Ciudad San Salvador, Estado de San Salvador, Repùblica de El Salvador
¿Que paso, amigos?
So I’m in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador right now. I know I just posted an update yesterday, but someone gave me a dollar and I couldn’t resist…
So when we last spoke, I was in Guatemala…that was yesterday. After leaving Mazatenango, I found my way to the Salvadorian border in about nine hours. My first ride of the day was with a boy who couldn’t have been older than twelve. But, a ride’s a ride, so I hopped on in and logged twenty more k’s. Plus, he gave me five Quetzales! Nice kid…
I got a few more short rides that totalled no more than thirty k’s, and then got a long one. It was with a fellow named Fransisco, and he was going the Guatemala City for his twenty-five year class reunion. He drove me about a hundred k’s, through the beautiful Guatemalan countryside. I saw Guatemala’s most unpredictable volcano (Pacaya) spew tons of smoke agitatedly into the clear blue sky, and a couple more less volitile ones. After Fransisco dropped me off, I got a ride in about five seconds in a little van for about thirty k’s.
After that, I finally saw a sign that said “La Frontera El Salvador, 135.” Todo derecho, friends.That’s what I like to see. I got a ride with three women who were on their way to see their sick grandmother for about fifty k’s. The girl in the back, who was eighteen, spoke nearly perfect English (she works at a help hotline that recives calls from the USA) and apparently has a Facebook. I’m expecting a friend request soon. She doesn’ like Metallica, though (she says they’re “too loud”) but I’ll forgive her for that. But no more freebies.
After being dropped off about sixty k’s from the Salvadorian border, I was really starting to get hungry and thirsty. I had had nothing to eat since the previous night, and nothing to drink, and my mouth was dry as a bone. My next ride was with a guy and his kid that took me about twenty k’s. He told me not to accept rides from big trucks, as they are apparenty “muy peligroso.”
After that, I got a ride all the way to the border. The fellow was nice, and kindly bought me a much needed bottle of water.
At the border, I wasn’t anticipating any problems. However, I found one. It stemmed from my fucking expired passport again. The immigration guy said that “You no visit Salvador. I very sorry. You go the American embassy in el Capital and get fixed.” That’s about a hundred and fifty k’s away. Well fuck me running. Guess I’ll have to go swimming again.
So I told the guy quite ploitely that that was perfectly all right, and that I would go back to Guatemala and get this whole mess sorted out. I walked back into Guatemala, cut through a cow pasture, and headed for the river.
On the way, a guy stopped me and asked what I was doing. I told him I was going to bathe in the river. He didn’t advise it, as it was apparently “muy peligroso, con malo personas.” I waived his warning aside, as according to the locals, anywhere but where we are now is always dangerous and full of bad people.
When I got to the river, I found some fellow illegal border crossers, coming from Salvador into Guatemala. The noticed my whiteness, and asked me if I had any money. I told them I had twenty Guatemalan centavos on me, which is about a quarter cent. They didn’t belive me, and I noticed them searching my pockets while I was floating my pack across. However, when they discovered that I did indeed have no money, they left me alone. The probably would have robbed me if I had anything of value, which is why I don’t carry anything of value.
Upon reaching the other side, I was greeted by two guys in their twenties carrying AK-47’s. They told me quite pleasantly, “Beinvenidos a Salvador,” and then also asked me if I had any money. I told them no, and, after a brief search of my pockets, I was allowed to pass, free of lead. Nice of them. I asked them what the guns were for and they told me, “To hunt bears.” Right…
So upon reaching El Salvador, I noticed that everybody is armed here. They either have a gun, or a machete. This was my que to tread carefully in this tiny Central American country.
I hiked back to the main road, stopping once to bum a cigarette. I like to smoke after violating international law. The guy didn’t have any, but gave me a dime to go and buy one. Here in Salvador, they don’t have their own currancy. There is no Bank of El Salvador. Everything runs off the American dollar. Apparently, there is a money factory here that makes American dollars, and they just figured that they’d use those instead of making their own.
Right when I was about to leave the little border town, a guy stopped me and told me that it’s “muy peligroso to viaje in el noche.” Seems like I hear the word “peligroso” a lot these days. I told him that I wasn’t traveling, just looking for a place to camp. He didn’t think that was very safe, either, and offered me a place to stay at his house. I told him that was just fine and dandy, as it was beginning to get dark anyways. So we walked to his house.
His name was Salvador (easy to remember) and his house was the most poor that I’ve visited yet. It was just some concrete walls with a concrete roof. No electricity. The windows were just holes, and there was no door, just another slightly larger hole. He told me that he was sorry, that he couldn’t afford to give me food, which I was okay with, even though I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and was fucking starving. It looked like he needed every cent he could get. I slept in a hammock, and watched with happiness as bats flew in and ate all the mosquitos.
Today, I bid Salvador farewell, (the man, not the country) and started heading for Honduras. My first ride was for about five k’s, and then right after I got dropped off I started walking twords a shady spot to hitch hike from. Suddenly, some Salvadorian women flagged me down from their house and gave me a delicious pineapple drink and some crackers. They noticed how much I seemed to be enjoying the dry crackers, and asked when the last time I ate was. I told them about two days, and they were agast. Instantly, eggs, peppers, and tortillas materialized in front of me, and I gratefully feasted while watching an American movie about mermaids that was dubbed over in Spanish.
The women here were apparently direct decendants of the Mayan people, and spoke the Mayan language. Before I left, they insisted on giving me and ancient blessing for protection during my travels. Sweet.
So after a few more hours of hitch hiking, I made it here, to San Salvador. It’s getting a bit late, so I think I’ll try and cross the Honduras border tomorrow, and camp somwhere in the jungle tonight.
Nos vemos, amigos…
The Modern Nomad
EDIT SEPT 2011: Just one thing: “I like to smoke after violating international law.” What a cheeky fucker! Haha! Damn, I remember being all proud of myself for jumping another border. Not to worry, El Salvador will sort me out…wait and see…