Justin and Silver Al

El Salvador
Preface | USA | Mexico | Guatemala | El Salvador | Honduras | Nicaragua | Costa Rica | Panama | Colombia | Ecuador | Peru | Chile | Argentina | Afterword | Tips

Border Friends

Border Friends

The border crossing into El Salvador was much, much, easier than Mexico to Guatemala. We crossed over on CA2 instead of the CA1 (Pan-American highway.) Perhaps CA1 would have been much busier and over-run by 'helpers'. At first we thought that it was a total cinch with hardly any troubles, but a couple hundred meters after crossing the border, we were stopped and had to turn around because we hadn't gotten the necessary car permit. Getting the car permit took a lot of bouncing from one building to another, one window to another, but everyone was a pleasant and helpful as could be. First I was sent to building 1, window 8, from there I was sent to building 2, window 4, from there I had to find a photo copier booth back in building 1 to get multiple copies of all my documents, than it was back to building 2, window 4, after building 2, window 4 I was sent back to building 1, window 8 and from there back to building 2, window 1 or 2. This proved to be the last step. At each window they typed a few things, looked over my papers, typed a few more things. At one point, the woman from building 2, window 4 came out to make sure that the papers matched the VIN and plates. It took a little while to work everything out, but again, everyone was as friendly and helpful as can be, including the men in various colored uniforms with big guns and the street kids. One little boy, Umberto, 10 yrs.,really wanted to help me out and followed me around, opening doors and pointing me where to go. I didn't really need his help, but he was just trying to make a buck and I accepted his company, giving him a buck that I don't even think he expected at the end. (Cuz it was pretty obvious that I didn't really need his help.)

In El Salvador they use US dollars as the currency. Makes life pretty easy here. After a couple hour drive, we pulled into the hopping little surf town of El Tunco. For its tiny size, there were quite a few other gringos here as well as many El Salvadorian surfers.  We had a little trouble finding a room at first (it was the weekend after all), but finally we found a little cement cell with two beds and a hammock slung outside. Dinner last night was a whole fried fish.

Fish El Trunko

Eli and Pup

Justin in El Salvador

We bought a small bottle of rum and drank it up with dinner, chatting with a friendly couple from New York who were on a one week surf vacation. Next we found a raging party at a beach-front bar and chatted it up with some locals for a bit, (more rum) before walking further down the beach. The next stop was a campfire tended by three dudes from San Salvador. We broke the ice by professing our love of papusas and made quick friends. These were no surfers, but guys out on a weekend bender. They offered us this and that, chicken and whiskey. I tried to pass up the whiskey but had a good chug poured into my rum cup. The half rum, half whiskey mixture was rough justice, and tipped my scales...I was ready to lay down, which I eventually did, after some hand shakes and smiles. The biggest guy, and he was pretty big, was a recreational fisherman of sorts, but hadn't had any luck yet that day. Would you believe it though, often he catches fish that are 'This Big' - <....................>

This morning, we have had a few cups of coffee and have discovered that our Patriots game was yesterday, not today. What happened to football on Sundays? This might mean that we aren't getting the nice hotel room with satellite TV and wireless internet (if they have such a thing in San Salvador). This means I might not be able to correct my photo deletion accident as quickly as I had wanted...but I might go back to our bungalow cell and try to get the goods onto a flash drive and upload some here. I suppose I deleted a bunch of audio files too...or do they still work. I thought I was saving some space by deleting photos from a location that I thought they had been duplicated to, alas, they needed to be in that location too!

Sun 13 Jan. San Salvador, El Salvador.  We hit the road from El Trunco beach and arrived in San Salvador within the hour.  El Salvador is a tiny little country, so getting around is a snap.  Once again, the roads are impressive, and people helpful with directions.  We booked into a nicer than usual hotel in San Salvador with hopes of American Football and wireless internet, both of which we have. 
We relaxed for a lot of the afternoon...I got my pictures back up onto the website and we watched the Chargers beat the Colts and the 'Giagantes' beat the Cowboys.  The commentary was in Spanish which was fun!
After a hot shower and the return of some laundry we decided it was time to get out for dinner.  We wanted to get a papusa (filled fat soft tortillas with some pickled vegetables on top) dinner but most everything was closed because it was Sunday.  We ended up getting a cab across town to try to find one papusa place which was closed, so we walked around a little and found a different restaurant which was good -Argentinean I think -and lucky to find, because there was not much open and very few people on the streets.  The only couple that passed us featured a man carrying a good beat-down stick...might have even been a steel pipe.  Every restaurant and business seems to have a guy with a shotgun standing in front.  Our restaurant had one shotgun guy when we entered, but by the time we left there was three guys with shotguns...one in some sort of security uniform and the other two just in sweatshirts and jeans.  I don't know if our restaurant called in the extras when they realized that us conspicuous gringos had been wandering around in the dark and eventually chosen their place to eat at, but everyone in the restaurant was nice, and we were sure to order a cab to the door for a ride home. Seems pretty tough around here, but the cab driver said all the guns were not to fight crime but to prevent it.

San Salvador

Dinner in San Salvador

Now we are recharged and fending off a hotel staff which seems hell-bent on getting into our room.  We were able to get the window open last night...with the help of our tool box...and I think they have caught wind of that somehow.
Today we will set off for Honduras, we just need to determine our route.  I think we will drive around San Salvador a bit and find our papusas before we skip town.

Approaching the Honduras Border

Confusion at the Border

More Confusion

The trip out of San Salvador went pretty smoothly, only one wrong turn is great when signs are scarce and traffic is moving fast.  We did get flagged over once at a police checkpoint leaving the city, but they caused us no problems...just wanted to look at all our papers.
By afternoon we made the decision to go for the Honduras border.  El Salvador is so small you often can surprise yourself at the chunks of the map you can cover in short amounts of time.  By 4:30 we reached the border and were going for Honduras.
I never found my papusas in El Salvador, and for this I am kinda upset. We saw a few closed papusarias, and even an open one that didn't have any.  We could have had pizza, fried chicken...even Mickey D's a hundred times (especially pizza, the El Salvadorians are obsessed with pizza) but papusas were never an option.  At least now I know for sure that there is no god.

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