I am now in Granada Nicaragua, and crossing borders cannot be done to quickly when driving a campervan. Permits are required and I could not get insurance in three countries, Guatemala, El Salvador and possibly Honduras. I tried hard to find insurance. Many locals thought I was Loca [ Spanish means crazy.] In Honduras, I was charged $35.00 US for only a three hour drive through the country. I have to be careful
When I arrived at the El Salvador border, I hired someone that said he was an agent for the country of El Salvador. Badge number #169 never gave me a price until we were all done. His price was $40.00 US. And I questioned what he really did for me? Well, he did help with the translation as well as get me moved to the front of the line which saved a bit of time. I did pay him, no problem. I thanked him for showing me what needs to be done when I to go through my next 4 countries. In a sense, I guess he helped prepare me, a good thing!
Exiting El Salvador, as well as all the countries I go through, I must go to emigration to suspend my visitor’s visa and campervan permits until I cross the new country line. I have to renew everything again. In most cases, there are big delay's at both ends, very frustrating waiting in line ups. It would be so much easier taking a bus.
While exiting El Salvador, I saw the back up of many truckers waiting in line. I then decided to drive around them, just like agent #169 instructed me to do ,in order to save loads of time .Suddenly, I had no less than 10 agents all over me screaming and yelling, angry with me? In my loud English voice, I said "no, get out of here"! "I know how to do this myself" ,but they kept on coming. Again, suddenly, one of the agents yelled my name, "Pete". I looked at him curiously, and asked "how do you know my name"? He said that his friend helped me at the opposite end. He said his friend charged me too much. But that he wasn’t really his friend....Wow?... My solution to the problem of choosing an agent was to pick the quietest one in the noisy group. I told him I am paying $10.00 dollars, US tops! He was happy with that amount. Can you believe he did not even have an agent # badge, but he did have a name, which I forgot? My Dutch bodyguard Peter [kidding, as if I need a bodyguard but we do watch each other’s back], could see it in his eyes that I was having problems. He knew I paid way too much at the last border. In the end, I gave no name a $5.00 tip but drove away with tons of valuable experience!
It took about three hours driving time through Honduras to the Nicaragua border. We drove through some real bad roads and it was getting dark..It is not a good idea to drive at night, very difficult to spot potholes. I suggested to Peter that we get a hotel once we cross the border and he agreed about the danger. While waiting at the Nicaragua border, we met another nice traveler coming through from Guatemala. He asked me if I spoke Spanish, I said a bit but I get by with laughs and smiles [you know me!]. We agreed that we couldn't do these roads at night, so he and his wife followed me to the next town. They would be a great help with my Spanish at the border. We got through the Nicaraguan border with ease this time. About ten K’s from the border, there was a road block. I did not know wither they were Policia, or Militar? They waved l me over. Opening my window, I said "I’m English (Ingles)",and he asked me for some "water" (agua)! I said "yes I am drinking one now", and he took it from me and immediately blew a whistle and pointed to proceed. I drove away laughing!...The roads were really good in Nicaragua , ended up driving an hour to a bigger city still with the couple from Guatemala. I gave the couple my card ,thanked them and told them I hoped to hear from them again!
Pete Montgomery from TravelCheapWithPete.com
I heard my whatsapp has been not working the past week. Now in Nicaragua for the New Year then Costa Rica Sunday. My new number in Nicaragua is 505-7810-6075. I will change my number again when I arrive in Panama or you can email me at email@example.com Cheers Pete
Merry Christmas to my friends and family. Off camera I had tears of joy after the family figured out what I was trying to say giving them a bicycle for a Christmas gift, they were all so excited. Drove them all home afterwards and they invited Dutch Peter and I to their place anytime. It all started off a couple of days ago when I asked the manager of the hostel if he knew of any family that are in need in the area he told me about the grandparents bringing up these four young children. I ask if he can invite the family to the hostel to have dinner with them. The dinner was really nice, the kids were so good. The family was polite and we had fun trying to figure out what we were trying to say to each other which is always a good time.
The 64 year old grandmother who takes care of 4 grandchildren with age range from 8 to 13 ran around the hostel hugging and thanking everyone. In the restaurant they had a TV, the children were so excited to watch the TV but when dinner came they turned it off, washed their hands and really enjoyed their meal with Dutch Peter and I. We had a great three days staying in a small surfing village in El Tunco, El Salvador just relaxed and the highlight was having the family over for Christmas.
This is what Christmas is about to me, giving to strangers and to see the smiles and joy in their faces. So many in need that need our help in this world. If you see a homeless person, just make them smile make them feel good tell them a joke, maybe give them food, or clothing you no longer need. Let’s work together to make this world a better place. Merry Christmas to my two daughters and their extended families love you and miss you all, You don't even have to speak the same language to communicate.
We made a wrong turn on our way to Lanquin and therefore had to take a scenic road. It may have been longer but well worth it: About a 6 hour drive in the jungle and mountains on roads that look like we should not have gone through... but old faithful (the van) made it. Even though we had to stop over night in a place where we did not want to stay, but I didn’t want to drive at night... especially on those roads! Next to that, the brakes had to cool down as they were smoking.
I was driving while shooting this video. Pete Montgomery from TravelCheapWithPete.com
Pete Montgomery from TravelCheapWithPete.com
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