16.11.16 Chiquimula, Guatemala to Copan, Honduras
At last, we’ve made it to Honduras. We are so happy.
Last night, we had been treated to a special dinner with products from the region, and Rosita, the painter from the decoupage class had been invited as she enjoyed meeting me the other day. This time she got to meet Paul, and the conversation flowed around the table over a couple of glasses of wine. Carmen asked us to return in 3,4 or 5 years, as she would like to show us around the whole of Guatemala. All the bits we missed. We were presented with parting gifts as a reminder of Chiquimula, and what great memories we shall have of the people we met there.
After breakfasting this morning with Carmen, we said our goodbyes to her, Clarita and Cristian, and were on our way. It was all rather emotional, so we were glad once we had turned right out of the town and were back on our way again.
After almost three weeks away from the bike, it felt surprisingly like home for us. We stopped after ¾ hour, and Paul said he felt good, no aches or pains, just glad to be going again. It was a pleasant surprise how the roads and their traffic all felt very familiar, I’m guessing the time off allowed our brains to catch up with us a bit…….
So today’s destination was only to make it over the border into Honduras. We had read up about procedures here, and some people have a quick and easy experience, others it seems to be more difficult.
Ours was destined to be straightforward today, the roads were clear, and we were suddenly upon the exit from Guatemala. First task was to cancel our vehicle import permit into Guatemala, and after a little bit of direction (still no signs!), Paul had done that and the sticker was removed from our bike, meaning we could no longer drive on Guatemalan roads. Then to change our Guatemalan Quetzales into Honduran Lempira (at a rate of 3 to 1, so the wallet is full of notes again). After two easy exit stamps in our passports, it was a short walk for me, and a little ride for Paul before beginning everything again in reverse.
At the Honduran passport office, this time we were required to provide fingerprints and iris recognition, and the passport was stamped by using a computer! That’s a first. There was a small $3 fee each for this service.
Then it was for Paul to import the bike, however, when he popped his head round the door into the correct office at 12.20 pm, he was told they were at lunch til 1pm. The same with the bank next door as well. We sat and idled the time, and I went off to the loo. When I returned, two American guys from Alaska had arrived, Troy and Tracy. They had ridden from Alaska and are riding to Argentina. It was certainly good to get into conversation with them, as we’ve been lacking some speaking English to others here for a while! I was also engulfed by a coach load of French people very interested in our bike, and what we were doing.
The import office opened, and so began Paul on a seemingly endless round of getting photocopies of documents required for who knows what, but he remained patient, and ¾ hour later, and after another trip to pay in the bank next door, we were on our way.
The hotel we’ve booked is in the Mayan town of Copan, and was a short 6 mile ride away, ending in cobbles, not our favourite, however the town is very pretty, and once again the people extremely friendly. We wheeled bikey in behind some locked gates, where he will stay for a couple of nights.