Antigua Guatemala was really great. The hostal I stayed at for a week happened to be Salsa Central, where four different dance instructors gave group and private lessons. As a result I made dozens of friends, listened to great music, and really felt at home. Friday night I took my Guiro to Las Palmas and talked the owner and band into letting me play with them, and it was great fun. There were a few extended songs of over 15 minutes that really pushed me to the limit, then after the band stopped I got to dance a few songs with some beautiful ladies I had met. There were actually more friends there than if I had gone out to a club in my home town of Tucson Arizona.
Sunday I took a shuttle to Guatemala City where I got a “first class” bus to San Salvador. I met a Canadian couple, Eric and Heather, at the bus station and it turned out we were headed to the same hostal( #1 on hostelworld.com) . The ride to El Salvador was very short and smooth, and when we got to the border there was no immigration post per se, just some military guys who checked our luggage and passports and asked alot of questions. The ride to San Salvador was pleasant and when we arrived a local lady overheard me ask about taxis and made a call to a Christian Taxi service for us. Eric and Heather and I shared a taxi to the hostal and then shared dorm room as well. The Hostal Cumbres del Volcan is one of the cleanest and most civilized I’d seen, and only $8 a night. The downside was that it was in a residential area and there wasn’t any place even to buy a soda within five blocks. I didn’t bother taking any photos because it was just an urban center that could have been anywhere on the planet. I spent Monday promoting my music show at a number of five-star hotels and restaurants, I have a solo act as Luis Sabor, singing and playing guitar. I didn’t expect any response right away, so I left for Santa Ana, which is actually back North a couple of hours. This is a town more to my liking and I found a great Hostal Casa Verde just blocks from the center of town.
This is really an awesome hostel, just look at the view from the rooftop terrace here. It has free internet I’m using at the moment, clean everything, and one of the best kitchens you could imagine. The owner Carlos is very friendly and helpful, has designed this place in a very intelligent manner. When he found out what I was doing he immediately called up a nearby cafe and I played there Wednesday night, and I’m going to play there again Friday. The interesting contrast I am seeing between Guatemala and El Salvador is that in Guatemala, Xela and Antigua at least, the rooms were really cheap but it was a challenge finding a cheap meal. Here its in reverse: rooms are twice as much ($9!) but cheap food is everywhere. It will be easy to keep below my daily budget of $20 here, so maybe I can make up for my expenses in Mexico.
The weather is really my style, WARM, but with a constant breeze. As long as you stay in the shade its very comfortable. No need to use a towel after a shower, and of course there are no blankets, just thick sheets. The hostal here is just blocks from the market, but the whole center of town is just one big bustling entrepreneurial zone. Just about anything is offered in any of dozens of shops of various sizes, including folks with just a basket or cart. Tomorrow I plan to make a video of a walk through the market which should be very entertaining. One thing different about El Salvador markets from other places I’ve seen is the abundance of pharmacy outlets everywhere, sometimes right next to a food stall in the market. Perhaps there are no licenses required to sell pharmaceuticals because I’ve even seen guys selling packaged medicine on the sidewalk.
In all, Santa Ana seems to be a very pleasant place just to kick back for a few days, which is just what I plan to do.