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  • Day256

    Hola Nicaragua!

    April 14, 2016 in Honduras ⋅ ⛅ 36 °C

    We were surprised to see two bicycle tourers on the road ahead of us as we pulled out from Carmen's at 5:30 am. We caught up, and then spent the 2-hour ride to the border chatting with Genevieve, from Australia, and Michel, from Quebec. They started their trip in Prince George and were heading to Patagonia. We compared notes on the routes we had taken and the highlights of the trip, and before we knew it we were at the border. We still had some lempiras left and hadn't tried the local dish of baleadas, so stopped for a snack, while Genevieve and Michel pedalled on. The Nicaraguan border crossing was the most confusing so far. We waited in line at immigration, only to find out when we got to the front of the line that we needed some kind of health ticket from another office ('Do you have a fever?' they asked, then gave us a stamped piece of paper when we responded negatively), before being taken into a small air conditioned room and required to pay $10 US and $45 Cordova (something like $1.60 US), with no possibility of paying only in one currency. From this office they sent us to customs, who sent us back to immigration, and eventually we were just told we could leave, after a couple of sweaty, confusing hours of waiting in lines. It was after noon when we pedalled away from the border, only to see a truck wreck right at the exit - we learned from the guards that the brakes had failed, and the truck had plowed right into the security booth area, but luckily the driver only sustained minor injuries. Trucks, and the reckless buses barrelling down the road then pulling off suddenly to pick up passengers, are probably the biggest danger we face while riding each day. That said, the boys do get a good kick out of getting truck assistance up hills when conditions allow. Our first impression of Nicaragua was that it is dry dry dry. We passed many dry arroyos in our first few kilometres to Somotillo and many more over the following days. Getting money in Nicaragua proved just as challenging as the border crossing, as there were no working ATMs in Somotillo and businesses that would have let us do cash advances didn't have working phone connections while we were in town. We ended up just changing a bunch of the US dollars we had left and filling up on watermelon and ice cream before pedalling on.Read more