El Salvador: New Year in El Zonte and camping at the firemen
With Harco the Velosophics group had a new member for about two weeks. But Lisa was missing! We had to find her again for New Year – and so we did in El Zonte, a friendly little village and surfing spot at the Costa del Balsamo.
The first night there was horrible. We stayed in a small half private house half Hospedaje. At four a clock in the morning a drunk couple, maybe also on drugs, came back and started beating against our room wall. When Hardy asked them to be quiet they came out shouting „What’s your problem, he?“ „My problem? Shut the fuck up! It’s 4 o’clock in the morning and we want to sleep!“ Hardy was just too upset being woke up in the middle of the night like this. It made this crazy monkey even more aggressive, he grabbed with his arms through the window, spit at us and tried to break into our room while yelling at us: “You wanna fuck with me – I kill you – open the door or I’ll kick it in!!!“. A rush of adrenalin through our bodies… When Aaron came out with his bear spray in his hands they were luckily disappeared into their room again. But still, they kept on beating the wall from time to time which kept us awake…
We directly changed the hotel next morning, which was the best decision anyway: We had a great New Year with the people in Costa Brava Hotel and stayed there for four days with Lisa.
Our days in El Zonte were all about swimming, eating, relaxing and enjoying the sunsets and sunrises at the sea… At New Years Eve something happened what unfotunately belongs to every day life in El Salvador: Two young and probably drunk boys drove with their car into a power pole. Electricity broke off for the whole night in the village, the fiesta at the beach as well as the fireworks were canceled… A sad moment in the community – but we still had a great start into the New Year. A yummy candle light dinner, singing and drinking rum in a nice group of Salvadorians and six other nationalities, a big bonfire on the beach and some of us even went for a night swim.
We left on the 2nd January, Lisa by bus, Harco with race bike speed, Aaron and us in our normal touring cycling habit. We wanted to meet again two days later in Nueva Esperanza, a small community in the middle of nowhere that the Costa Brava people highly recommended to visit. They directly told their friends there that we were coming…
While Harco and Lisa arrived that day, we stopped after 80km in Zacatecoluca and asked at the Bomberos to stay for a night. They were supernice, directly integrated us in their soccer match (that Hardy and Aaron gave up after 10 minutes while Lena had great fun playing with the firemen guys!) and let us camp safely in between the fire trucks… They even drove us to have dinner in town in the evening!
Leaving Guatemala – Entering El Salvador
It was time to leave Lago de Atitlan, we couldn’t wait to be on our bikes again. Too much sitting and eating, too big bellies…
Now we were a trio: We left San Pedro la Laguna together with Aaron in the early morning on a beautiful lancha (little boat) ride. On the way out of this mountanious region we had lots downhill cruising – what can be nicer than that??? We went back to camping as much as possible in these days and it felt great!
In the small town Brito we accidently met Harco, a Swiss cyclist we knew from earlier in San Pedro as well, again. We thought we could maybe meet in El Salvador for New Year but there he was! Unfortunately, Lena got ill that day. And down at the costal line the heat nearly melt us. So we made only short day stages after entering El Salvador.
El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and has the highest population density at the same time. It is also supposed to be one of the most dangerous places in Central America, but the tiny country surprised us with its superfriendly and helpful people from the very beginning. No more GRINGOOOO shoutings but nice greetings, often even in English: „Heyyy, where are you going?“ „Thank you for visiting our country!“ It seemed like every third Salvadorian tried to jump the fence at least once in his life, worked in the US, came back… and is proud to speak some words in American. Paul, a cyclist from Belgium who we met on the street cycling the opposite direction, said the same. He is already on the road for three years and nine months – impressive and enviable!
The second night in El Salvador we reached the Pacific Ocean, black Volcanoe sand and a wild sea. For us, it was the first time swimming in the Pacific – and we nearly forgot about how amazing a bath in the ocean is after a hot cycling day!