Avoid This Guy at El Slavador-Honduras Border!

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Charles Seguin, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. ApexJeff

    ApexJeff Have Moto Will Travel

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    Image of an American, sneaking across simple border check? Not paying for a helper is American? I respectfully disagree as good helpers provide a great service for us not speaking Spanish, they know the system., know where to copy and once you let them know the price to pay, its, simple, easy and well worth the small fee.
    #81
  2. mundobravo

    mundobravo Long timer

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    Hi Jeff , Paying to be moved to the head of the line is the picture of the "ugly american" in my mind . More so when the line is made up of poor citizens of the country in question, and we the rich white gringos show up are a moved forward by the power of the $. What do you think is happening when this person is " helping" you ? They are pushing your paper work ahead of other citizens who have been waiting by having co-conspirators hold places at the front of the line & or flat out bribes to other co-conspirators/officials . My experience is that once past the group of coyotes/helpers that try to bum rush every traveler at every border , you will find the citizens and officials friendly and helpful even for the spanish impaired like myself. Others at the border are watching this game of "helper/gringo" play out and once they see that you will not pay the bribe I've had citizens and even border officials themselves walk me around or get me going in the right direction. On the other hand, refusing to pay bribes or empower corrupt officials strengths our image as americans and motorcyclist. While confronting the corrupt official face to face may have been a more "honest" response to corruption than just running pass him I'm not sure it would have worked out as well for me and I'm sure he got my point and I got my $3. Thats my 2 cents about it.

    #82
  3. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    I have to agree with Jeff on this. I speak resonable spanish and still use helpers in a new situation, I set out the ground rules and payment at the start. I have never been taken to the front of the line but have been shown the locations of the various windows and copy shops all for a very small fee( under 4.00 in all cases) treat them like a buisness and they treat you well, it helps to be able to read people and stop the BS in its tracks.

    A couple of times just by chance I have met the helper later that night in a comedor or on the street and shared a friendly beer or Coke and did not feel I had the image of the ugly Canadian, in fact it showed me some insight to how they try to provide a living for themselves and their families.
    #83
  4. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    That Jose guy is still up to his tricks at the border. When we arrived there, a green SUV swerved in front of us just as we were getting to the border. All 4 doors popped open and 4 guys ran toward us, 1 of them was this Jose joker. It kinda freaked me out.
    We manages to ride past the SUV and go a short ways to the first checkpoint. We began the paperwork process as half dozen other helpers pestered us. Soon Jose stuck his face in the door at the photocopy office. I pointed my finger at him and said " you are the guy on the Internet" !!!!
    His face sank as he knew he was had . All the other helpers roared with laughter as he slank away like the snake that he is.
    We kept going to the next place for more stamps and papers. One guy kept going along with us and he was told we know what to do and where, and we are not paying. He kept going with us, opening doors for us etc. At one point we didn't have the correct currency for the insurance and he summoned a money guy to swap out some bills.
    After it was all done we gave him $5USD or so. It was worth five bucks to see all the others leave us alone when he spoke English to us.
    These guys know the power of the Internet . He was totally honest and never touched our documents or demanded $ or any false moves
    I told him ( Osmond ) that we all know Jose, and he is done for due to the Internet.
    So when you get to the border, this Osmond guy is an ok guy.
    [​IMG]
    This is his buddy who " watches the bikes"
    [​IMG]
    We gave him a couple 3 bucks too. For "doing his job"
    The whole experience was pretty hilarious
    #84
  5. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Hey Hecktoglider- will you be back home by mid/late summer? Because you're supposed to give a border crossing presentation at this year's LARR.
    #85
  6. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Hekto, if you are coming back through Mexico, PM me. I want to send you a route you are going to really like, based on your previous likings.
    #86
  7. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    No sabe, cada dia is Nuevo Dia

    Mike We will be back to ride the Veracruz stuff. Just don't know when
    #87
  8. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Some scary reading in there.

