El Salvador map:
El Salvador - Leaving the Gringo Trail
Nov 30, 1999

These older journal entries were hastily typed in at local cybercafes where I was paying by the minute.  Please excuse grammar mistakes or typos. 

Baudelaire revisited
Thank you all for the information, special thanks to Rachel who sent the best summary and poetry.  Baudelaire was not a very happy drunk, was he? 

San Salvador

Leaving the Gringo Trail

There is a route that the backpackers follow from Mexico, down through the Islands of Belize, into Guatemala, Tikal and Flores, maybe a stop at Livingston, and then down to Southern Guatemala, Antigua, Lago de Atitlan, and maybe Quetztenango.  From there they turn around and head back up to Mexico.  There is safety and comfort along the whole route.  Just like Europe, there are tons of tourists, so you make friends instantly.  And then in every hotel and bar along this route, you keep running into the same friends over and over again. 

Despite many predictions that I would not wake up at 7am after a nice of heavy drinking I did manage to get up and get on the bus towards San Salvador.  It was a strange feeling, leaving the Gringo Trail, leaving all of my friends behind.  I missed them and at the same time was excited and nervous about heading off into the unknown. 

I made it to the guesthouse in San Salvador tired, hungry and sick with almost no local currency.  Instead of following my original plan of heading out clubbing in San Salvador Saturday night, I had a bowl of soup and went to bed early. 

The next day I started to explore San Salvador.  I expected to find it dangerous, war torn and poverty stricken.  Instead it is very nice, clean and safe, with a strong resemblance to the San Fernando Valley.  Money and e-mail turned at not to be a problem, I walked past the Pizza Hut and Burger King to the mall where I found an ATM and cybercafe.  The only problems that I did have were communication and fashion and boredom.  Almost everyone here speaks absolutely no English, so my Spanish is improving quickly.  I showed up at the mall and everyone was dressed not only well, but in the latest fashions - I picked up a nice tight clubby shirt and felt like I fit in much better.  Finally boredom, I hear the nightlife is good during the weekend, but not much happens in San Salvador during the week - especially Sunday through Tuesday. 

It was a hard choice to decide not to stay in El Salvador a few more days, in particular after hearing about Sr.  Frogs ladies night on Wednesday where all the women drink for free.  I want to see the weekend nightlife in San Salvador, I want to see the beaches.  However, with 3 weeks to see all of Nicaragua and Costa Rica I have decided to move on.  Tomorrow morning at 5am I am getting on a bus to Managua. 

Highlights of San Salvador

La Luna is a beautiful art gallery, bar, movie theater, restaurant, etc. 
It is a nice cosmopolitan city - if you are staying in Guatemala for a while coming down for a weekend might make a nice change. 
Unfortunately, I am not going to see it, but I hear that the nightlife is great.  Both on Calle San Antonio above Blvd.  De Los Heroes and in the Zona Rosa. 
Guest House Ximenia is great.  Nice, comfortable, cheap for El Salvador, very safe, with cable TV in English. 


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