@Hewby: Looking forward to meet you too! I was reading things on your ride report as well and then Andres told be that you will pass by as well. I was thinking to write you PM these days to see how you are doing and how are you progressing... it is quite wet here and I hope we all make it in sunnier weather to the boat and then to Colombia.
Until then... rainy days provide some time to catch up with the RR:
El Salvador: 13-16 November
We wake up very early. Mainly because we want to be few steps ahead of the heat…. once it gets hotter we might delay again our departure with “just one more day” and go back in the hammocks. We even have a theory about it. Many of the foreigners that now have businesses here by the beach, were at the beginning tourists like us, just visiting. Then they stayed “just one more day” until they became… locals. As for us… we still have a long way to go to reach Argentina so we don’t give in! It’s 7 AM and we are outside our room with luggage and everything. It’s already hot!!! On the hallway, our neighbor looks at us motionless, as if he is feeling sorry for us that we will get into the sun soon.
We are not feeling sorry for leaving him there,o n the wall and we speed up the process of loading everything on the motorcycle. Everybody is still sleeping at the hostel so there is not much people to say “goodbye” to. Only the owner’s parrot who keeps telling us “Ola! Ola!”.
Our wheels don’t spin too much, if we want to cross into El Salvador we have to take a ferry that will take us 30 kilometers up the river where we can meet the road again. So we are arriving at the “deck”.
But we don’t see any ferry. We are trying to ask around, what is the procedure, is there a schedule, when is the next ferry and how much is a ticket, these kind of small details. It’s all quiet on the bank. “What ferry… this is the ferry, this boat” answers one of the boys there pulling to the shore a wooden raft…
Hmmm, should we get on or not?
The only alternative is more than 100 kilometers detour and we want to get to El Salvador today. Then let’s get on!
Meanwhile our man goes to bring the engine that was supposed to push us up the river.
The wooden boat moves heavily leaving behind the village that’s slowly waking up.
We had some more kilometers to go until the border but we feel like this is the place where we are saying “Goodbye” to Guatemala, here on a wooden raft, floating among the mangroves….
On the stills waters the locals are out fishing and the volcano outlines itself in the background.
Goodbye Guatemala! Thank you for all you’ve offered us, thank you for your lessons!
Hmm, once we get off the boat we feel like we are in another country although there are few more kilometers to the border.
We can tell that the border is close when we start passing trucks. A lot of trucks parked on both sides of the road (yes, everybody was driving on the opposite side of the road).
And when we get there… the whole place is packed. And still this is not the main border crossing, the PanaAmerican one.
Central America is famous for the border crossing bureaucracy. We think this statement is unfair.We agree, it is not a regular border crossing, like crossing 2 E.U. countries. OK, sometimes time passes by differently when waiting here and it is sometimes hard to find the logic of certain actions.
The bureaucracy at the frontiers of Central America is the famous. We could say that this reputation is unjustly gained. Yes, it is not an usual crossing, as between 2 countries of European Union. OK, time flows differently in these borders and it is quite difficult to find the logic behind some of the actions you have to take there. Even between the same 2 countries, if you use different border crossings, things that have to be done and the order in which they have to be done can differ radically. However, with a little patience and kindness we have managed up to now to cross without problems and without “helpers” (people who make a living by acting as guides for foreigners at the borders). We hope that from now on to be the same. But, this border was much more agitated and, inevitably, I found odd things. For example the office where motor vehicles need to be “de-registered” out of the country is located… on the “incoming” side of the Border buildings (where vehicles go in the country) And there was no sign to indicate that. Therefore one has to walk around a bit until things are revealed
Our motorcycle jackets have a lot of flows and shortcomings but at least, nobody can say that they don’t have the hi-reflecting strips working properly.
Then, of course that you will need to copy all kinds of documents so you better find “that” copy machine near the border (preferably one that is working and has also someone to work it – don’t ask….)
With the formalities on the Guatemalan side over, we hop on the bike and head down the road to the El Salvador’s border navigating between tons of trucks. In the below picture, you can notice that we “upgraded” from driving in the opposing traffic lane to driving on the opposite side’s shoulder, on the far side of the road… and that is because the opposing traffic lane was already “occupied” as well by trucks. Fun!!
Then another hour or so of paperwork and ta daaaa! we are in El Salvador!
So here we roll, on the roads of a new country from Central America, the smallest country in fact, but the most densely populated. We try to stay away from the crowds and pick a road that goes near the coast.
Before getting in El Salvador, I didn’t know much about this country. With a history as cloudy and intense as pretty much all other countries in the area, it is only in recent years that tourism started to take off with all that is implied by this. And if in the `90 more than 90% of forests area was deforested, after 2000 it has been reported a 20% increase in the forested area (how many countries in the world can brag with an increase in the woodland areas? ).
We stop, purely at random, in one of the small surfing spots on the Pacific coast. We will stay here for a few days, relaxing and trying to surf as well. El Salvador will be good to us…
Unfortunately I didn’t do that well on the surf board, being for the first time on it. But let me tell you, the few seconds that I was able to stand on my feet on the board, boy those were awesome! Well, after the “heroic” tries, I’ve settled on the beach, watching others do it properly..
And because surely you need a picture with girls in swim suits in order to have a successful ride report, here it goes!!!
Well, joking aside, the life at the ocean’s shore was slaw and relaxing, with long hot days and evening full of magic.
But after 3 days it was time to move, yet again, and start the next chapter of our journey.
But in order to reach that, we first needed to pass through San Salvador, country’s capital. Having no GPS and entering the concrete jungle we surely enough get lost pretty soon. At a stop light we ask some people in a car next to us for directions. The driver pulls to the right, get’s out of the car, shakes our hands, asks where are we coming from and where are we going and so on. We feel like some important guests, not like some helpless lost travelers…. Then the guy tells us to just follow his car, he will drive us to the correct exit of the town. Wow, really? I am sure he had other plans for that morning that didn’t include driving through rush hour just the help us but here we are… following a green BMW out of San Salvador
So we exit the city in no time and after saying good bye to our new friends in the green BMW, we find ourselves on the road to the mountains. Beyond them, Honduras awaits.
A new border crossing is in store for us, and after that a new country from Central America. I wonder how Honduras will be like? A lot of people just try to pass quickly from El Salvador to Nicaragua, spending just half a day in Honduras. We will try to explore for a few days, taking the long way through it.
Map with the route from this post:
View Larger Map
Next time we meet Honduran roads and on them other travelers that are heading to South America. Stay tuned!