    We have not used a "helper" yet and my Kiwi blood doesn't wonna pay for one either, we have been getting by no problem at all other than standing for an hour at one while the TVIP border man hopped up half way through our paperwork and left for lunch with three minutes worth of stuff to complete :huh

    Worth employing these guys or steering clear?, we are only going to cut through the bottom of Honduras in a day.
    #88
  9. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

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    If you think that the reading is scary, wait till you don't see the mile deep pot holes in the roads of Honduras.

    Watch the bus and truck drivers coming at you. They have a better view and knowledge of the road. If there going slow and weaving back and forth across the road, it's because there trying to avoid the holes.

    You wont have missed a thing in Honduras if you don't stop.
    #89
  10. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    And avoiding pot holes takes precedence to avoiding moto riders. :freaky
    #90
  11. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Already super experienced with WWII potholes in Belize, just had to slow the whole thing down to avoid damage/flatties not to mention fatigue wrestling the bike around them :eek1.

    I have not heard too may people rave about Honduras so happy to skip it, pitty we can't bypass it in its entirety.
    #91
  12. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    We never saw any potholes really at all in Honduras as we didn't go towards Leon. We took the northern route to the tranquil crossing into Nicaragua.
    As far as these helpers, how prepared are you? How well do you know what needs to happen with the paperwork ? Realise that if you want to save $5 and "do it yourself " and take way longer, or be quick and efficient and be able to make the other crossing into Nicaragua 3 hours later........
    Everyone needs to make choices.

    Moto Kiwis we used this to study up and made notes. We were telling the helpers where we needed to go next at each step in the process. It's a step by step thing:
    http://liferemotely.com/trip-shenanigans/el-salvador/169-el-salvador-to-honduras-border-crossing
    Hope it goes smooth for you as it did for us
    Also check out RTWPauls RR for some good photos and tips
    #92
  13. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    Honduras is a big country (in local terms, at least) with lots to see and explore. Racing through on the PanAm will give you a taste of the worst of it--as is true in quite a few countries. The rest of the country is fine.

    Mark
    #93
  14. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    I agree, we want to return and check out the rest of it, someday.
    #94
  15. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Yeap already have the Live Life Remotely one, good info, will check out RTWPauls one as well.

    We are not concerned for the $5.00, it is more about self accomplishment but agree that should not come at too higher price time and stress wise.

    Interesting to hear that Mark, we have other RTW traveller mates who got totally hammered in the whole country the entire time they were there being law abiding citizens and all, they rated it as the worst country ever by a country mile and they HAVE travelled extensively, that was 3 years ago now.

    I don't usually like to blaze straight through but Honduras thus far hasn't left a glossy invite at least to us.
    #95
  16. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    No accounting for taste. As I said, the Pan Am taken with a sense of urgency is the worst possible slice of Honduras. There's lots more to the country, and virtually all of it (Tegucigalpa excepted) is plenty nice enough--sometimes (diving, for example) genuinely world class, sometimes (Copan Ruinas and surroundings) merely pretty damn fine.

    Believe whom you please, but take it all with a grain of salt.

    Mark
    #96
  17. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Yeap agree with that, timing is making us choose a bit in this neck of the woods and thus far Honduras seems the least appealing option, Nicaragua is offering us a lot more.

    Also heard bad things about Costa USA to, will see when we get there too :clap
    #97
  18. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Actually I was stopped 3 times in Nicaragua by the police for bogus speeeding and never in Honduras. I did not pay the roadside tickets, always talked with respect and humor and they said okay have a good day!! Did not ride the Pan Am in Honduras so can not comment on that stretch. As I've said on other posts I did pay a few helpers when it was confusing and never paid more than $3.00, I just set the price up front, which you will be able to do now with your new Spanish skills.
    Cheers
    #98
  19. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    I've been wanting to go to your rally since you started it 5 years ago. Not sure how things will end up.
    #99
  20. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Honduras is fine. I didnt even have issues on the Pan Am, just standard Central America stuff to deal with, not a big deal. Its a pretty diverse country and well worth at least a few days of your time IMO.

    FWIW, while traveling on the bike for a couple of years I met many people that advised me to steer clear of this place or that place. I never took the advice, and it turned out to be a good call.