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Published: October 23rd 2008
The Central Plaza
Hello again, I´m back. Currently having a day of rest after my birthday yesterday, so I guess now is a good time to polish off my tales of El Salvador. I believe when I left you last I was in Playa El Tunco, so let´s go from there.
From El Tunco, I headed to San Salvador, to see El Salvador play against Surinam in a world cup qualifier. I got a lift there with Jose, who owns the hostel I stayed at in El Tunco. It turns out he´s a bit of an ACDC fan, so we flew up the road blasting that out. Although I´m not quite sure he appreciated the irony of playing Highway to Hell on the way to one of the supposedly most dangerous cities in the world. I certainly did though.
It also didn´t help that he dropped me off in the middle of San Salvador, with me not knowing where on earth I was, and just said to get a bus. I did so, and despite the conductor telling me it was the right bus for where I wanted to go, after half an hour, I asked another passenger, and
San Salvador cathedral
The writing reads "El Salvador del Mundo".
she told me it wasn´t. I gave up at this point, and got a taxi, but then he managed to get completely lost aswell. The moral of the story here is don´t trust Salvadorean directions.
Anyway, at the hostel I met Yaniv from Israel, who I´d previously met in Juayua, and agreed to go to the match with. After a bit of a stroll round, we headed down to the stadium to get tickets. It really was quite a sight, hours before kick off there were thousands of people around, selling shirts, honking horns etc. We got our tickets for the cheap seats, but were warned not to go in without a Salvador shirt, so we bought one each. Together, the ticket and shirt were cheaper than the next cheapest ticket. We paid about 7 quid for both. Not bad eh?
After an unconvential pre match activity of visiting a museum about some priests that were murdered in the civil war here, we got some pupusas to eat. Pupusas are a Salvadorean speciality, tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans, chicken, pork amongst other things. And they´re delicious. Mum, get the recipe, I want them on the table when I
I've forgotten who the bloke on the horse is.
Anyway, the match itself was pretty good. When we entered, the warning about shirts seemed valid, as we saw a guy getting pelted with water, litter and other things for not wearing one. We smugly walked on, thinking we were safe with our shirts. However, the welcome for gringos was just the same as the welcome for those without shirts, so we took a bit of a pelting. All good fun though. Salvador won the match 3-0 by the way, qualifying for the next stage, but for me the best bit was the atmosphere. I wish Town games were like that.
The next morning was spent wandering round San Salvador. Now, I´d been warned it was really dangerous, and not to bother going, but to be perfectly honest, I really liked the place, and it seemed perfectly safe to me during the day. Obviously, there are areas that you wouldn´t go to, and I wouldn´t wander around at night, but all the hype seemed a bit overblown. I could have stayed longer, but we decided to press on to Alegria in the afternoon
Alegria is El Salvador's highest town, and the views from
Just about getting a view despite the cloud
here are meant to be pretty spectactular, which was the reason for coming. However, there was a tropical storm lurking, and so instead of picture perfect views, we got a lot of cloud. Therefore, my memory of Alegria will always be that it was a bit of a disappointment, which probably isn´t very fair on the place, as if the weather was nice I'm sure it would be really good. But for us it wasn't, and so I have very little else to say. The morning before leaving it did clear up a touch, but still, a bit of a let down.
My next, and final, destination in El Salvador was Perquin. Perquin was a guerrilla stronghold during the war, and now it is becoming quite a popular destination for hikers, and people who want to learn more about the war. We went to visit the museum here, and also a site called El Mozote, which was the scene of a brutal massacre of women and children, by US trained forces. It was very interesting, but quite disturbing at the same time.
There was also some really good hiking around, and on one of our days
A warming cup of tea in Alegria
there, we set off through an ex guerrilla camp to a local lookout point. As we got out of the woods, it started peeing it down, but being hardy hikers, we carried on up, to be greeted at the summit by clouds as far as you could see (which wasn´t very far). However, miracles do happen, and as we sheltered from the rain, it cleared up, and we were rewarded with some great views over El Salvador. Coming back down was rather treacherous though, and its some miracle I stayed on my feet the entire time!
However, the next day it was time for me to leave El Salvador. I really enjoyed my time in the country, its much less touristed than its neighbours, because it has a repuation for being really dangerous. However, I didn´t find this to be the case at all, I felt safe as houses all throughout my 2 weeks in the country, so if anyone reading this is considering going, I´d give it a hearty recommendation. But anyway, at 6am I picked up my bags, and after a stop for my last pupusas, headed for Nicaragua, and back to the more trodden gringo trail.
And you´ll hear about my adventures there/here another time.
Tata for now,
P.S Photos at El Salvador photos
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