12 September, Guatemala to El Salvador
The bus was a 12 hour journey and we had a big stop at the boarder. Turns out it was Independence Day for Salvadorians and they were celebrating with drums, girls with pom poms and school children. It was very dynamic and they danced for ages. It did end up delaying our trip by an hour. As I walked through the crowd people smiled at me and I felt they were favourable towards westerners. I haven’t seen many here, I seem to be the token one at the moment.
We drove on through countryside not as green as Guatemala. I do recall Dan saying as a pilot much had been stripped in El Salvador. I did notice more pasture land and some mountains were brown, so that is pretty stripped. I did notice the most beautiful mountains surrounding the road way and there were moments of real beauty with backdrops of river systems. I felt an inner joy but did think about what is being done in the name of progress. Humanity has so much to remember about the real security in survival. It is to connect with the natural systems and work as a part of it, we cannot just shape it to our economic system, it doesn’t work and it is out of harmony with the natural order. This order extends to a universal order of which we barely perceive, if at all.
Coming into San Salvador was an eye opener given that the billboards were all exhibiting western style advertising. The roads were quite modern and I reflected on the use of the US dollar here. I felt the country had been sold. Looking at the billboards it was clear who to. In some ways I feel a strange comfort as it is the known world for me, I grew up in a western democracy yet at the same time there is a loss in respect of the traditional San Salvador and their way of life. I saw many manufacturing factories on the outskirts and thought about the cheap labour here. This is the manufacturing zone I am guessing for central and south America and back to the US and European markets.
The bus pulled up with just a few passengers, a couple of Japanese girls on a world trip. I noticed armed men at the bus station and can only assume the crime. I had previously asked the girls if they found a hotel as I thought I’d tag along. Turns out they followed me. I was told that there was a budget nearby the bus station by a guy in the bus station at Saint Elena (Guatemala). A guy insisted on taking us to a cheap hotel and I reinforced to him I don’t need a taxi as I was wondering why he was helping me. I wondered if he wanted a tip. He knew the owner of the hotel and took us in. Clearly looking for customers. Their rates were $25-30 US per night. But I didn’t like the feel of the place and felt $20 was better. The girls agreed. We went and looked at two other hotels nearby and they were serious dives. The rising damp was unbearable. The girls were worried but I told them it will be fine we will get what we want. So I lead them up the road again and found a policeman I was able to make it clear we needed a hotel but not expensive. So he went across the road to a taxi and spoke to the driver, the driver then brought us to the Grecia Real Hotel. It was $33 per night but it did include breakfast. It was still expensive but much nicer then the others by far. I said let’s grab it. The girls were happy.
We then went out looking for food and we ventured to Centro place, it was all American fast food retailers. It was loud with t.v.’s everywhere and cheap food. I wasn’t drawn to it, being a vegetarian it was a bit challenging to get food without meat. So I opted for a vege delite sandwich, at least it was healthy but it was not El Salvadoran food. I noticed the girls didn’t mind. I do want to know the culture.
So I got to bed after doing my photo’s and was very tired. I am feeling unwell as a cold is coming on and I do feel exhaustion. I have traveled 12 countries in 2.5 months and it has been full on. Spirit is willing getting the body to keep up is hard.