Sunny place for shady people
Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
75Trip End Jun 26, 2010
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Where I stayed
That evening whilst chatting to a Canadian couple in the bar I found out that the reason most coach lines don't run at night is because they are not paying the gangs protection money and thus the bus drivers are liable to be shot at night whilst driving the bus. It seems that most of the violent gangs that formed in California many years ago were deported by the US back to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. On the whole they generally only traffic drugs and extort businesses so most travellers are safe, but it still put me on guard.
The next day I went into the city to check out the hotels near the bus station as I had an early bus to Manugua, Nicaragua two days later, also I had left my sombrero (hat) on the bus and was hoping I might get it back. Anyway I was certainly glad I had stayed the night in San Benito because whilst the western part of San Salvador is quite developed with shopping malls and western chains like pizza hut, the centre of San Salvador is absolute carnage. I have not seen a more run-down and decrepit place on my whole journey (except for maybe Belize City). I eventually found one of the hotels "recommended" in the guide book and after seeing the room I quickly fled. I couldn't even find the other hotel so after escaping to the bus terminal I worked on plan B. Fortunately the bus company had found my hat and would have it at the terminal when I left in two days time so all I had to worry about now was to find a place to stay
The next day I caught several chicken buses down to La Liberdad on the coast and caught up with Cal. One thing I love about buses in El Salvador is that they cost next to nothing. For example any bus trip around the city costs 20 cents US and my trip to the coast was only 80 cents in total for a bus that took me about 50km. Bloody brilliant!! The beaches in El Salvador have great surfing which was evident when I arrived, not least because the place is packed with lots of surfers from all over the world. Unfortunately the sand on the beaches is derived from the volcanic rocks and so is black which is not the greatest for sun bathing. I didn't go swimming which was fortunate because that evening I found out from 3 travellers, a Kiwi guy, a Canadian girl and an Argentinian guy that the water is very infectious because all the creeks empty into the ocean. They had all suffered several ear and throat infections and had been constantly pumping themselves full of the antibiotic Amoxycilin which is incredibly cheap at 10 US cents (or something like that). Wow, what people will do for the love of good surf!