. When I tried to
brush it off one more time I felt a sting in my finger. Fuck – I had
been stung by a …. a scorpion fell to the ground… a fucking
scorpion!!!! The finger was tapes tight and while Louise was packing a
bag to go to the doctor I went to ask where the nearest doctor was
located. When the locals heard that I had been stung by a scorpion
they practically giggled. Hey they were almost harmless and they had
been stung at least four times themselves. Rub some lemon on it. All
right all right, we did that. And the finger didn’t swell… it was a
very piconito (itzy bitzy) scorpion according to the cleaning lady.
Well yes – but still a fucking scorpion.

The finger, the scorpoin, and the hero

But then we had the opportunity to continue our border crossing. After
a visit to the bank, more copies and a last visit to the customs we
were able to leave the border. Almost anyway… one more copy was
needed with our permissions at the next checkpoint. But luckily we
were going straight out of the country later the same day, crossing into Nicaragua… and another border crossing adventure was to
be had. O boy.



Wrooom

Honduras + El Salvador Posted on Sat, August 29, 2009 23:38:48

We are speeding away. Actual so fast that we have to include several countries in one post.

We liked Honduras (and no, we didn’t experienced any problems regarding the political situation), but we liked El Salvador even more.

Honduras – one of our “better” rooms

Honduras

Honduras

El Salvador – our first volcano

El Salvador

El Salvador

El Salvador