Sunday, 10 January 2016

Gracias, Gracias

We really enjoyed our couple of days R&R in Gracias. It's was a nice, peaceful little town

With our favourite cafe where I managed to give back the chefs shirt button that had somehow made its way into my tortilla(!)

Wonky wifi

And an excellent rooftop hand wash laundry. I think it's true to say that it provided the best 'dry day' I've ever experienced.

We were both quite excited about heading on to El Salvador and There was no way we were going to spoil our relaxed mood by doing something silly like attempting to ride there.

We got to the bus station and hunted out a bus that was going our way that had a roof rack

We bagged the front seat and waited for the off. It's always a little disconcerting when there's a crash helmet near the driver.

As the bus filled, so did the dashboard

Until the driver decided we were at capacity. By now we were well and truly in armpit heaven

It was a nice sedate drive back up the road we'd struggled along 2 days before. When the bus emptied a bit and we could actually see it was good to note that some of those hard work hills were actually pretty steep. What wasn't so good to see was the driver using not 1 but 2 mobile phones whilst negotiating the winding road with steering that looked as if it had at least half a turn of free 'play'.
We eventually got to the bus station and were promptly hassled onto our next bus. No time to pee, no time to eat, we were off. This one wasn't such fun. We were now part of the 'standing room only rodeo' as the grossly overloaded bus lurched and swung around like a mad thing. The blaring 'Jive Bunny meets Benny Hill' Latino music didn't help ease the pain. Eventually we got a seat, Benny played on...
Up and up we climbed. As we got higher it cooled right down. I flirted with the idea to ask the driver to stop and then we'd ride on, grabbing glimpses of the gradient reminded me of the reality. Better stay with Benny. 

I entertained the young lad and his dad who were wedged next to me with the live map updates and altimeter on my phone. They loved it, the kid sticking his head out the window each time the map showed an approaching hairpin. The dad understood it enough to show his son where they'd be dropped off. It turned out to be half way around a sweeping bend at an altitude of 1936m.
Once over the peak that was shrouded in whispy cloud we bombed it down the other side 

We were held up by a few trucks, their hot brakes reeking as they strained to keep the speed down.
At one point a bicycle was holding us up

We eventually passed him, only to see he wasn't alone

By the time we were off the mountain the bus was nearly empty. The assistant went along tidying up - throwing all the rubbish out of the windows. It was hard not to say anything but I didn't really feel it my place to start a 1 man no litter in Honduras campaign.

Here's a bit of Benny for ya (turn your volume down if you're sneakily reading this at work)

We had a quick lunch in Nuevo Octopeque (which I think sounds more like the name of an African tribal leader than a border town in Honduras) and then headed on for the border. It felt good being back on the bikes. The sun was shining, it was warm and most importantly, it was downhill

The border formalities took a while then we were into a 12km uphill slog to the town of La Palma. There were some downhill bits in it and being a manageable distance with fresh legs we arrived in town feeling just about ok. We'd left that morning at 9am, it was now 5,30 and this was supposed to have been an easy one....

1 comment:

  1. Those buses sound mad! Love the story of you and the boy with his father, can just picture it all happening.