On October 11th 1975, I was at the border from Honduras to Nicaragua.
In Guatemala City I decided the time had come to get to South America, so I went the easy way. The idea was to get to San Jose in Costa Rica seeing the minimum, but at least something, on the way down, and then get a plane to Colombia from there. The bus was the Tica Bus, which provided a comfortable, modern way of travelling between the capital cities of Central America. So I spent three nights in San Salvador, sharing a room with a Japanese guy I hardly saw who seemed to be whoring his way round Latin America; and then I spent a night in Tegucicalpa, a night in Managua and a couple of nights in San Jose. I had no expectations of learning much about the countries I was passing through. At the border between Honduras and Nicaragua I wrote the observations below on the Honduran side.
Driving along the highway here, there's little population, little cultivation. Low green hills in every direction, the highway finds mainly a flat path. Cultivation where there's a valley, fields of maize, some cotton, a few fruit trees. Tracts of water at one place. But mainly it's cattle, cows wandering on the roads, sometimes with people looking after them, Brahma bulls with huge humps. A couple of towns, San Lorenzo, little more than two or three earth streets, a motel, a couple of comedors and a gas station. Choluteca a little more, a silver-domed church and a river. Elsewhere hardly any dwellings. Most houses are of wood or cane, with brush or occasionally red tiles for roofs, or else simple adobe around sticks, only occasionally is the adobe plastered. Birds by the roadside, more than I've seen in a long time, vultures wheeling high, black hawks searching low, egrets by the cattle in fields, a falcon settling on a tree.
The frontier-post is primitive. A big wooden building with a corrugated roof, a wide veranda where people sit waiting or doing business and small boys hang out. Around are wooden shacks with red tiles, little comedors or drink stands, other customs or nameless buildings. A man is fumigating all incoming vehicles, a Range-Rover, a private car with 2 nuns, The Tica Bus; there are also a couple of ox-carts, 2 animals for each, dribbling, huge mud-covered wheels, solid round the axles, bound with metal.
Then on the Nicaraguan side I gave assistance to three elderly Japanese people whose visas had expired; one of them was an 80 year old painter of horses in water-colours who was on a year long friendship tour - the woman in their party spoke English to me and I spoke for them in my halting Spanish to the officials. Everything seemed to be sorted out when I had to get on my bus.
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