El Salvador, the land of… of the perfect exchange rate… the US dollar. After spending so much time calculating the exchange rate for each purchase in each country, we arrived in El Salvador where we no longer had to be humbled by our obtuse math skills.
Besides the easy exchange rate, Tom was thrilled that we finally returned to the beach after a month long hiatus in Guatemala. The first few nights we stayed inland at a beautiful ranch with lots of trees, animals, and cool weather. The next week we spent our time at the beach and enjoyed sun and a great point break. We spent a lot of time surfing, gorging ourselves with local pupusas, and learning the art of dominoes from a couple of guys staying at the hostel.
Lika had her own adventure. While Hydro generally stays right by our side, Lika is a bit more free spirited. She has a tendency to wander, but always finds her way back to either us or the VW. I generally tend to get extremely stressed every time this happens. One day while we were in Sunzal, Lika was right next to us and then, of course, she was gone. I looked at Tommy and informed him that I wasn’t going to freak out like I always do since she always returns unscathed. Tommy was happy to hear the news since he is the one who usually has to calm my fears. About 5 seconds after this conversation we heard a noise and we couldn’t quite tell if it was a bird or the far off cry of Lika. We started frantically searching for her and after 3 or 4 minutes found her in a well… “What’s that girl? You fell in a well and the barns on fire?!” She fell into a water storage shed that she couldn’t climb out of due to the surrounding 6 foot walls. She was forced to swim around until someone came to her rescue. Let’s just say that she tends to stick by us more regularly since this little episode.
We eventually had to head to San Salvador to conduct presentations and training where we found a lovely room near the embassy. The hotel was a block away from the embassy, so I walked over for the presentation. The presentation went wonderfully and the embassy staff was fantastic. As I was leaving, they asked where my driver was. I informed them that I walked there from a hotel located a block away. They were all shocked, claiming that San Salvador tied Honduras for the title of murder capital of the world. In my defense, the only thing I walked pass on my way to the embassy was a Starbucks and another hotel. I was curious, however, why every building had a guard with a fully automatic shotgun… I guess this cured my curiosity.
Upon returning to the hotel, I saw Tommy and the dogs sitting on the curb. “Why are you sitting on the curb?” I asked him inquiringly. “We were promptly kicked out as soon as you left … when they saw the dogs,“ he replied with a bead of sweat dripping from his brow after being forced to sit on the curb near the dangers of the Starbucks parking lot awaiting my return.
We decided to drive back the 40 minutes to Sunzal, a place where we were accepted, to enjoy one last round of dominoes. A few days later, we made our way to Southern El Salvador. After driving hours on a long dirt road, we pulled off onto the beach and found a great place to camp for a few nights. Hydro and Lika were thrilled to have another beach entirely to themselves and ecstatic about the crabs. After spending hours running around chasing said crabs and other sea creatures they immediately passed out in the van from exhaustion.
The tranquility of our camp spot perched on hillside overlooking the ocean was unsurpassed. Whenever we find camp spots like this we basically have to tear ourselves away, full knowing that finding free, wild camping in Central America is beyond challenging. Nevertheless, the road awaited and the Mothership was off, ready for her next adventure.