Entering El Salvador

Trip Start Aug 28, 2004
Trip End Aug 2005

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Flag of El Salvador  ,
Thursday, March 24, 2005

Not to be disillusioned by the Guatemaleans (still enjoyed our stay there, despite the mugging) we moved onto El Salvador!!! arriving at Santa Ana which is a delightful little city (second biggest in E.S). Stayed in very good accommodation after discovering the cheap budget option was literally in someones back garage! we only did a brief tour of the city as time was short here due to leaving date being 17th April from Panama City.

We then went onto San Salvador which is a pretty manic place, particularly in the main centre which is just a heaving market place full of "Armidillo shells" (a popular item for decoration on your mantle piece!?) and many more delicate items (all of which are bagged up in small sizes, so as to disguise their real origins??). On swift judgement in sweltering heat we decided it safer to go stay in the suburbs, you see men with guns pretty much at every corner and anywhere that is worth anything!!! It is something you eventually accept (it also makes you realise, just how lucky we are to be in civillisation and not fearing for your back!!!). We got to recharge our batteries after a busy week of sorting out stuff with regards to our "machete wielding bandit scenario". San Salvador is very much built upon an american style city, with sprawling streets out in suburbia. In the centre it´s a little eerie, but with it stil being "Semana Santa" (Holy week) a lot of people are away vising families and off to the seaside etc...You will and do see a lot ogf guns here but it´s all relative to petty crime and stuff, it´s more for the security of the premises, not necessarily you!!! But it does un nerve you somewhat, especially after our experience in Guatemala. The things that people say about their country and the others that border onto theirs is also interesting too.

After the most packed bus ride in our entire time travelling (and thats saying something!!!), with as many people standing¨, as there were sat down and thats saying something!!! (it managed somehow to get up to the top of the hilly bits and still keep on going, we arrived at "la Libertad" which is south west of San Salvador" is like the "Skegness" of El Salvador. Only with really good surf waves and black boulders for a beach!!! Everybody and their dog was here with us and we just people watched the world go by. Blue skies and beautiful candyfloss clouds everywhere!!! The heat was just sweltering, I know you all think this is crazy, but I really miss the cooler climes right now and would gladly swap at times!! the option of going for a dip in the sea are greatly reduced when you observe the waste pouring into the sea direct from the sewers.... Looking at the wider picture the terrain of El Salvador is one of much agriculture and farming in a big way. It was the dry season now and so the colours of the eart is full of yellows, greens and browns.....A picture of hot and sultry.

We moved further south to "Suchitoto, near Lago Embalse, Cerron Grande" where we were hoping to join in with a communtiy celebration which occurs every Saturday, and is a "giant music and dancing Fest", only to find much loud music blaring thro´speakers at great volume from a great distance. Not quite the traditional scene we had imagined. After a meal we trudged our weary way back on up the hill and stopped off at a cute little bar, halfway up the hill with a very nice lady and her son. Several hours later "us and Rallie", who is an extremely intelligent and hard working man both and Engineer and a farmer of Sugarbeet and re planting trees (he´s very keen to re introduce indigenous tree´s to the area, which is very forward thinking in a country where so much has been destroyed thro´logging etc...). We ended up going for a few Beers El Salvadorean style, and we did not get back to our digs until the wee hours of the morning!!! It was a very entertaining night, filled with historical events, mythical stories and live music. A big thankyou to Rallei you made our stay in El Salvador the best and we will act upon your worldly advice too. El Salvador is a truly great country, which is gradually building itself up after the only recent wars that occurred in the last decade. we went onto Las Palmas from here and saw the work of an infamous local artist "Fernando Llort", his work is in a very naive style and he has taght this and passed onto the villager´s whom now work along the same lines, producing embroidery work, wood painted with depictions of local life and the wildlife that goes on in the mountains close to the Honduran border. The weather here is still pretty hot despite being higher up and you still sweat like a crazy thing!!!!

The local advice is to hire a guide for the day to show you around and you´ll get less hassle from people this way too, they are your "protector" if you like, and it makes real sense as well as giving somebody an income for the day.
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