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Central America Caribbean » El Salvador » Western » El Zonte
December 11th 2008
Published: December 28th 2008
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San Salvador hotel roomSan Salvador hotel roomSan Salvador hotel room

As if having to be safely indoors in San Salvador after dark wasn't bad enough, I had to come back to a hotel room with cardboard taped to the wall as a divide between my room and vermin that scratched around all night. Throwing flip flops at the cardboard would only offer temporary peace and quiet.
I got an early chicken bus from Lake Atitlan in Guatemala to Guatemala City and shared a taxi to get to the bus terminal in zone 4. Guatemala City, like all the other capitals in Central America has a bad reputation but I late Sunday morning is probably the best time to visit. Just had an hour walking around before my bus went to San Salvador.

Arrived in San Salvador around 4pm and the place was quite deserted. Got a hotel room in a recommended cheap hotel ($10-night). Had cardboard stuck to the walls and ceiling and this turned out to be there to keep the vermin out. Weird place. I went to a fast food chicken place and buying a beer to spend the night in the hotel room watching TV (not good to be out after dark). I came back and the owner wasn't in as my TV stopped working so I tried to shift a little girl (daughter?) from her TV to watch football and drink beer. Didn't work, then passed an old guy watching a church service and dressed in what looked to be a hospital issued backless ensemble who told me that he could have gone to the US to live but stayed to fight the communists and then on my way back up to the room passed a chubby older lady naked in the hallway. I went up to the room, locked the door and spent the evening drinking my beer and listening to Flight of the Conchords on my iPod to drown out the sound of vermin on cardboard.

San Salvador is a bit run down so went ended up taking a bus to the old capital of Suchitoto. This is now a small old colonial city that had suffered one earthquake too many so the capital was moved to San Salvador. It was also a left leaning city in the civil war which meant that it was a big target of the govt sponsored death squads that would come to town and shoot people. 90% of the population moved out during the civil war and an American couple that I spoke to who had returned on holiday to visit said that they had lost lots of friends and relatives.

I decided to camp over there that night rather than return to SS. Suchitoto had some Xmas festival on which involved a band playing on the square, a beauty queen procession and a kamikaze firework display. Central Americans are into their fireworks in a big way but this was really impressive. A structure was made out of bamboo and and filled with bottle rockets, bangers, fountains etc with a thin layer of plastic made to look like a cow protecting the wearer from severe burns. Someone lit the thing and the wearer ran around the square for 5 minutes with the firework cow exploding in different ways with the townspeople running out of the guys way. The last guy to do it pointed the thing into the crowd so people started getting hit by bottle rockets. I was told that they used to also throw big dynamite stick size bangers around while doing this but this had to stop due to causing "too many" injuries.

Next day I made it to El Zonte on the Pacific coast to practice surfing. Had a good 2 days on the water but got food poisoning from the salad that came with papusas from a food place on the side of the road. I went down the coast to Sunzal as the surf was supposed to be better there before I started feeling the effects. Some guys were going to Nicaragua the next morning so decided to go with them rather than sit in a hostel being sick for a few days. Uncomfortable trip and any food or liquid would pass straight through me but after 2 days travelling I started to recover.




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Decorated lampposts in Suchitoto, El SalvadorDecorated lampposts in Suchitoto, El Salvador
Decorated lampposts in Suchitoto, El Salvador

Decorated telegraph poles by famous local artist, yeah.
Breakfast at Mr Doughnut, San SalvadorBreakfast at Mr Doughnut, San Salvador
Breakfast at Mr Doughnut, San Salvador

Managed to eat only 2. They were full of cream and this threw me.


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