El Salvador 3: Alergría to San Marcos, Honduras

As the first time to arrive at the pit stop at 7.30 pm, Ang and Simon were the first to depart after their breakfast at 8.30 am.  They headed to the northern corner of the plaza where they waited for the chicken bus from the nearby town of Berlín to arrive.  They did not wait long and were soon on the drive down the mountain.

Chicken bus vendors in action – everyone standing is selling something

Changing in Santiago de Maria and then again at the main highway, they made it to San Miguel.  Their pace of travel was perfect with their buses consistently arriving in time to meet connections.  They continued east, boarding a bus to Santa Rosa where they changed again to another bus that took the team to the town of El Amatillo, on the border with Honduras.

Truck expertly stored at the border

Some US dollars were changed and the team queued to complete passport formalities.  After crossing the bridge on foot, they completed the entry requirements on the Honduran side and were soon once again in another chicken bus. Ang remarked that the Honduran buses seem to be not as fun as they were missing chickens and doof doof español techno common in El Salvador.  This bus ride took them 2.5 hours to Choluteca and was the least comfortable of the bus rides to this point for the team on account of a creepy guy staring at Ang and the terrible seats.

The river between El Salvador and Honduras Simon consults the clue for the next step

Arriving in this dusty town on the crossroads, the team asked for the location of the San Marcos bus service.  Unlike the friendly El Salvadorians, the assistance given was limited.  The team eventually gave up trying to locate the bus stop in the chaotic public space and walked north to the town’s second terminal where they were told the next bus would be along in 40 minutes.

Simon returned to the other bus terminal area to buy some water and heard a bunch of people calling out “San Marcos”, which was usual for a chicken bus about to leave.  Simon asked the helper what the departure time was and found it was seconds away.  So after asking if the bus could wait a moment, he sprinted off to get Ang and the bags at the other bus terminal.

Racing past the laughing locals, the team arrived back at the first bus terminal only to find they were too late to catch the chicken bus.  A little sweaty, they then returned to the second bus terminal. An hour later a modern air conditioned bus arrived.  Both Simon and Ang were fearful that this costly delay could mean that they would be eliminated as it was now getting dark.  They could do nothing but enjoy the sunset as their bus climbed through the spectacular southern Honduran country side.  After dark, the bus arrived in San Marcos de Colón.

There the team ate some deep fried maize dumplings before checking into the pit stop for this leg of the race.  Simon and Ang, despite the costly time delay in Choluteca, were lucky they were the first to arrive and so where not eliminated.

Honduran TV supports movember

In the post race interview, Simon said “luck just wasn’t on our side.  If our earlier bus had of been a few minutes later, we probably would have seen the first chicken bus we missed.  Still, after 6 buses, it was good to get a comfortable one for the last ride.  I’m just glad we weren’t eliminated”.

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