Day 6 – Driving to Suchitoto, El Salvador

21 Mar

Breakfast at 7am in the same place as we saw the police yesterday. Pancakes and cold milk – excellent.

Back at the hotel, I had already packed the bag, so I nipped across to the posh hotel over the road to try and upload the blog. Got one going without too many problems, but the second was not working.

Back at the appointed time (8am), we discovered that there was no bus to take us today. Lou advised that we should come back at 8:50am when there might be a bus. Trotted off to a different wifi spot to try again with the blog. Ended up taking all the photos out and at least uploading the text.

Thankfully the replacement bus and driver arrived and we loaded up into a slightly more luxurious bus. At least it’s not a chicken bus! Headed for the back seat today to ensure fair play. Lou’s artist friends large painting (in bubble wrap) is now hogging the middle aisle as there was no other appropriate place to put it. She hopes there is a hole in it by the end of the trip.

Successfully left Honduras without any formalities. We hadn’t technically left Guatemala, so reentering was a breeze.

Passed several bits of road that never get resurfaced due to them lying on a geological fault line. An excuse not yet used in Scotland to my knowledge.

Should also mention that Central America generally is the land of the speed bump. It’s legal for anyone to place them wherever they want. In Guatemala they are “speed bumps”; Honduras “sleeping policeman”; and in El Salvador “dead policeman”. Together with UNESCO insisting that the ancient cobbles in town can’t be changed, makes for a very interesting ride.

Seeing lots of vultures circling overhead, hope it’s not a sign of impending doom.

At about half eleven, we arrived at the pilgrimage town of Esquipulas and stopped at a viewpoint to see the church containing the “Black Christ”. No time to go in though. Every time we stop, we need to move Lou’s painting first! We then stopped at a petrol station to complete our border forms and for a toilet stop. Lots of tuk tuks filling up on a constant basis.

We crossed the border into Honduras at Aqua Caliente and several people got rid of the last of their Guatemalan money by using the money changers. They got a much better rate than possibly imagined. Spent about 20 minutes there whilst Lou got all the paperwork done for us.

Honduran officials seem to be very corrupt, but Lou takes no nonsense from them. We needed to have the outside of the bus disinfected, which of course also cost money.

We crossed the Honduran territory quickly – only 45 minutes in all, but we did stop for lunch at Ocotopeque which offered a “buffet” lunch. More like fast food as you paid for each item you wanted. The choice was fried chicken or fried chicken.

Moving on quickly, we arrived at the Honduran border (at El Poy), and Lou quickly got us into no mans land. We all had to get out and see the El Salvadorian border control. Once or guide explained what we were doing, the queue shortened quickly. The officials were only doing their job, they weren’t corruptable –  a good form for this country. No stamp in the passport for El Salvador, as they do things properly, and you shouldn’t need one at all.

We stopped at La Palma for toilet relief at the fast food chain Pollo Campero (the KFC of Central America) and also a chance to wander around the arty shops. They had very colorful child like, mostly religious, paintings and they were everywhere, including on the lampposts, and walls of the street. Not my style. Bought frozen strawberries covered in chocolate and hundreds and thousands.

We drove on through El Salvador seeing some beautiful landscapes,.before arriving in Suchitoto just before 6pm.

The hotel was a bit of a shock, as the pool was being retiled. Apart from that it was luxury. We took over the whole hotel, and some of the rooms were suites. My room has a lobby/during room, with a sofa, table and TV. The shower was  on the right, but UPSTAIRS, was the largest bed in the world, together with a large screen TV, with lots of English channels. My room was next to the bar, which was because Lou reckoned I might be the last one up. I seem to be getting a reputation.

The usual suspects met for a short walk to Harlequins. The route was lined with locals sitting outside their houses, either drinking or just watching the world go by. We didn’t need the map as the locals gave us directions easily – “the yellow house, the yellow house”. There is no real tourism in El Salvador, so we were the only ones in town.

The meal was nice, and in the end most of the group had made their way there. $94 for seven of us – one large course and lots of drinks.

We ended up back in the hotel bar, for my now standard question of, “What’s the local drink?” Unfortunately, the didn’t have it, do we had to style on cuba libre’s all round. Ended up having three, due to a slight mix up with Bitte.

Headed to bed (last) slightly merry. Good night.

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