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San Salvador - El Salvador

Written on: Tuesday September 8th, 2009

A journal entry from: Cycle Mexico - Panama

August 25th - 28th

Initially we wanted to catch a bus to the southernmost border town between Guatemala and El Salvador and begin cycling from there, but becuase of some mis-information we ended up at the wrong bus station. The bus only went to San Salvador, and not through the border town we wanted. We had the option to either stay another night, or jump on the bus to San Salvador. Since we didn´t want to go all the way back to the hotel with our bikes and go through the same procedure the next day we decided to jump on the bus, and then start cycling from San Salvador.

So now we are here, in the capital of El Salvador trying to sort some things out and write our blog before we leave. We will leave in a day or two, but won´t have much time or energy for sightseeing :-)

We managed to find a nice colonial style hotel for a good price, in a reasonably quiet area. However not much else about San Salvador is appealing. The journey to get out of the city was very difficult. El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America but has the highest poulation density. This is immediately apparent in San Salvador. It was impossible to cycle as the streets were so busy with big buses pouring out black smoke, and people and market stalls everywhere. It took quite a while to walk out of the centre of the city, but even then cycling seemed very dangerous. The narrow road was full of traffic moving very quickly, and with no regard for anything else, especially cyclists! It took us half a day just to get out of the suburbs and we thought that cycling in El Salvador may be too dangerous. We also felt like we could hardly breathe, surely the equivilant of several packs of cigarettes. Apparently there is no emission control. The people who work at the street side stalls must surely be terribly affected.

The recent history of the country is interesting but very tragic. During the 1970s tensions increased in the country due to poverty, unemployment and overpopulation. There were many coups and elections during this time, electoral frauds and the creation of right wing "death squads", responding to increased guerilla activity.  Thousands of Salvadoreans were kidnapped, tortured and killed. The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN, a revolutionary army composed of 5 guerilla groups) and the military government fought a 12-year civil war between 1980 and 1992 in which 75,000 people died. During the civil war the USA (with Reagan as president) supplied the right wing military with a total of 6 billion dollars, afraid of a socialist victory in Central America.

The guerillas made the transition into mainstream politics in 1992 and became the opposition party to the governing conservatives. In March of this year El Salvador elected a former marxist guerilla as president, Mauricio Funes, leader of the FMLN.




From uncle peter on Aug 30th, 2009

hope to see you soon. will email or sms.

From Granny and Grandpa on Sep 1st, 2009

Andrew and Yasmin We have enjoyed reading your 'bloggs'. You have seen and done so much. Much love Granny and Grandpa

From Jean on Sep 1st, 2009

We were at Bandol last weekend and showed G&G the printed version of the blogg which they were fascinated with hence the above comment! Hope you manage to meet up with Pete. Good luck on your next biking days. Much love for you both.

From Dad on Sep 1st, 2009

Very interested to read of your visit to Santa Poco and the audience with El Guapo (I write in code of course).Im off to the Alps for some training before we meet up in Chile - Dad

From Susanna on Sep 6th, 2009

I have now caught up with reading your entries:-) you seem to be having such a great adventure! I am green with envy. But it's not like life here in Flogsta is not...good. Take care and i look forward to your next entry!

From Andy & Yasmin on Sep 8th, 2009

Thanks Granny and Grandpa. Very pleased that you can follow us. Hope you are both well. Love Andy and Yasmin

From Andy on Sep 8th, 2009

Yes, I was impressed with his plethora of sweaters. Sometimes you need them in the hills of El Poco.

From Andy & Yasmin on Sep 8th, 2009

Hi Susanna, great to hear from you! Did the Germans treat you well? Looking forward to hearing all about it. Meanwhile, say hello to Uppsala from us.