Today, I am writing about my experiences in El Salvador. This little country has given me the hardest time so far and some of the best memories I have had since I left Mexico. To start with, I was really scared by the media reports labeling El Salvador one of the most dangerous countries in the world and having one of the highest homicide rates per capita. Just before I arrived, I had read an article in the Guardian claiming that there had been the first night without a homicide in a year. The second problem I encountered was that I could not move around freely, especially with my camera. Wandering around in the countryside was not an option and hiking the volcanoes was in some cases only possible with a police escort.
Once I had arrived, I immediately got charmed by the friendliness of the people, the fact that the roads are well maintained and that everything is just a short bus ride away. What a comfort. In México I spend an average of 4 to 6 hours getting from A to B and in Guatemala it was about three.
I spend a good two weeks in the country: hiking volcanoes, visiting idyllic volcano villages, having drinks with a great bunch of daring tourists that also desired to experience an unusual destinations, taking photos and to write my lavalover episodes. Unfortunately, I did not visit all the volcanoes in the country. As it turned out, some of them do not have interesting stories, apart from ex-presidents owning the coffee plantations and others being only tourist attractions for local day tours. The one I really regret not visiting is Volcan de Unión. The city of Union was described by my guidebook as a place you do not want to visit and I was running out of time. I already had booked myself a language school in Leon, Nicaragua and I did not want to stay for another week in solitude. Now, I regret my decision but I see it as a good opportunity to return one day.
Writing this text two weeks later I think back fondly to El Salvador. I miss the view of the local ladies lovingly forming the national dish “Pupusas” with their bare hands and the farmers in the chicken buses carrying huge machetes with beautifully crafted sheaths. I miss chatting to the “Salvadorños“ drinking local “Cadejo” beer and spending the nights cooking in the safe haven of the great hostels that can be found throughout the country.