****I have run 57km today, crossed into a new country and am suffering from the runs so please excuse spelling and grammatical errors****
After a day of rest and eating as much processed food as possible I was finally on the last push to the Honduras border. I had a choice of routes. The easier route took me south to La Union where I could spend a night before heading north to the border. The potentially harder route was to the north and would have me in Santa Rosa de Lima for a night before covering the last 15km to the border the next day. Predictably I ended up doing something completely different but did involve the northern route.
Rather than hit the tourist spots I opted for the northern route, secretly hoping it would throw some extra challenges at me. Santa Rosa was about 40km away so perfect for a day’s running. When I hit the Ruta Militar I was hit by that familiar wave of excitement of being back on the road. I can’t deny how much I love what I do every day and it’s got to the point when days off are nothing more than a waste of time. When I am running I feel alive and I am guessing it’s like being addicted to a mild drug. The realisation of not knowing what lies ahead is so exhilarating that I just want more.
Today it was made better by the amazingly beautiful scenery and the best lay of the land for running. There was very little flat land but gentle hills that undulated through the sun scorched hills of El Salvador. Behind me rose Volcan San Miguel which slowly diminished in size as the day ticked by. The trees on either side of the road lent towards each other creating an almost tunnel like feeling in places and provided much needed shelter from the oppressive sun above.
For some reason time lost all meaning and when I looked at my watch I was surprised that I had been pounding the pavement for so long. When I arrived in Santa Rosa it was 2pm but my legs felt fresh as ever. I popped into a Subway to pick up a sandwich and to decide my next move. The border was only 15km away and while my map said there were no hotels I knew that wouldn’t be the case.
I asked a few of my fellow dinners and it seemed I was right and there was one hotel on the El Salvador side at the border. I decided that I would make a push for it and gobbled my sandwich, refilled my water bottles and popped to the loo. It was about now that I was made to realise that my bad stomach had not actually cured itself and I was very much still suffering from the runs (no pun intended). Despite the discomfort I decided to push on regardless – The worse that could happen would be a mad dash to the bushes, lack of energy and dehydration!!!
Luckily none of these seemed to materialise and I made sure that my water intake was sufficient to get through the afternoon. After another 10km I finally reached the last straight and it was confirmed that there was a hotel and it was called The Two Brothers. People went on to tell me that it had air conditioning and I was even introduced to the owners young son. Relieved that accommodation was sorted I kicked on to the border and 7km later I finally arrived at the hotel. What should have been joy was actually disappointment… The hotel was closed and it appeared it had been for some time. I guess I had been the subject of a prank. This left me standing at a hotel on the border with nowhere to stay at 5pm at night! There was only one option – cross into Honduras and find out what that had to offer. I normally have a routine before I enter a new country and I had not even thought about it let alone acted it out. As I stood there I thought the currency was dollars – it transpired this was not the case.
The local money changers saw me as an isolated lamb ready for the kill and started to circle. I decided to take a strong stance and picked one guy and sent the others away saying I would only deal with him, I asked him the exchange rate and he answered 16 Lemprias to the dollar. Much to his annoyance I pulled out my phone and with the tap of a few buttons found out that it was actually 21. He smiled and said he would trade at 20. I decided to take a stand and pointed out that he had just essentially tried to rob me and there was no way I was going to trust him. I turned my back on him and sought out another and dealt at 21.
The border crossing was easy and within 5 minutes I was standing in a new country trying desperately to work everything out. Initial impressions confirmed the sad truth that Honduras is a poorer country than its also poor neighbour. Luckily there is a building on your right as you cross the border that boasts a hotel, supermarket and restaurant. I entered knowing that after 57km of running the discovery of Honduras would have to wait till tomorrow.
While the hotel is basic, the owner and staff seem pleasant and I am sure that I will sleep like a log. There have already been a couple of power cuts and I am just hoping that it doesn’t occur again as I will need my fan if I am to sleep tonight!!
Other things that happened but weren’t included:
1-Watching a 2 large groups of vultures ripping apart two dogs
2-Describing just how much sweat is running off my body as I write this blog (Only one plug in my room so recharging is taking precedence over fan)
3-The horrible feeling of running with the runs and the side effects
4-How good peanut M&Ms taste when the chocolate under the sugar shell has melted!
5-The fact that there are now 4 people from South West London who are undertaking huge expeditions on foot! I will cover this in a future blog