El Salvador

Neither Joe or I had any expectations for El Salvador and what met us was a strangely rewarding place. Quirky in it's combination of outstanding natural beauty, it's Americanisation and the dramatic juxtaposition between rich and poor.

So heavy in it's American influence, the people of San Salvador haven't completely caught up with the new language  and culture. This being shown when despite the menu of Wendy's being fully in English, a request for a double baconater and fries only drew vacant stares. This wasn't a problem for us as it gave us a final  few days to practice the Espanol before returning to confusing native English speaking people with our obscure and stretched vocabulary.

Another observation from our time in El Salvador was how much we had progressed since the start of our trip. From sheepishly catching taxis in Lima we were now mixing it with the locals on the crazy and unpredictable El Salvadorian public buses. This also pushed our Spanish to the max and while my grammar still prompts laughter from my more learned friends, my conversational level still exists and along with some expert hand gestures and I can mostly transfer my message across to the wary locals.

While we didn't get as much done as I would have liked, we were still able to get a taste for El Salvador. Our best day was when we descended San Salvador's ever looming volcano. Most people when they go to the Boqueron park simply go to the viewing point, take a few photos and then leave. But the fact there was a 'path' that went to the centre was enough to persuade us to try it. Strangely, all the warnings given by local people as we headed down the track turned out to be fully justified as we attempted to clamber down the fairly perilous route. Being the only people doing the walk that day, we were able to make our mark on the crater which was tiring but fun.

On the way back to the hostel we had a chance encounter with only the second group of Westerners we had met. A group of 7 American girls got onto our bus and after a bit of conversation we were invited to theirs for tea. They along with 4 guys were doing some mission work in the city and we had an fun evening discussing the fallibility of American accents as well as proving my worthlessness at FIFA. Losing 3-0 as England to an American as the USA was one of the low points of the trip so far. They also introduced us to the delightfully named Pupusa which is an El Salvadorian food favourite. Worth a try, but it's no kebab.

After a quick visit to the art museum our time in El Salvador was up and we headed to San Francisco with high expectations due to the gushing remarks of many Americans at PSF. El Salvador was definitely worth a visit and if I was ever passing through again I would stay for another few days.