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Yesterday, Tim and I were determined to run the gauntlet from our home to the airport and pick up Faith and John. As expected, there were multiple roadblocks of burning trees and tires. Our first roadblock, 10 miles from the house, was cleared by the military after four hours of burning. The protest was finished when about 30 protesters with political signs and national flags slowly marched down the highway. Within 20 minutes, traffic started moving again.
We drove on for the next hour seeing only traces of previous roadblocks, the remains of burnt tires on the highway. There was no traffic coming from the opposite direction, which is not a good sign. We approached the second roadblock a few miles from San Pedro Sula. Traffic was stopped and tractor trailers were parked in such a way as to block the highway. There was no passing. Another driver approached and asked where we were going. We told him the airport. He said the airport was closed and there would be no clearing of the highway tonight. We followed a few other cars snaking through traffic to drive over a median to the other other side of the highway.
We started down a route that we used to use up until a few years ago when we found a faster route. The traffic was initially swift, giving us some unjustified confidence. It stopped about 10 minutes later. I sent a message to Paula stating that the alternate route was blocked. The only other route we knew of was probably blocked as well, and would add another hour of driving. We waited for about five minutes and started to turn around. Then we spotted some oncoming traffic. We waited and saw more coming, meaning that one lane was open. Our lane began to move some minutes later.
For the first time of the day, we passed a roadblock that had not been cleared and there was no police nor military present. The people had cut down trees to obstruct half the road, three piles of brush, with tires to burn later, in a zig-zag. As you drove through the people were yelling and motioning for drivers to wave support, using hand signals etc. After spending hours at roadblocks, I was not in an agreeable mood. When we did not return the supportive hand gestures, rioters began kicking and hitting the truck. We saw the end of the crowd and I accelerated slightly, so that they would not close in around the truck.
With just a few miles to go, the only other obstruction we encountered was a burning pile of brush and tires. The flames were about 12 feet high, but only blocking one lane of four. Traffic drove by slowly enough to get a little cooked through the closed window. Thankfully, that was the last of the roadblocks. We did stop once more to be inspected by military as we approached the airport.
We arrived at the airport after traveling 60 miles, in nine hours. I suppose if you removed the rioters, that kind of pace should have reminded me of driving in Dallas.
I did wave support, to the military and police.
Our drive back was uneventful, but we did see more tractor trailers participating in the blocking of traffic. Several were parked sideways across the road, covering four lanes and shoulders. We returned home 17 hours after leaving, with Faith, John and Santa's bag o loot.
Thanks for your prayers and support in making this mission successful.
by Mark on Saturday January 27, 2018
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