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Published: September 13th 2015
On our arrival to San Salvador we as usual had no idea where we were in the city and had a few pictures of maps showing where our planned hostel was. Getting off the intercity bus we were faced again with taxis willing to take us where ever we wanted to go, but we persisted in finding public transport. Just outside Terminal de Oriente where we disembarked is a major thoroughfare where Avenida Peralta/Bulevar del Ejercito Nacional meet. Here we found a very fancy transit stop with big, modern city buses and turn-styles for access. While we were waiting politely for assistance at the window to buy tickets someone from beyond the turn-style was calling to us. It was a younger lady travelling with her mother. She was extremely kind and helpful giving us bus directions to the area of town we needed and even went so far as to use her transit card to scan us through the turn-style so that we could use the higher end bus (she told us we would have needed the special card to use the system, which we would need an El Salvador id card to obtain). It turns out that the super fancy
bus system cost the same as the converted school buses to get around; USD0.20. The girl and her mother were travelling the exact opposite direction, but it was a great first impression in yet another Central American capital city that we'd had every intention of avoiding but found ourselves in. We made it to the hostel with that one bus and an long walk along Paseo General Escalon from the Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo.
It was good to have some time in a major city. We were able to find some supplies we had been missing or just simple solutions to little problems (like elastic bands for sealing dried goods). It's amazing what useful items, you didn't even know you needed, you can find in a dollar store. Around town we didn't really want to do too much; it was just a good time to cook for ourselves and recharge in a 'sanitized' environment. We did go for a walk around the town center with no other goal than to see El Rosario, one of the churches; special due to it's stained glass ceiling. It took us a long time to find it since from the outside it looked like part of a communist airplane hanger; big, plain, and concrete. Once we did find it, it was closed for lunch so we found an air conditioned cafe where we got a drink and some baked goods for a snack. When we finally made it into the church it was really quite impressive. The 'steps' of the roof were riddled with colored glass, not in images but on edge, in rainbow order.
We took a day trip out to Joya de Ceren, the "Pompeii of Central America". We walk a long way in town tracking to buses back to an alternate terminal to the one we knew. Once again we got a really friendly driver who had his wife and child along for part of the ride and let us know exactly when to get off. Joya de Ceren isn't as drastic as we presume Pompeii is since it took the volcanic ash two weeks to cover up the (presumably) hundred home village in the 7th century. The level of preservation was still immaculate with structures but also small items like grains of corn in bowls. There were even footprints in the mud preserved, the ash forming a mold essentially. The museum on site had many artifacts on display and great dioramas of the area and explanations of how they think the town got buried up to 10 meters over the course of 1,300 years.
More pictures here
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