We cruised from D&D Brewery on Lago Yojoa towards our tentative campground in the National Park just north of Tegucigalpa. Once we got close and saw it was still before noon we decided to cruise straight for the border. When things are going well we tend to just keep on going… especially if the proposed campground was just a stop off point after a long day of driving.
After about 6 hours on the road we made it to the Las Manos border crossing. Getting out of Honduras was quick, even with the border guards insisting to seen the VIN number stamped on our engine block. After explaining that there wasn’t one, they thoroughly cleaned the block and told me that there wasn’t one on the block. Thanks. After ten minutes standing around looking at each other they let us through to no man’s land. Easy.
The first stop in getting through to Nicaragua was the fumigation station. We’ve done this a handful of times and normally includes a novelty fumigation spray of the perimeter of the undercarriage for a fee. Seems like a make-work project more than trying to save the adjacent country from weird bug infestations. This time we parked the truck at a fumigation station and the fumigation guy fired up his Stihl-powered fumigation sprayer thingamajig. He sprayed the underside of the truck and then the other guy, Carlos the Fumigator, tells me to open the doors of the truck. I just shake my head, pay for the fumigation, and take my receipt of sale and proof of fumigation. This is all I really need to get through the border anyways. There was no way I’m going to let a guy in a full respirator with warning signs all over the chemicals fog the inside of our truck.
So we get in line to deal with getting into Nicaragua and Carlos shows up telling every official that he sees that we still need to get fumigated. I showed my receipt proving we already had the truck sprayed. Carlos is adamant that he needs to spray the INSIDE of our truck too. “No gracias” I respond with a smile. We have a little stare down for a few seconds and he brings us to see his boss. After explaining that he needs to spray the inside of our truck, I explain that I have asthma and I will die if he sprays the inside. A little white lie never hurt anybody, right?
“Where is your doctor’s note?” The boss asks.
I look at his skeptically and say, “They don’t give doctor’s notes out for asthma.”
And that’s when they told us to turn around and go back to Honduras.
So we went back down to the truck, stood around for 15 minutes until everyone left us alone, and proceeded to go through all of the normal entrance stuff. We got our passports stamped, our temporary vehicle permit issued, and insurance purchased for the truck. So far so good! And then there was an 18 wheeler blocking the view of our truck from Carlos The Fumigator. “Start the truck! Start the truck!” Ash calls out as we jump in and make our way to the final stop… the border police. We hand over copies of all required documents… and then Carlos shows up again!
My rudimentary Spanish must get annoying:
Carlos: “You need to get the interior fumigated before going to Nicaragua!”
Richard: “No gracias.” (No thank you)
Carlos: “No, you NEED to. You don’t have an option.”
Richard: “No necessito.” (I don’t need)
Carlos: Long stare
Richard: “Yo tengo asthma. Es muy pelligroso para mi.” (I have asthma. It is very dangerous for me.)
I try to go for the bribe. We haven’t bribed anybody yet, but this has got to be the perfect time… right?
Richard: “How much for fumigation of the interior?”
Carlos: “It’s free you already paid for it.”
Richard: “No, but HOW MUCH money do I have to pay YOU to be able to get through the border?”
Carlos: Talking slowly so I understand, “You. Already. Paid. For. It.”
Okay, that’s not working, but I get another idea. I pull out Ashley’s giant bag of homeopathic meds, probiotics, etc and show them to everyone very proudly. “Asthma medicacion!”
Carlos sighs, and brings us to his boss. His boss sighs and waves us though. Victory… and no cancer!