El Salvador in a Rush

Trip Start May 12, 2009
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of El Salvador  ,
Thursday, August 13, 2009

   This week I have been running all over El Salvador. Bus from San Sal. to Suchitoto, to La Palma. Back to San Sal, then to Juayua to the north. Then back to San Sal., then to Perquin far to the south in the mountains. Today, I woke up in Perquin, logged 5 hours back to San Salvador. Took in a museum before making the final journey 3 hours more to the north back to Juayua. This would not have made sense if I hadnīt come to Juayua last weekend just for the indigenous food fair. Even so, it has been an awful lot of hours on busses.
    Every person who has warned me to be careful in El Salvador has been 100% correct. I am grateful for all the hints and assistance setting my expectations. Usually, I am the cautious traveler who is more concerned than I need to be. In Costa Rica and Panama, I had a wide "margin of safety" because I was always thinking of things. My experiences in the Middle East last summer gave me these habits. But in El Salvador, all my caution and creativity is paying off. It amazes me how EVERY TIME I have left a zipper unlocked on the bus, I have found it open later. (The only reason I leave a zipper unlocked is if it contains just empty water bottles, trash, ect. Usually nothing was missing because these arenīt items anyone wants.) Sometimes the person sitting next to me on the bus was just so sweet-looking, itīs hard to believe they did anything.
   This morning a large German Shepherd gave me some scrapes. I was walking along the road when I heard quick footsteps, then suddenly, the dog was on me. He just jumped on me, without biting. This gave me a row of scratches down my side and some nicks on the back of my legs. It broke the skin lightly, even though I was wearing long pants and 2 t-shirts. I went down, and came up muttering "Tranquilo, tranquilo", which is probably why the dog decided not to bite. Just lucky, lucky not to have been bitten.
   This goes to show that for all the caution about what people may do, I could not have predicted that. I was walking on a public street near a market and museum.
   The museum was about the guerrillas in Perquin. Checked out the former encampment, the remains of a downed helicopter which had carried the commander of a group which massacred a village, and radio equipment from the rebel radio station.
   As you can tell, Iīm switching over more now to sight-seeing mode. My time is short. Since I decided to participate in the fall semester, I have less than six weeks left. Six weeks to see Xela, Lago de Atitlan, Antigua and Pacaya, Nebaj, Tikal, Livingston, Punta Gorda-Belize, San Cristobal de las Casas-Mexico, Oaxaca-Mexico, and bus back into Denver.
    So there you have it. Six weeks from here, Iīll be back in States. Itīs going to be a wild ride, fitting all this in. I will have to relinquish my habit of reading La Prensa before even deciding what to do for the day. This blog is also going to have to take a back seat.
  Six weeks. Three more countries, three more currencies. Five more border crossings, 42 days ticking away.  
   The cities above are what I am going to try to see on my trip. To those who have lived or traveled in the region, I would welcome specific suggestions or comments!
   Tonight I am enjoying a hot shower and free internet in Juayua. Manaņa, Iīll be taking busses through Ahuahapan, Las Chinamas, Valle Nuevo, and onto Guatemala City.
   From there, I am undecided whether I will spend the night in Livingston on the Carribean, in Antigua, or on a small farm near San Jose Pinula. Could go any way, depending on when the busses get there and whether the farm can pick me up.
   When I get to the farm near San Jose Pinula, I will be training and riding horses there for the week, plus learning to handle ostriches. Should be interesting! Weīll see if I have any internet available during my stay.
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