Yet another crazy capital!

Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
Trip End Jul 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Pasadena II

Flag of El Salvador  ,
Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 104 April 18th continued - I busily look through my lonely planet guide and realise that my bus will land at the international bus station which is a minute walk from the guesthouse I want to stay in. How perfect, no taxi, no hassle and maybe a bathroom within a few minutes. About 8 taxi drivers scurry towards me, all wanting my business, at least one understands where I'm going and loses interest.

I enter the guesthouse, get a single room with a fan and TV and an en suite, perfecto I tell the owner. I need food though, and I head out, walking around what looks like pretty dangerous streets, there are two bars near my guesthouse, but not the kind of bars you'd want to enter. I walk another 6 or 7 blocks, the streets are dusty and the smog from the buses is extremely intense, all the buses pump out black smoke and then I just walk into a bar and sit down. The place is packed with guys sat infront of bottles of beer they had sucked on. Let me describe it another way, you know the scene in a film where the bar goes quiet, everyone turns around and looks at the weirdo who just walked in......well that was my experience. I smile at them and sit facing away from all of them. The waitress tells me what food they serve and I get some chicken with rice and a Sprite.

It's an interesting bar, they have a TV jukebox and some guy picked 7 tracks off one album. Some locals shook my hand and welcomed me to San Salvador. Once I finished my meal, one drunk guy came up to me and was very friendly, shaking my hand, asking me questions, then when a Bon Jovi song came on, he asked me to go choose another Bon Jovi classic. Luckily he went to the bathroom and I walked out.

On the way back to the guesthouse I found an Internet cafe and caught up on myself. The one danger with Internet cafes is all the bites you receive. I seem to get bitten when leaning on wooden desks, but then there were things crawling on the floor, mosquito's flying around, it's more dangerous in an Internet cafe than in the amazon jungle.

Once back at my guesthouse, I decide to call it a day and relax in bed with some iced tea and watch some TV. I'm very unwell and figure some rest and relaxation will do the trick.

I still had enough energy to walk across the courtyard and eat some more chicken and grab a 7UP, but it's bed for me, I'm knackered.

Miles walked 1.63
Temp 30C 86F

Day 105 April 19th - I watch an episode of Criminal Minds at 7am and get my ass out of bed after that. I had a great sleep but still feel pretty dodgy. I want to explore San Salvador city centre before grabbing a bus to Santa Ana from where I will spend my birthday.

The guide book is pretty frank about the city centre, watch yourself, watch your stuff and if someone robs you, hand over everything, don't resist. Right, let's go see this place then.

I walk the same direction to the crazy bar I ate at, then walk further east into the city centre. The main two roads leading to Plaza Barrios are filled with market stalls and the streets are packed. The market stalls block ones view of the actual shops that line the road, but I guess this is normal. The smells are pleasant on the one hand and pretty disgusting on the other.

It takes a good twenty minutes to walk through the busy market streets and navigate my way to Plaza Barrios, the centre of the city centre with some attractions to admire. In the centre is a statue, to the north a catedral, to the west Placio Nacional.

I sit in the plaza for a while, I enjoy the warm morning and thoroughly enjoy watching people go by, getting ready to start their day.

Sad to say, but I was limiting my time in the capital so I could enjoy plenty of time in Santa Ana and also enjoy a relaxing birthday. I try walk a different route back to the guesthouse and there is more of the market that I haven't seen.

I can see why it is said to be a dangerous place at night, there are too many narrow alleys, too many places you could get lost or stuck if confronted. I also stand out as I'm the only person wearing sun glasses, people who live here are used to the intensity from the sun, but my poor little British eyes find it tough going. I have enjoyed seeing the capital, I know what it looks like, feels like and smells like but for anyone coming to El Salvador, there is no real reason to see this place unless you really want to challenge yourself.

Back at the guesthouse, urgh, I pack again and instead of ordering a taxi, I figure the 2km to the bus station for Santa Ana is walkable. There are three pretty straight roads and I could do with the exercise.

I must have a tshirt that says honk if you think I'm a gringo. I also must disappoint many taxi drivers, my slow shake of my head and they zoom off. The walk was fairly long but I reach the bus station in one piece, grab an iced tea and board my school bus and the overhead rack is large enough for my large pack. Within a few minutes the bus sets off.
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Bev on

Very interesting architecture Ant.You are braver than I would be.Happy Birthday//

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