Monday, May 31, 2010

Ahuachapan, El Salvador (Day 8)

The news was fairly grim today in Guatemala as flooding, mudslides & roadside avalanches were reported all over the country this past weekend. Although my Spanish is extremely lame I was able to catch the gist of things on the TV news and so discovered that damage wasn`t limited to the poor village of Los Esclavos but was even worse in areas near Lake Atitlan. I am told that up to 80 people were killed nationwide but I haven`t confirmed that from news sources.

This morning I caught a ride south toward El Salvador with some water engineers who were on their way to a town about halfway to the border on business. The older of the two spoke some English and he was the one who told me of the fatalities. I don`t usually hitchhike in Latin America but I have experience at it in Europe and Southeast Asia. These guys were leaving at the same time I was from the hotel. Hitching can be a good way to get around if you`re friendly but cautious.

The Guatemala-El Salvador frontier is one of the easier ones in the region because by treaty the Guatemala 90 immigration stamp is also good for El Salvador, Honduras & Nicaragua. A couple of short bus rides late this morning and I was quickly over the border and at my destination, Ahuachapan. The cheap hotel I was looking for has gone out of business--oh well! But I found another place, just a little more expensive, that will do just fine.

El Salvador has dollarized its economy--greenbacks are the legal tender here which is good since I have some cash dollars and am uncertain still about my ability to get cash from my account at home. One of my first chores here today is to check the ATMs.

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