Not far out of Managua while driving well under the speed limit we were stopped by two scruffy Policemen on a motorbike. The whole thing felt suspiciously like a bribe from the start but when they told us to follow them then stopped under a tree and started saying that the GPS was "prohibito" before starting the whole 'ticket' thing, we knew they were full of it. Will saw an opportunity to grab his licence back from the unarmed policeman and we took off to freedom. They looked stunned but didn't follow us. We could have left the licence, it was fake anyway but we had heard we might be needing it again soon in the notorious stretch across Honduras and they certainly weren't easy to make good copies of.
Later that afternoon we arrived in the colonial town of Leon with the idea that we would go sandboarding down nearby Cerro Negro. Previously my Aunty Karen had badly broken her shoulder doing this but not to worry. As usual we were unprepared even after so long with the internet so we drove round in a few circles before finally finding a hostel who confirmed we could hire boards at the park entry and camp inside the park. The road there was busy with animal traffic and was not suitable for city dwelling vehicles, still with only 2wd a few times Will had to put his foot down to ensure the momentum kept us moving through some deep mud puddles. When we arrived the laid back park ranger gave us our tickets and boards then we drove into the black gravel lava at the base of the hill. Too eager to look for the track we puffed our way straight up the face; every time we put two steps forward we went one step backwards in the soft pebble scree. At the top the view of the black lava with smoking vents against the lush green of the surrounding mountains was fantastic but we could see a band of rain heading our way. There are no photos of us boarding down the hill because a few minutes later the heavens opened up and bucketed down on us. There wasn't much to do other than make the most of it so after the run down wet, sticky and sandy we climbed straight back up the face of Cerro Negro. This time a little slower as our energy was fading as fast as the light. The second run down proved tame as the boards obviously need to be resurfaced between each run otherwise they barley move. Back at the car, in a rare moment of preplanning we had filled the solar shower in Managua thus we could 'de-sand' before cooking dinner and climbing into bed to watch a movie.
Leaving Honduras was painless and entering El Salvador turned out to be one of our most enjoyable border crossings yet. It took about three hours but we met a French guy called Adrien traveling in an Argentinean Combi van. He was as nice as they come and offered us cold beers to drink in the sweltering heat. We also met an older Guatemalan man traveling by car with his Colombian friend who were very friendly and chatty. We all melted together in the sun until finally the Aduana had our car papers ready. Then we hit the road hoping to meet up with Adrien again in the beach town of El Esteron. We were heading to the coast in the hopes of being able to see a turtle laying its eggs and release some baby turtles into the ocean. In El Esteron for $5us we found a place to camp right on the beach but unfortunately discovered that at the sanctuary a few doors down they had had a celebration the previous night where they had also released all their baby turtles. Despite this we ended up staying two nights there as they had a 3G modem stick we used to watch two more Americas cup races. We won one but painfully lost the other. Also a Swiss couple in a Landcruiser camper with two large dogs arrived after the first night so we hungout with them and swapped stories and travel tips.
Rochelle & Will