March 16-17, 2008
I avoided the roaming street gangs and got out of San Salvador as soon as I could figure out the local bus system. My destination was the Ruta de las Flores (Route of the flowers), which the employees at my hotel all enthusiastically recommended. Too bad they didn't tell me in advance that none of the flowers on the route were in bloom at the time.
It took several bus transfers to get to Juayua, the most exciting town in the region. A large food market was happening, with dozens of street vendors selling local Salvadoran fares. There was a lot of domestic tourism as the locals escaped the capital for the weekend, but not one foreign tourist was in sight. I did meet a couple of locals over a few beers, but they were regular working guys. No chance of hanging out during the day.
The other area attraction was Apaneca, the highest town in El Salvador at 1450 meters. The main thing to see there was (of course) the church, which was five hundred years old before an earthquake destroyed it in 2001. A replacement was being built, and by the looks of it, it might be complete in another five hundred years. The town drunks did a fair amount of preaching to me after taking a fountain bath, but everyone else was too busy going about their daily business to talk to me.
Even after one day of being in the area I started feeling lonely. I've always admired little towns in the highlands, but I never figured out how people could live there with so little to do. For some unknown reason, almost nobody visits El Salvador, and I started resenting the "divine intervention" that put me there. It would have been much better to take a few friends with me.
The photo album for this entry is here.