Met a group of lycra clad near the Somoto Canyon turnoff on the Nicaraguan side, which set the tone for a day of meeting other cyclists. Had a couple of mini ´races´with a lad called Miguel as him and his mate would overtake me (on the uphills) and then I them (on the downhills). The crossing itself was pretty quick and totally stress free, met a guy called Sebastian travelling back to Costa Rica with his friends after having been at a massive festival in Honduras and learning circus skills.. wicked!
The scenery after the border was just stunning... phenomenal. Hadn´t realised how high I must have been until I spent a good hour or so (with no sense of time here it could have been a lot longer!) coming downhill... really exhilarating cycling. As I got towards the bottom though it was like cycling into an oven and a ferocious headwind made the flat into Choluteca a real struggle. Choluteca itself was big and dirty, the only saving grace the prettily crumbling colonial church I passed in the central square before going round and round in frustrating circles looking for the elusive Santa Ana hostel. Turned out it was unmarked... but I got there and was so glad to get in the shower....if I could get a hold of one of those synthetic-portable-rainclouds Piers told me about back home and strap it above Peggy it would be genius for this weather (any luck on that front yet Piers?!)
My general impression of Honduras so far is that it has more money, as the tarmas is the smoothest I´ve seeen in a good long while and there are a lot of two storey brick homes. There is little agriculture that I have seen so far, although I did pass another of the cattle herd groups using the red-flag singalling system to cross the road, and there is still firewood being lugged by livestock, though not kids here. The biggest difference to Nicaragua is the amount of plastic rubbish dumped all along the sides of the carreterra. I saw a really disrturbing scene of an old man, Ernesto, burning plastic rubbish at the side of the road before San Marcos de Colon, with a huddle of vultures just off to his left. I stopped to talk to him because it felt wrong to photograph that scene and his suffering otherwise, and I didn´t make it obvious. He said he and the other workers rotate days, it is an official dump for the town. He said the smell was terrible, and no wonder, inhaling plastic fumes all day... so wrong.
Interestingly, in the colourful market town of Nacome where I am today I heard an anti littering campaign: a truck was driving round and round with loudspeakers blaring out the message not to dump litter in the streets, rivers or beaches. I really hope it works, it is so sad to see so much plastic. This morning I saw a team of women raking the rubbish into piles at the sides of the carreterra. They would be set on fire as the women moved on, so it seemed less intensley bad than Ernesto´s lonely on the spot work.
I sat at the edge of the market this afternoon and drew another Coca-Cola syndrome postcard for André´s art project about the globalization of the product. The second I´ve done so far, the other was in Condega, though I cheated slightly by drawing from a photo. Much better drawing in life, as I was getting to the end of the picture I had a right little crowd around me, including Jose Floretin wh gave me directions to the post office which turns out ot be shut for the whole of Semana Santa week. That knocks the plan off a bit seeing as the idea was to send a Coca-Cola drawing from each of the countries I visit (from Nicaragua up) as a postcard postmarked from the respective countries. Had to leave the Nicaraguan one in Catharine´s trustworthy hands the night before crossing the border into Honduras, but now seeing as I´ll be in El Salvador tomorrow unless I can leave it with the hostel to post will have to go from there.