I didn’t need a reminder that I am thirty-nine years old, but spending the previous day on buses gave me one anyways. I woke up, and my hips were sore, my back was sore. My head and stomach were sore from midnight hotdogs and aquardiente. I was mentally and physically drained. I did some half-assed yoga to try and get my body going, and got out the door at 10am. I found a market with cans of Diet Coke and bought two. I’m a coffee drinker, and addicted to soda, but I haven’t had much of either in the last eight weeks. Most of my hotels, if they had coffee at all, served Nescafe with heaps of sugar, and it was difficult to find diet soda. I don’t know if it was the caffiene, or the carbonated beverage, but it woke me up and lifted my mood.
The plan was to be in Santa Rosa de Copan, Hondurans by 7pm. I would leave Juayua, El Salvador at 9am for Santa Ana, arriving at 10am to catch a 10:30am connection to Metapan, arriving at 11:45am for a noon connection to El Poy at the border, arriving at 3pm. From El Poy, after exiting El Salvador and entering Honduras, a process I hoped wouldn’t take more than an hour, I would take a collectivo taxi to Ocotepeque, twenty minutes away. In Ocotepeque, I hoped to catch a 5pm bus to Santa Rosa, a two hour trip.
The 6:30am bus from El Tunco to Sonsonate, where I would connect for Juayua (Why-OOH-ah) was the first time I was separated from my bag. The ayudante took it from me as I boarded through the rear emergency exit and placed it behind the last row of seats. I took a seat several rows up in the opposite row and spent the next hour straining my neck turning around as people boarded and exited through the same door. Men were going to work, machetes slung over their shoulders, sheathed or wrapped in paper. Children in uniform were on their way to school. Women tranported large tubs of things to sell.
It was like riding the subway. Continue reading Juayua, El Salvador
Yesterday, (Monday, May 12)the fiftieth day of my trip, halfway home, a trip the purpose of which was to rapidly dislocate myself from the comfort of home, a place I know, to someplace faraway, foreign, unfamiliar, and make my way slowly back, was appropriately spent in four buses and two taxis for twelve hours getting from one place to another.
Fifty days ago I landed at 9pm in San Jose, Costa Rica. Fifty days from now I should be pulling into Penn Station on Amtrak sometime in the evening.
Suchitoto was boring. It was a nice enough colonial town that apparently came to life on weekends with art galleries, a place that San Salvadorans escaped to from the heat and madness of the city. But I was there on a Monday, and it was dead. It felt like a smaller Granada without all the tourists.
It was hard getting out of bed at 5am again. My room shared a bathroom, one of those that had a door accessing it from each room, with a four bed dorm, occupied by two Argentine couples, who returned late from partying. I’m not sure if they realized that someone was sleeping on the other side of the door, or if they did and just didn’t care. Probably just didn’t care, as there are signs on both doors in English and Spanish reminding you to unlock the door for your neighbors. I went to the bathroom around 3am, and saw that they had used the entire roll and a half of toilet paper that had been in the bathroom at 9pm. To do what, I’m not sure. You aren’t supposed to throw used toilet paper in the toilet in Central America. There are signs telling you to throw it in the bin so the bin was piled high with wasted paper. Without digging around, either someone had been bleeding, or more likely, it had be used to apply makeup. I carry a small supply of my own TP so I was okay. I noticed one of them had left an Iphone plugged into a wall socket, balanced on the edge of the sink. In a petty gesture, I loosened the plug so it stopped charging. I also left their bathroom door locked from the inside. I stand by my actions.
The 3.5 hour bus ride between Jinotega and Esteli was even more beautiful than the one between Matagalpa and Jinotega. Ranchlands, distant mountains, stone fences running in lines up and down. I contemplated the time and effort it must have taken to make those fences, gathering, transporting and placing each rock. Continue reading Esteli, Nicaragua
I operate mostly by feel when I travel. I can usually tell of a place within about an hour of walking around if it is going to be someplace I want to stay, and I could tell within an hour that I wasn’t going to be long for Jinotega. Continue reading Jinotega, Nicaragua
I woke up my first morning at the El Castillo hotel in Matagalpa to no running water. The hotel apologized, said the water came and went, that it was a Matagalpa issue, pointing to the 50 gallon barrel of purified water they kept on hand, and handed me a bucket of water. So it was back to douse and scrub. Continue reading Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Leon was what I needed to wash the taste of Granada from my mouth. Continue reading Leon, Nicaragua