We wake in the cliffside restaurant, a fortuitous find last evening. The restaurant owner lived in Massachusetts from the age of 7 until he moved back to El Salvador as an adult. He is a bit of an adventurer as well. While we ate breakfast he recounted tales from the time he rode on top of a train from El Salvador to the USA, just because he wanted to experience it. When he slept he had to secure himself to the train by wrapping his belt around a railing. He wasn’t alone, there were lots of other people riding north. Sometimes gangs would get on top of the train too and require people to pay. If someone didn’t have sufficient funds they’d get thrown off the moving train. When he ran out of food he had to rely on the kindness of strangers to throw him something as the train went by. The journey took 9 days, and afterwards he returned to El Salvador by bus. He says he still thinks about those days on the train and how they were both terrible and beautiful at the same time. An experience of a lifetime. In some ways, like bike touring. The best and worst all rolled up into something incredible.
The coastline of El Salvador is beautiful, we feel it’s a shame if we don’t actually stop at some of the beaches. Within the first 10 miles we stop at Playa El Tunco and the malecon at La Libertad. They’re nice, but we don’t see ourselves hanging out on a beach in this heat. It’s miserably hot even in the shade. We ride on, hoping that we can bike out of this weather, knowing deep down that it’s going to be uncomfortably hot no matter where we go. According to what we’ve read, we’ll be in this oven clear through Nicaragua.
An upside to the heat is we have to stop frequently for things like roadside coconut and pineapple stands. Here I am with a coconut, sporting my new “Guat’s Up” shirt. Scott said I couldn’t wear it in Guatemala because it was like wearing the band’s t-shirt to their concert. I think he was trying to delay me from wearing it, because he hates this shirt. He thinks it’s obnoxious. I think it’s hilarious. Guat’s Up everyone!
We’ve also discovered the El Salvador pupusa. It’s our new favorite lunch. A pupusa is kinda like a quesadilla. They’re made with corn tortillas and filled with a combination of beans, cheese and sometimes meat. The edges of the two tortillas are pressed together so the goodness stays inside. It’s served with a fermented cabbage salad and thin tomato-based sauce. They’re deliciously filling and a plate costs about $1.25. One thing they are not though, is photogenic. They look like a burned pancake, made soggy by the sauce, topped with what looks like rotten cabbage.