Hitchhiking tales #5
With most Homicides per capita, Honduras, where the mafia Mara Salvatrucha operates was a challenge I could not run from.
So why not hitchhike there?
Most travelers skip Honduras on their trip through Central America but not me, for me this is the last fullfiling hitchhike I´ll be doing because Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panamá are a piece of cake compared to México, Guatemala and Honduras.
So there I was, leaving Guatemala city and the local family who welcomed me into their home. A lot of people, back home and on the road, adviced me to not travel Honduras asking for lifts but the whole point of traveling Central America was to test myself and how far could I get with the minimum budget.
The first step was easy, Guatemala was already my friend and I knew exactly what to do to get picked up. A pick up truck got me from the capital to the border, more than 5 hours behind a freaking truck! They even stopped to get burger king on their way. I didn´t catch their names or even how the people on the back seat looked like. I just told them I was going to the border and they happened to be going the same way. They told me I should get down when we got there because even though they could take me there, there was no way we could cross the border together, they didn´t want any risky situations helping a mexican cross the most dangerous border in the area.
As a nomad who hitchhikes you have to be prepared for every problem. During the trip behind the truck it started to rain a lot. Adidas didn´t sponsor this picture - although they should - and my GoPro allowed me to take this one under the rain.
I reached the border, to be exact, the border between El Florido and Copan. This is not the route the few tourist that dare coming here take, they take a northern border. This one was desolated, only truck drivers and a lot of Honduran men checking who is coming and going. With no cellphone I couldn´t take pictures and I am sure as hell I wsan´t taking my GoPro out. The border booths look like houses and only one person is there. People get out of the trucks, give their pass and that´s it. The guy from the Honduran side even asked me what the hell was I doing there.
I started to get scared. But I was already there, so grow a pair and keep going Eric.
Well, I am mexican, if someone messes up with me my bamboo stick and my machete will not go down so easily - I thought while walking the highway on the Honduran side, trying to see if someone would pick me up. But there were no cars at the border Eric, who is going to pick you up? A damn truck driver with a shotgun and an attitude? Are you crazy!?!
Well... a truck driver did pick me up, and he was more scared of me than I was from him. But he did the same thing when he was young so he decided to pick me up instead of reading about my death on the next day newspaper - Or at least that is what he told me. We talked for around one hour and he dropped me very close to the my favorite Mayan ruins so far - you´ll read about it soon - and he left. I took this photos with his cellphone and then we friended me on facebook and he shared them with me, can you believe it? At first I couldn´t. Ernesto was a good buddy and I enjoyed his company so much we keep in touch until this day.
He advised me not to hitchhike anymore, he told me I was lucky I didn´t get kidnapped in the middle of the road or robbed, killed and tossed into the jungle with no one else to find out. I was beginning to lose my grip and to re-think about hitchhiking here. I mean, I heard a lot of stories but being a stubborn mexican I thought of myself as too hardcore for that happening to me.
I stayed two nights in the town called Copan Ruins - very original name, as it is the town next to the Mayan Ruins called Copán - and on the third morning I left. The owner of the hostel I stayed at was friends with two guys who deal, legally, Marble pieces and I hooked a ride with them. William and Mauricio are good guys, we spoke about women, the football match between Mexico and Honduras that was going to take place in the next days (already happened, Mexico won) but we also spoke about insecurity and they confirmed my thoughts: Every social circle here is scared about what I am doing, maybe they are right...
Hell no, I am already in San Pedro Sula, the most dangerous city in the Country with more than 170 murders for every 100,000 people. If I survive this I can quit hitchhiking on this country.
It was getting dark and I didn´t want to hitch a ride but I also didn´t want to stay one night there, San Pedro is truly dangerous. If Guatemala city was not friendly to a guy with a backpack San Pedro Sula made it look like Candyland.
I stayed one night in the closest - and very expensive - hostel I could find and left very early the morning after.
Well, if I survive and reach La Ceiba today I will quit this nonsense and resume hitching rides in Nicaragua.
I started to walk the main avenue which turns into the highway. It gradually went through buildings and businesses to houses, and then to local tire shops and street food, after that it became only ugly houses and only sketchy and gnarly shops. The amount of danger was growing every step I took, but I was just smoking, walking with my bamboo stick and trying to look as Honduran as I could. Just your regular Honduran walking through his country with a backpack making a finger signal to every car that passed by, trying his luck to get a ride.
And then this guy stopped.
Danilo let me into his truck, in the passenger seat. Not the back of the truck. He was sepaking on the phone and only nodded when I said "La Ceiba" and kept speaking, I couldn´t understand a word cause Hondurans speak very fast, different accent and a lot of slang but I started to second guess my decision of getting in the car. He then stopped in the middle of the road and went out.
Oh damn, I am so screwed he is gonna get his shotgun and take my computer and cameras etc. Damn!
But he just told me, do you want atole? I nodded and then he left to a nearby little shop in the middle of nowhere and came back with two beverages like thick mil made of corn and handed me one. Got into the drivers seat and started to tell me how he is an ex-military and now he is a movie director, he even has two published movies, one from 2009 and one from 2016. I was safe, yessss.
Here you can see my frienship with Ernesto and William.
We spoke all the way to La Ceiba and he even dropped me off in the mall I was supposed to meet the girls who were going to host me in that city, Honduras 3rd most important city, but you´ll read about that later, for now just...
Remember, Be here Now