I gratefully ate a roasted chicken dinner at a comedor just steps away from the Honduran/El Salvadoran border. I took a bus to Santa Rosa de Lima, then another to San Salvador. To my surprise the bus was air-conditioned and by the time I got to San Salvador I was freezing and dehydrated and extremely grateful to arrive at JoAn’s Hostal. The owner Ana gave me time to clean up, then took me and two other guests to share a great pizza dinner. Wow, what a great host! But thats not all. As we were talking about Casa Verde Hostal in Santa Ana, and how Ana had talked to the owner Carlos often but had never been to the place, the next day she offered to drive me an hour to Casa Verde herself! Such a beautiful lady.
It was great to eat El Salvadoran Pupusas, something like a meat&cheese&bean filled tortilla. Delicious and cheap. It took Ana and I a while to find the Casa Verde but although Carlos was at the lake entertaining some guests (El Salvadoran hostal owners are awesome hosts!) we got to see the new addition to Casa Verde, which is simply fabulous, incredible, awesome and puts this hostel miles ahead of most of the other hostels I’ve experienced.
I enjoyed walking around the Santa Ana market in search of groceries to cook in the brand new kitchen, which has just as many utensils and appliances as the old one, which was already the most awesome kitchen I’d seen. I made an effort to take photos of people, and some of them actually asked to have their photo taken. I find El Salvadoran people to be quite friendly and helpful.
After a couple of beautiful days swimming in the very cold pool and exercising Qi Gong on the terrace overlooking the city and cooking my own food, I was ready to move on t0 Guatemala. I tried to find a route avoiding Antigua, or what I like to call “Gringotenango”, but it really has a good location, so I went on back to Hostal Pasar de los Años and actually enjoyed myself for the one night and partial day I was there. The morning I left I went to a favorite restaurant for breakfast, and there was the same family sitting at their favorite table that I had met back in October. We chatted a while and I enjoyed a good breakfast before a long day on the road.
From Antigua I took a bus to Escuintla, where it was quite warm, but I decided not to take the route through Xela that I took in October because I wanted to enjoy the heat as long as I could. I was let off on a sidewalk in Escuintla and proceeded to ask everyone I could where to find a bus to Retalhuleu. Five blocks later I was on another sidewalk and a pullman bus pulled up quickly and we stuffed my backpack and guitar below as the driver was already driving off. As I squeezed on I realized there was standing room only, and I spent most of the trip sitting or standing right there by the driver.
At Retalhuleu I found a decent Hotel, walked several blocks looking for a restaurant in vain, then ate some street tacos by the plaza. The next morning I ate a fresh pan dulce with juice before standing around almost an hour waiting for the bus to the Mexican border.