Diary of a “Transportation Day”…

A “transportation day” is a day where I am transporting my self from one city/town to the next. Sometimes it’s a short few hour bus ride and others it’s several buses and an entire day of transportation. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will have noticed that every few days (sometimes weeks) I post “TRANSPORTATION DAY – I am moving from ABC to XYZ”.

This is a shot of a classic "Chicken Bus" in Central America. You grow to love them a lot.

For the record I hate transportation days they are the most boring and tedious part of travel. You are always on full alert because you are constantly in a different environment. You are also most likely travelling in a over crowded chicken bus and if that is the case you are left with a very uncomfortable seat or end up standing up half the trip. By the end of the day you are left exhausted and ready to have a beer and relax.

The reason I am writing about this is because one night while chatting with one of my best friends through Skype she asked me if I could please write a detailed account of one of my “transportation days”. I asked her “why would I do that, they are long, boring and so tiring?” She answered, “For someone who has never done what you are doing I would love to know how it is”. So I thought why not document a fun long one with not one but TWO border crossings.

I had spent a few days in Leon and loved it. On my last day I went Volcano boarding and made plans to go to El Salvador with SuperXicana and Mark. They were two friends I made with similar itineraries, so we decided to travel together for the next few days through El Salvador. So here you have it a detail account of how I got from Leon, Nicaragua to Perquin, El Salvador.

6:15am – BEEP BEEP BEEP  my thoughts “ahhh nooo it’s to early I don’t want to get up. Okay I will get up in 5 minutes.”

6:25am – “Okay okay I am up let me get ready I know we need to be out of the hostel by 7am.” (Get everything ready make sure I am not leaving anything behind. I also make sure SuperXicana & Mark are getting ready)

7:01am – We are walking out of the hostel.  Time to find a taxi to take us to where we need to be to catch a bus that goes from Leon directly to the border town. We were told it passes by at 7:20am.

7:12am – Yay we are at the bus stop with time to spare.

Leaving Nicaragua and walking into Honduras. The sign says "Welcome to Honduras". As you can as it always happens someones is trying to get me to take a pedicab to the immigration station. I have learned to ignore them.

7:25am – Hmm lets ask to make sure a direct bus to the border is going to come by. We ask and find out it has already passed so instead we get on the bus that is in front of us to the town of Chinandega. From Chinandega we will have to then catch a bus to the border.

7:26am – We are on the bus and its crowded with no where to sit. We are at the back of the bus standing up for a bit. Finally some seats become available. I ask to see how long of a ride it is to Chinandega find out it’s only an hour. Sometime before we get to Chinandega I see 3 people come on and off the bus with chickens (I always get so excited when I see them. I think it’s so cool they get to ride along with us).

8:30am – Make it to Chinandega wait a while to change buses and make our way to the border.

10:30am – We arrive to the border. My mind goes in worry-overload mode. I hate borders… they scare me and I feel like the people behind the window have way too much power.

11:00pm – We are done getting our exit stamps from Nicaragua and are now entering Honduras. It is just a short walk to get to the Honduran immigration office and so many touts are asking us to takes us by pedi-cab.

11:43pm– We officially are in Honduras. Now I need to find a restroom, I have really got to go.

After I finished using the restroom I saw that it had no water to flush. I asked the lady and she told me I needed to pour water down the toilet to make it flush. I had never done that and was a lil scared. I can't believe Marc got a picture of me reacting to the flush. We couldn't stop laughing. I am now a pro though.

11:50pm – I found a restroom cost 3 lempiras to use (anywhere in Central America it cost to use a public bathroom). I pay go in & do my business. I am done an realize shit it deosn’t flush because there is no water. I go outside and tell the lady she tells me I need to poor water down it manually for it to flush. I have no clue what she is talking about so SuperXicana explains it to me. I do this with the door open and am “EEEeeee-ing” all over the place because I am scared to get shit on me. The 1st attempt failed, but the 2nd was successful. All the while Mark was taking pictures of me doing this.

