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Published: July 23rd 2009
Asking directions in Escuintla
Lionel here rode a KLR to Chile in ´92. He was happy to show us the way out of town and we had a nice chat by the side of the higway.
We managed to leave Antigua almost on time, which for various reasons seemed a long shot. I´ll say no more than that Antigua can be a rough town on a guy like me, all the more so on a night when Tequila fell from the sky. The most of ride to the border was fast and beautiful, winding between volcanos and ranchland. The only exception was Esquintla.
As soon as we hit the town I stopped to ask directions because we were told we wouldn´t have to go through it. Before I could flip up my visor or find someone to ask a what looked like a delivery bike pulled up beside me and the rider asked where we were going. The next thing I know we´re winding through town following some strange man. I was ready to just pull over and confer with Marco as to whether or not we should trust this random dude when I managed to pull up next to the stranger at a light. He yelled through his visor and over the motors that he´d ridden a KLR to Chile. Ok. He´s legit. He directed us across town to the highway to Taxisco and the Salvadorian
Lunch by the roadside
Marco seemed pretty stoked on the spot. Kept snapping pictures
border and we pulled over to have a chat. He comended us both for making the trip alone and at such a young age. He was a helluvaguy kinda dude, but we were anxious to keep on and he was heading for the capital so we shook hands and kept on down the road.
About 20 k from the border I got the hunger and made old Iron-gut Marco pull over. He seemed pretty reluctant with the place I decided on at first but soon took a shine to the rustic charm of the place. Open air; plastic tables; wood fired steaks and tortillas w/ drink, salad and rice for less than three dollars. My kind of grubbing, even if the doña was a bit surly and the locals stared. Anyway that was probably because Marco kept taking pictures. Tourists...
As for the border crossing, well:
Goats and flames greet us at the Salvadorian Border. Photocopy fanatics at Aduana and friendly beggars throughout. A man with a femur that turns a right angle between the hip and knee: ¨dios te vendiga¨, a cute little boy asking one quetzal sprints back to show it off to grandma
Slap tortilla up!
Doña and Chef, she cooked everything over a wood flame, slapping out a beat on tortillas all the while. The beef was fantastic - halfway between jerky and brisket.
And already the Salvadoreños are living up to their reputation, two locals invite us to stay with them in as many aquaintances. Miguel, from Sonsonate says he´s more well known than frijoles in these parts, Jose who drives trucks down from Dallas: ¨You´re crazy, man! ...Call me if you go to San Salvador´
All the people lounging around or selling fruit just smile as we jump through hoops. It´s a laid back gauntlet, hot and humid as hell - Everything a Central American border crossing should be.
We B-lined it to La libertad afterward, stopping for a few pictures and for me to have a silently emotional reunion moment with the Mighty Pacific. It´d been a while and about 11,000 km since we´d seen each other. She missed me.
After poking around La Libertad and finding nothing within the right price/lack-of-sketch range for us, we ventured on to Playa San Diego to try to find a Hostel I´d heard about in Antigua.
El Roble was it´s name and it seemed the kind of place that might easily leave an unwary traveller in rubble. Comfy, friendly, well kept, dollar beers all the time and one
free upon arrival. And they had a pool.
Later that night we partied with some Salvadorians and things got all, well, tranny. Basically a drinking game ensued that is a odd combination of Jenga, Kings/Circle of Death, and Truth or Dare. Between free Ron and contagious free spiritedness they managed to get me into a figure skater´s outfit for a while. Luckily I picked just the right block to unload it on Javier, one of four brothers who seemed to like the dress-up part of the game more than anything else. To each his cross-dressing own, I've always said.
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