I was just sitting around killing time, thinking its a long time since I wrote a few letters, when it dawned on me that Honduras is the cheapest place I've been for postage, so now is as good a time as any. A letter to Europe costs 1 Lempira (10 pence). The Captain's Log tells me that I sent you a letter in January from Baja. A lot has happened since then but as usual I won't bother you with the details.
1 spent six weeks in Baja and saw a Swiss registered Africa Twin at Christmas with Metzeler Sahara’s- don't know where he thinks he's going-I've changed to a road tyre at the back. I couldn't find the owner, but met up with him in Guatemala and we've been travelling together through Belise, Cuat, El Salvador and Honduras. Not for much longer though, cos he seems to have a death wish and I'd rather not be around him too long. Also nothing is ever as good as in Switzerland. So far I've amazed myself by not suggesting that he f**k off back there. I think we've both been very tolerant because we've been one or two places where neither of us would want to be alone.
I was a bit dubious about El Salvador, 'cos they are having a little war at the moment, and it is possible to go round it, but it was sort of there - you know how it is. Had a bit of trouble explaining to the army that we were tourists - they kept asking what our mission was. They probably thought that anybody this stupid must be telling the truth, so we've had a jolly good time. The people are so amazingly friendly. We’re celebrities because they get so few tourists and they think everybody hates them. Newspapers have interviewed us walking round towns, people know we're the two on the bikes and they just want to talk to us.
We came along a back road out of El Salvador, north into Honduras, and we were warned that it went through a war zone and we might be turned back, but apart from a few army searches, no problems. We spent a night in a village near the border, where there was no electricity because the power lines had been blown up. In fact we had to ride round them all over the road on the way up, and there was the odd burnt out bus etc. The people were still friendly though, but I sensed they thought we were spies from the States (who support the army). They kept telling us how much they liked the States etc. etc. Of course our friend with the death wish walks into a shop and tries to make conversation by asking about the guerrillas! Bit like walking into Rene's cafe in ‘Allo ‘Allo and asking about the resistance.
Apart from Mexico and Belize, you have to pay small backhanders to get the bike both into and out of these countries. It's almost official and the rate is fairly consistent, but entering Honduras was magic, we still had to go from office to office getting stamps on a bit of paper and pay each time, but everybody was happy and cheerful instead of officious and intimidating. We had a Mariarchi band playing to us while our passports were being checked, and the Customs Officers were dancing around in the street. Even the army searches are fun.
Just out of interest, a reasonable hotel costs about £1 a night, and we have paid as little as 40p. Mexico was more expensive, but I stayed in hotels by the beach, with nice swimming pools for £3.50. They let you put your bike in the room if you want as well. For the last couple of months I've averaged £50-£60 a week. Haven't camped or cooked at all, I've bought petrol, been blind drunk in all sorts of places with all sorts of people frequently. It's magnificently cheap, good restaurant meals for £1 I my never come back. The women are gorgeous as well (you know my weakness).
I was planning to come back in time to go to the Isle of Man but that is looking unlikely now. Want to spend some time in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and fly back probably in June, leaving before my summer holidays, so the Yam stays in Costa Rica. I want to do the Stella and the Captain Cook rallies, and then move on to Venezuela in September. Course, nothing is ever definite. Changes daily depending who you meet and what you hear. I’m not looking forward to the cold summer though. The sun is exactly overhead here at the moment and I've sort of got used to it. Still, can't have everything I suppose. Hope you're O.K. and I'll probably see you in the Summer.
All the best, Steve