12:15pm – We are on a direct bus to the border of El Salvador.

2:15pm – Yay we made it to the border. Getting an exit stamp from Honduras was a breeze.

2:25pm – We get in line to enter El Salvador. In my head I say “fuck this line is long & its hot”.

3:10pm – Finally my turn in line.

3:12pm – That was a breeze Mark and I got our stamp and our ready to go. We look back and we see they have asked SuperXicana to go inside the office.

3:20pm – SuperXicana is free. We find out because she is traveling with a Mexican passport she was screened with a few extra questions.

3:30pm – We are on the bus heading to “La 18”. Its not a town its just a intersection where we need to be dropped off to catch the next bus to Gotera.

4:00pm – I realized I have not ate all day.

4:35pm – Arrived at “La 18”, I see street food I don’t even ask the others and make my way down there to get something. Turns out to be a pupusas stand 3 for $1. We each get 3.

The 3 of us celebrating a successful "transportation day". That beer behind us are actually each a LITER of beer (we ended up drinking 5 liters). We love to celebrate the right way.

4:55pm – Bus to Gotera arrives & we do not know if we will make it to Perquin tonight because we are told buses don’t go up there this late.

5:25pm – We arrive to Gotera & are told we need to catch a “Pick Up” to Perquin. A “Pick Up” is pick up truck bult with rails for everyone to stand up on the back.

5:35pm – We get on the “Pick Up” and are heading to Perquin.

7:00pm – YAY we made it Perquin, but now have no clue where we are staying.

7:22pm – After talking to the tourism police we find a Hostel to stay at for $6/person. We are relieved we had a very long successful “transportation day”.

Sometime later that night we go to a Pupuseria down the street and have a few pupusas along with some beer.  In the end between the 3 of us we finished 5 liters of beer. Hell yes after 2 border crossings 5 bus rides and 1 pick up ride this is how you celebrate a successful “transportation day”. So for those of you who have never done anything like this what do you think now…lol??? For those who have tell me about your longest, worst or funnest “transportation day”. I know I am Central America so my longest ones are normally 12hrs like this one.

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  1. Hahahaha i love that picture of you by the toilet LOL
    Lauren recently posted..A Private Tour of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN

  2. I usually try to get writing done while in transit, but it rarely works out. I can imagine it would be impossible on a chicken bus.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..LA In Songs

  3. Hey Jaime…as “boring” as you thought this post may be, for travellers about to embark on their journey, with no real clue as to what we should expect on “transportation days”, this was actually quite informative…thanks for including the border crossings!

    • Well I must be honset some transportation days are interesting like todays. We were on a chicken bus that was traveling super fucking fast through mountains. We were holding on for dear life the whole way.

      I am glad this helped you because it is 100% a transportation day. The border crossing are easy I am just scared of them. Also ignore the touts all of them are walking distance save your money.

  4. Thanks for cuing me in on how the toilets work! Toilets in different countries can be quite an adventure and I am glad I now know to add water 🙂 Interesting post with your normal humor added in.

    • Oh yes toilets are quite the adventure… sometimes horrible but you gotta go…lol!!! Also be sure to carry toilet paper with you everywhere!!!

  5. QueenBrain12 says:

    EEEEE… I love that I could inspire your blog ideas. Even though you might have thought transportation days are horrible; I enjoyed this post. I could totally see you through out this day. oh and i really though the restroom break was a #1 and not a #2, but soon realized it when you needed the water. You sounded a bit fresa that you had never done that.. really?!

    we need to skype soon even if just messaging. I miss you so much.. I don’t think you realize how much.

    thank you again for blogging about crossing borders, chicken buses, pick ups, and how to flush a toilet! lmao

    • Thank you so much for inspiring a blog post… Really I would have never written this. Umm yeah the RR break was #2 and horrible…lol!!! Oh & you know I type like I talk so this is 100% me!!! Glad I can give you some insight on what a transportation day consist of ;)~

      love ya!!!

