El Salvador – Day One

El Salvador.

To survive El Salvador's border crossing I had to pretend I was in an old Humphrey Bogart movie. Black and white. The room where the paper work was being shuffled contained two very old broken down motorcycles and various pieces of dusty artifacts; engine parts, broken typewriters, chairs with three legs, mops, pails and what appeared to be something used for water-boarding. Who knows?

After a great sunrise ride from Guatamala, I got to the border bright and early, ready to take on anything a buracurate could throw at me. But, here's what I didn't understand. 1) They don't get paid by the person and performance or efficiency indicators have yet to be discovered here. So, dealing with one person is a lot easier than dealing with more than one person no matter how many people are waiting. Which is zero incentive to deal with more than one person. 2) The sigh. If you ever see a minor under paid El Salvador paper pusher sigh, just fall to your knees and pray he/she isn't looking at your documents. 3) Documents. I won't go too deep here, but this is an example. After verifying each and every number on each of at least six documents at least three times by at least three people they make you write, by hand with a pen you must find, each and every number of each document then cross check that the official numbers match the numbers you've just transcribed. Then, they enter the numbers you have handwritten into a computer, using one finger. One number, look at screen, look back at number, look back at screen. Repeat. Do the next number – sigh (oh please God) and proceed to the next number.

It took well over three hours. With less effort, a rusty '62 Volkswagon Beetle with no exhaust and a donut spare could drive through El Saladour in about the same length of time. But enough of that, I'm through; next time I'll gladly take the water-board.

Was it worth it? Yep.

The road started out Guatamalan rough, but slowly transformed into one of the best rides of the trip so far. Not a tope to be seen, then it morphs into twisty ocean side splender. Oh yeah, this is why I'm doing this, I'm here at last.

I'm staying at a hostel, first one I've been at since the early seventies (late sixties?). You can smell the pachouli oil and the gentle wiff of the herb. Some things just withstand the test of time. I have Peter Williams to thank for the suggestion, I never would have thought of it myself. Checked into a beach front room, sound of of the Pacific Ocean pounding on the shore, many surfers catching the waves. The rooms, each with a private bathroom, are clean and spacious. Hammocks on the huge front deck, bar downstairs. And, at $25usd, not that expensive. At the moment, life is good. Very good. I'll try to post some pictures, but my drive to capture all this on camera has fizzled.

But, for the record, this one I snapped with the iPad out my bedroom window.

Oh yeah, a nod to Mr. Red Green. I fixed my helmet that was blown off in the wind. From this …

To this. Magic!




6 comments so far

  1. mike fagan on

    Glad you’re in Guatamala,
    Cool ride!

    • islandbikers on

      Hey Mike! Glad you’re following. I do yoga on the bike, especially after a terrifying incident. Breath . . .

  2. Jocelyne Vernham on

    Nice looking beach. I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying your blog. Glad you made it safely out Mexico.

  3. Jimmy Sherry on

    Enjoying the blog Walter…us boys at Centennial AST check every day

    • islandbikers on

      That’s great Jimmy, the more eyes on me the better. Especially biker eyes!

  4. Wilkins, Debbie on

    Hi Walter!

    I got back from Cuba on Sunday at 5am 24 hrs no sleep. I was exhausted and felt sick. The next thing I know, I am sick and was in bed for 3 days on antibiotics. I haven’t eaten in 4 days. Hopefully some soup today. Needless to say, I’m just catching up to your adventures.

    I wish that you were not traveling alone that worries me a lot. But, you were the adventurous one I wish I had a bit of that. I love all the stories and I will keep reading and enjoying. Still not quit well enough to chat to long but please know that I’m thinking of you and god speed.

    Love you Sis

    Debbie Wilkins | Sr. Implementation Manager | Corporate Client Boarding | Treasury and Payment Solutions | First Canadian Place | T: 1-855-601-3935 |C: 416-454-5744 E: debbie.wilkins@bmo.com

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