Visiting inland El Salvador

Published: April 16th 2008
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Battered  BuildingsBattered  BuildingsBattered Buildings

San Salvador's buildings that really need an overhaul. This was across the street from the Ipod fix-it place.
AFter the last blog, it was time to take a trip to the inland and see other parts of El Salvador. We hauled the dingy up onto the boat, and cleaned out the fridge. Had our friend, Theresa, take us ahore with our small backpacks with a few days of clothes. It's been a long time since I bussed it with a backpack, boy am I getting older...notice I didn't say OLD, just older. Robin's pack was longer and slimmer and mine was too wide, mostly it sat on my lap. Those dang hair products and face creams really can fill up a small backpack quick.

The bus was loud and crowded. The bus drivers have a helper..ayudante..who whistles and slaps the sides of the bus to let the driver know it's time to move on, such as when people are on or off. It's rather loud. Robin is lucky with only one good ear,,, as he didn't get an "earful" of noise as I did on these rides.

We arrived in the captial city of San Salvador, and it was really polluted. You can taste the exhaust. We caught a taxi to a little hotel we found in
Bus StopBus StopBus Stop

We were walking along the street to get to the bus stop and almost got side-swiped by a bus.. really scared us.
the Lonely Planet guide book. It had air conditioning, a cable TV, a small (clean) pool in the yard, free interent (only one) and a breakfast came with the room. We got a private bathroom too. We were warned to not walk around in the early evening, or at dark, so we relaxed in the airconditioning for a while then hoofed it up the street to check it out. I was always a little cautious walking around, and thus tended to be a little harried, thus hurrying Robin to finish our meal so we could get back before dusk. I don't know if was really all that dangerous, but I didn't want to find out. The food was good and not too expensive. However, overall I think the prices in El Salvador are rather high for a central american country. The gas and deisel is more expensive than the US. Little note: today the local bus drivers went on strike and stopped the busses. I think the busses are cheap, and I wondered how they can make it with gas so high. It's good we've done all our bussing last week.

The next day we were going to bring
Anthropology MuseumAnthropology MuseumAnthropology Museum

Large carved boulders found around San Salvador from earlier people.
this old Ipod of Jacob's to get a battery replaced. We taxied it there, and waited a while, then finally the little techie guy said we would have to come back, so we went to the museum of anthropology called the David Guzman museo. We took busses there. A nice little guy helped us catch another bus to the place, as we definitely looked lost. It was a really nice museum. There was a couple classes there running around with their papers and pencils. They were just like kids in the states except all in uniforms. I thought they were a little wild running around, and really saw only one teacher (must have been about 45 students).

After the museum, we deicided to go north to a colonial town called Suchitoto. It was really quaint, and cooler than San Salvedor and a lot less polluted. We got another room with a/c, and took some photos as a thunderstorm approached and it rained for a while. Later we walked around the town a little. There wasn't much to do there except hang out , eat, read. We decided the next day to head back to San Salvador, check on the
Outdoors at MuseumOutdoors at MuseumOutdoors at Museum

The boulders, kids and lights in the garden area were pretty.
Ipod, and get a bus to another area we wanted to visit up in the mountains called Perquin. We hopped a taxi to the Ipod place and I was quite disappointed when he told me the computer part was bad, in addition to needing another battery, so we took it with us, got back in the taxi and headed back to the bus terminal. As we arrived we got on the SUPER ESPECIAL bus to San Miguel. Ahhhh! so sweet. It had a/c , big comfy seats, and we watched a George Clooney movie in English. We even bought drinks and snacks from the ayudante. It was worth every penny of the $5 each we paid.

When we arrived in San Miguel, we had to catch another bus to Perquin. It was another local transit bus that stops at all the larger towns along the way ( 2 1/2 hr). When we arrived at Perquin it was just starting to rain. We had our raincoats handy. We had read of a nice play to stay called Perkin Lenca Hotel, but didn't know where it was. We asked at a shop, and they told us we passed it coming into
School girls in MuseumSchool girls in MuseumSchool girls in Museum

A local wood sculpter had displayed his work in the entrance to the museum
town. Luckily it was only about a 15 min. walk downhill.

This place was nice, up the side of hill in pine-oak trees. We got ourselves a little cabin with hot water shower for 3 days and that was that...we weren't moving from this destination...too nice. They had a great resturant (breakfast included too). This area is where a lot of guerilla action took place in their civil war back in the 80's. The owner of this place came here in the late 70's and early 80's with his church and helped to build housing for the refugees from El Salvador and Honduras. He had been there for 30 years now. Nice guy, very informative about the area.

The next day we hiked back up into town and went to the Museum of the Civil War. We were pretty much the lonely exstranjeros (strangers) there. We got lots of curious looks as we walked about. The museum was nice, small , clean and very sad, in a way. A former guerilla came and guided us somewhat through the museum, speaking in spanish ( a little too fast), but I could get the understanding. Lots of photos and equipment

The cloud action on top of the hotel where the storm was approaching.
of that era. He told me that in 92 they finally achieved some sort of peace, but conditions haven't improved much since all that fighting and death. He's glad the war and killing has ended, and he is hoping through education and keeping this history alive, that the youth can change things through a democatic process, but he didn't sound too convinced. When you walk around and see the youth, they all have cell phones and emulate the youth in the first world, through internet and TV. He said to me that the uprising may happen again, but if it does, it will be the poor people in the back country, as the young in the cities seem happy with the MP3 players, cell phones, etc. Everyone has a phone here, even some of these people out there in that little pueblo. I was really surprised.