  6. You are soo funny in the toilet pic!!

    That was one of my longest (u know how sloooow I travel hehe) and most fun transportation days thanks to you and Mark 😉

    I was laughing the whole way through reading your post!!


    I miss your funny ways!!!
    Superxicana recently posted..OSAMA IS DEAD- FEAR IS NOT

    • Awww thanks Superxicana. It was a great fucking day, I had a blast with the two of you!!! I miss you and your insightful ways…lol.

      P.S. I see you got a gravatar ;)~ Oh & we will need to chat soon.

  7. I love that the toilet got special mention in the post! (It would have if it were my post too!) The best picture I’ve seen in a long time, your expression is priceless!
    Jillian recently posted..Photo- Kickin’ Back at the Border

    • Jillian of course it got special mention it was too funny not too (especially with the photo)…lol!!! Im glad I am going to have that photo as a reminder for the rest of my life!!!

  8. LOL, oh Jaime, as they say, better you than me. Glad to see you are having fun 🙂

  9. So that’s what a transportation day is like. The last guide book to Central America I read said to avoid chicken buses. It’s good to see they are working out for you. I’m actually looking forward to sharing a chicken bus with chickens, though I’m sure that will get old after the first hour or two.
    Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth recently posted..Traveling in Your Own Hometown – A Pat LePoidevin House Concert

    • Mike yup this is what a “transportation day” looks like! As for avoiding Chicken Buses if you did that you would be missing out on the essence of what makes Central America so special. I hope you dont listen to the guide books and do use them to get every where. You just have to be careful & stay alert. I have yet to feel threatened by any passenger on a ride. So when do you come to Central America?

  10. I have never had anything like this before! Traveling to just one country at a time, and sometimes just one city, I just have the minimal drama of getting in and out at the airport. My most difficult travel days though were 1) flying from Sydney to LAX only to learn my flight to Dulles had been canceled, so sleep deprived, I stood in a line for 2 hours to get a new flight (to Denver and then home). and 2) the time I flew to London via Canada and they had mechanical issues with the plane so we had to sit on it for ages while they got it sorted…then when I got to London we learned they had sent my bag to Vancouver, and I didn’t get it back until *after* I was back in the USA. Thankfully my friends clothed me during the trip (except for new underwear I bought).
    Heather recently posted..Heather the studio audience member

    • Oh wow Heather I think I would go nuts in the 2 situations you described. I am sometimes impatient and the good thing about Central America the buses are always fast & efficient on getting you where you need to get.

  11. Jamie, I have traveled in many chicken buses when I spent 4 months traveling in Belize. The first bus scared the crap out of me, too fast, too crowded, etc, but then chicken buses became my main mode of transport and I love them! Much better then driving in a taxi with just one person who just might bore you to death!!

    • Sindy I would have to agree with you at 1st I was so scared of them but now I love them and I actually miss them. They are so crazy & chaotic but just work.

  12. Mark Joseph Jones says:

    um, photo credit!

  13. I actually quite liked this post, despite you touting it as potentially boring! My longest “travel day” is any time I go between Daegu, South Korea and Harrogate, UK. 5 hour bus from Daegu to the airport, 2 roughly 8-hour flights, then an hour to Harrogate! Not sure if that counts as it’s obviously all on a plane!

    12 hours on a Turkish bus with no bathroom was the worst. Still, it was pretty comfy! I’ve yet to experience travel in Latin America, Africa or South Asia…

    • I guess travel days could be fun Tom, but most of the time I just find them boring and EXHAUSTING. As for yours that is a long long day as well. I dont think it matters bus, train, plane when you are in transportation it’s just exhausting. I’m in for some new adventures as I set off to new regions of the world.

  14. Well it is good your friend convinced you to write about a transportation day 🙂 I have had many of those. It took me something like 10 hours to get from Granada to Balgue, in Isla de Ometepe, so I can certainly relate. It is tiring, but then… you keep the good memories, right?

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