By now you most likely know this but I’ll start with a quick update on the fallout from the presidential election in Bolivia.
Striking and riots continued after our notorious night time escape a few weeks ago.
On Saturday the police stood in unison with the people of Bolivia. After, Morales, the president said he was up for another election. Sunday morning the military stood with the people of Bolivia. By Sunday afternoon the military and police suggested Morales step down and he did – running to Mexico for safety. Now what?Onwards….We flew from Managua, Nicaragua to San Salvador, El Salvador. Unfortunately it’s known as the most dangerous country in Central America due to crime.
I say it’s the most dangerous because there are 6 active volcanoes (17 inactive) and earthquakes are commonplace. Witnessed by us as our hotel swayed in the 5.1 quake on day two, the aftershock that shook the pool deck and the 5.9 quake the next day that lasted longer than the day before. Yieks!!!El Salvador has suffered severely. The civil war was from 1980 to 1992 and it’s only now slowly turning around. A new president was elected in June and citizens seem happy. Gang violence, drug trafficking and crime is the current battle.
Despite the negative, this place has me bewitched. The people couldn’t be nicer and it’s absolutely beautiful. We toured the city center of San Salvador (Sivar) where the El Centro market expands 20 blocks. Everything from undies to Christmas decorations can be found here.The Cathedral – rebuilt for a third time in 2001 – a victim of multiple earthquakes. Hopefully someone got a clue this time around and built it to earthquake standards.The fascinating pressed metal Basilica Sagrado Corazon Church had multi cultural beginnings. Around 1901 some of the 14 rich families that once financially ruled El Salvador decided that since they were doing so much exporting of goods they needed to import items as well. Case in point – “Let’s order us up a church and hospital. We’ll have Belgium manufacture the pressed metal walls. Indonesia can make the wooden supports. Italy can supply the tile floors and let’s get the windows from Spain.” I’m sure it went something like that…..
It was erected first in Belgium (to make sure all the parts fit), dismantled and then put on multiple ships for delivery. The church parts made it to San Salvador but one of the ships carrying parts for the hospital accidentally delivered them to San Salvador, Brazil. Whoops!
Completed in 1913; the metal walls looks like an exquisitely designed stone building and the ceiling looks like the hull of a ship.Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105. Welcome the El Rosario Church. Inconspicuous on the outside, this concrete building is filled with God’s light on the inside. Free of structural pillars – this beauty literally shines.Off to the countryside where jungle greenery surrounds hilly roads. We headed to the small colonial town of Panchimalco. A stop in Planes de Rendero for pupusas, gave us expansive views and a glimpse of Lago de Coatepeque.My favorite place was the adorable town of Suchitoto on the Ruta Azul in the state of Cuscatlan.There we stopped at:
Film maker Alejandro Cotto‘s hacienda which he donated to the community after his death.And – Casa 1800 for views of Suchitlán Lake which is currently covered in a bed of lilies (an annual event). The limonadas were delicious.Suchitoto was so captivating. Tranquilo with colorful, terra-cotta roofed homes and cobblestone streets. Lavish, lush, with dense vistas, charm and preserved structures make this a popular destination.One wouldn’t know this peaceful community was a hot spot in the war where the people suffered the worst atrocities.Trans-Americas Journey’s blog discusses Suchitoto and the war – click here to read.
Women have been greatly persecuted here and solidarity stamps supporting women’s rights are found on walls outside of homes saying women will no longer be victimized.Next time we’re staying here, overnight, to linger.
Oh yeah and cruise the Ruta de Las Flores.It’s Christmas in El Salvador.
We normally don’t do this but with all the negative press about El Salvador we hired EC Tours to drive us around and teach us about their country. They’re the best and we highly recommended them.
Some fun little tidbits:
We’re used to being called gringos in Mexico but in El Salvador’s we are Chelitos. White skinned.
A cora is a quarter. When El Salvador adopted the US dollar as their currency the locals had a hard time saying quarter so they said cora.
Chivo means goat. However they say – Que chivo for how cool.
We saw a Ferris Wheel in the distance and when we pointed to it and said “Hey, there’s a Ferris Wheel.” Our guide Estefany said “That’s a Chicago.” So for those of you who don’t know the Ferris Wheel was built for the World’s Fair in Chicago.
Life is good!!!