After the museum, we walked to the top of a hill nearby where there was a helicopter spot and some bombed areas. It was a nice vista of the town below. As we were walking down and thinking of going to some cascades (falls) down the hill outside of town, a man came
Suchitoto ChurchSuchitoto ChurchSuchitoto Church

The locals are repairing, repairing. Work goes on everywhere.
upon us and asked us where we were from, etc. Then he told us that we really shouldn't be walking alone. He said the people of Perquin are really good people, but there are a lot of other people here (lots of construction going on up there). We kinda got a little spooked, to say the least, and decided not to go to the falls unless we had someone come with us.

That afternoon, a couple from Alaska visiting El Salvador, came to the hotel. We began talking to them, Maria & John. They had rented a car and had spent a week at the hotel by our boat, Bahia del Sol. We must have missed them. Anyhow they invited us to go with them in their car the next day, which was wonderful. We wanted to visit this masacre site called El Mozote. This whole village was slaughtered at the beginning of the Civil War. International groups have helped to make a memorial there, but to get there, there weren't any busses, so it was real nice to go with them there. Very nice couple.

El Mozote was very depressing also. The memorial and the children's garden,
Grassless ZocoloGrassless ZocoloGrassless Zocolo

Look in the center and you will see Robin sitting on a bench, enjoying the surroundings
were very impressive, and we had a guide who spoke to us about what happened there and how the memorial and murals have helped keep the history alive for the younger generation.
On the bright side of our visit there, the country was simply gorgeous. Robin and I really enjoyed being in the mountains, no sweating, cool, but not cold. No a/c. no TV. It was truely relaxting reading on the porch on the bench, or as I love to do ...lounging in the hammock.

Sunday was the day to head back to the boat. Three bus rides later (no Super hoo!) and we arrived back to our boat that afternoon. Everything was fine. We had some cruisers keep an eye on it for us, so that was really nice. Now it's time to get ourselves ready for the next passage. We took a bus to a larger town for provisions, and Robin's doing a few projects, so we are hoping to get to Costa Rice next week, then from there to Panama.

El Salvador is a very interesting country, and most of the people (all those we met and dealt with) are really, really nice to
Typical townfolks waitingTypical townfolks waitingTypical townfolks waiting

Along side the road many people would wait for the bus to come to sell their wares, or get aboard to go somewhere. Very common site.
us. They have to start to gear themselves towards tourism. There are some places to visit that are gorgeous, but few hotels to accomodate the middle aged traveler with comfort (plenty of backpacker types of hotels). time will tell what happens here. A bus strike is an indication that something is not right. A local told us that when the bus drivers strike, everything just stops.... "it's the only way for the people to let the government know that there is a problem". We aren't traveling anymore, so we are clear, but we have some friends that headed to San Salvador and Guatemala yesterday and today, so I hope they don't get stuck.

Hope you enjoy the photos.. until next passage..take care all..Jean & Robin

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26


Cute local boys on the busCute local boys on the bus
Cute local boys on the bus

Asked Mama if I could take some photos. Printed some out and sent them to her later.
Our little cabin in the Mts.,Our little cabin in the Mts.,
Our little cabin in the Mts.,

Really nicely built, seems snug and comfy, doesn't it?
Robin enjoying the mts.Robin enjoying the mts.
Robin enjoying the mts.

Sitting on the little wooden bench in front of the cabin, nice homey feeling.
Front Porch VistaFront Porch Vista
Front Porch Vista

Lots of storm clouds every afternoon. Reminded me of vistas from Cold Mountain (the movie).
Museum in PerquinMuseum in Perquin
Museum in Perquin

History of their struggle for equality, honoring those that are victums and martyrs.
Robin & GuideRobin & Guide
Robin & Guide

Guide was showing us the bomb the opposition used and the size of hole, and the schrappnel that exploded from the bomb..pretty gruesome
Vista from mt. topVista from mt. top
Vista from mt. top

Nice little hike to top of hill, where the town is in the background below.
Peace from the topPeace from the top
Peace from the top

A small hike, but it was nice to do it, although I shouldn't have worn those shorts...lots of stares at my exposed legs..
Church in PerquinChurch in Perquin
Church in Perquin

Old lady getting ready to sell her wares near the town center.
Oneof many muralsOneof many murals
Oneof many murals

Murals depicting the history of the area. Many murals done with international help.
Local Coffe Roaster & GrinderLocal Coffe Roaster & Grinder
Local Coffe Roaster & Grinder

Little small shop as you enter Perquin. See worker roasting and grinding local coffee for export to the larger towns.
El MozoteEl Mozote
El Mozote

The memorial of all the familes that had lived there. Men, women, and children were all separated and slaughtered with guns and machetes. It took a few days. Very early in the Civil War this happened.
Children's GardenChildren's Garden
Children's Garden

This garden was constructed only two years ago with international support. Along the bottom of wall is all the names of the children that died there.
Robin & I Robin & I
Robin & I

We were smiling for the photo, and afterwards, I felt a little funny smiling at this spot...
Local Girls at El MozoteLocal Girls at El Mozote
Local Girls at El Mozote

Local girls in front of a special gate at the Children's site of El Mozote
No where PoolsNo where Pools
No where Pools

Walking up dirt roads brought us to these pools out in nowheresville. Saw some ducks when approached and I thought, oh we get to swim with the ducks...when we got closer I saw they were fake...(yes., I had my glasses on...)
Final View of PerquinFinal View of Perquin
Final View of Perquin

Looking out the resturant and down the road in front of the Hotel Perkin Lenca.

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