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Travel Stories – In the border

CROSSING THE BORDER OF HONDURAS TO NICARAGUA

That day we left very early from Zambrano, where we were staying in Honduras, at around 7 am. We arrived at this place thanks to couchsurfing, where he contacted us to invite us.

It was a trip not too long, something like 224 km, and although we had heard that the distances were very long, we never thought it would be that long. We took a direct bus to our destination in Guasaule, in order to cross the border.

The trip was eternal, despite having left so early, the quality of the streets, and the same work they were doing, turned the 200kms trip into a trip of longer than 12 hours.

At one point during the trip, because the bus had become somewhat empty, they changed us to another bus, and in this change, without realizing it, we lost a wallet with the money we had to eat that day and crossing the border. It wasn’t much, but because of the poor accessibility, it left us in a rather awkward position. When I realized, I went back to the bus, but being a country very different from Europeans, clearly there was nothing left, we had lost that money.

As a consequence, when we arrived in the city that afternoon, we had no money for practically nothing. As it was late, we were advised not to cross the border at that time, since there was a high risk of being assaulted. The bikes that offered us to make the crossing charged us a price that we could not pay, so we gave up that idea and started to look for a place to sleep.

At that time, and because of the limited budget, we began to negotiate with a hostel that was there, and luckily, the owner agreed to let us stay for a really low price. While I was in this negotiation, I noticed how there was a person who was very attentive listening to my story. He was a young man of about 25 years, to whom the truth I didn’t give much importance at the beginning.

After getting the good price, he approached me and told me that he was very sorry for what had happened to me, and that he invited us to eat, and that if we wanted to cross the border with him the next day. The truth is that I thought he was someone who wanted company so I again didn’t give too much importance and told him to see him later …

We entered with the things to the room, and when we left, he was waiting for us, he was staying in the same hotel as us. Upon leaving, he told us that he invited us some chickens with french fries that were sold in the next door, but we say thaks but no thanks, although we were hungry, we refused. He insisted that if we didn’t want fries and chicken he could invite us a coffee, and due to his insistence and willingness, we ended up agreeing.

That conversation was quite interesting. He started asking us if we had crossed over to the US, if we had trouble entering, among other things. This, to be honest, generated us a lot of distrust. All we knew was that he was excessively courteous, that he came from El Salvador, where we know that it is a rather complicated country, and his questions made us think that he might have some other interest. He told us that his family owned land in Nicaragua and that if we wanted, we could go with him, and he would stay for free. He told us that he was coming with some friends, and that because of problems he had when crossing the border, he had to leave his friends there and that he was coming now, one day after to meet them.

A rather strange story. Despite this, the guy was quite nice, he actually invited us some chickens and chips, and without asking for anything in return, he offered to take us the next day in his truck.

That night we said goodbye, and we agreed that the next day, we would meet at 8 am and that we would cross together.

That day, when we went to bed, we talked with Gery about the strange situation. We began to imagine that he wanted us to become drug smuggling mules, among other things. We decided to accept the trip across the border, but we agreed that we would say no to go to his land. We refused to judge him if we didn’t really know him, but we couldn’t trust someone so much that we didn’t know either.

That night, we slept quite well, and in the morning we got up to join him in order to leave. He was ready before the time, and he looked very anxious. We took our things, and left them in his car. Upon leaving, the first car we saw was a luxury car, we looked with Gery with the idea that if that was the car, obviously there were drugs involved. But he kept walking, so after a few seconds, we knew that this car was not his.

Finally, we arrived at a van, from one cabin, so he offered Gery to go ahead while I was in the pickup. Obviously, after all the stories that went through our head, it wasn’t something we would allow, so we insisted that she also was going to travel in the pick up with me. The thing is that we leave, and a few meters before the border, he stopped the car and told us to get off and to get together after crossing the border. We thought it was something strange, but hey, at that point, what we could do.

We did all the paperwork (a quite long and tedious process), and we walked to the entrance border to Nicaragua, where we realized that we had paperwork badly done, so I had to return. At that time, he had already crossed and he was waiting for us. After a bad time, everything seemed to be fine so we left to the city of León. We never spoke about going to his land, but it was supposed that Leon was our destiny. The trip took just over 2 hours, and he even gave us some oranges to eat on the way. The wind felt very strong, the road was beautiful, and the truth is that we felt very happy and free in that pickup.

Finally, when we arrived at León, he stopped at a gasoline station and told us that he was dropping us there since he had to follow his way. We, for the help, gave him a small glass with symbols of Chile, which we were bringing just to give to the people who helped us in the way, and when we gave it to him, he said he also had a gift for us. He entered the car cabin, opened some bags, and pulled out a woven hammock with various colors. He told us briefly that his family was selling hammocks, and that it was an honor for him if we kept one.

We said goodbye affectionately, and we continued our journey, with a great lesson.

Help and love can come from anywhere, and sometimes because of our prejudgements, we are not willing to accept it. Finally the robbery was a detail, after all the help we received, what we saved when crossing the border with this guy, was much more than what was stolen. And best of all, we made a new friend.