El Salvador is one of those places I recall from my childhood, but for all the “wrong” reasons. Newscasts in the 1980s equated the country with menacing jungles, death squads and guerrillas. Our recent conversations suggest that for many, El Salvador’s image as dangerous and gun-prone persists today.
So we wanted to see El Salvador for ourselves and perhaps dislodge some of those lingering perceptions. Our itinerary was simple: Perquin to better understand the civil war that plagued the country from 1980 to 1992; Santa Ana as a transit point; Juayua for its weekend food festival and coffee plantations; and Alegria for a look at life in the hills. Our focus: the people we would meet along the way.
If you’re itching to get to the photos:
Perquin, Santa Ana, Alegria, Suchitoto
Juayua and the Ruta de las Flores
And if you’d like to read more about El Salvador, keep going… Continue Reading »
Our timing was again impeccable.
Honduras, a country we had just visited, experiences a military coup and begins to melt down just days after we leave its borders. Nicaraguan newspapers go so as far as to headline “Blood Bath.” Nothing from our visit indicated how events would turn so suddenly. With the exception of a taxi driver in La Ceiba ranting about corruption across the political spectrum (a common taxi driver tirade the world over), politics didn’t figure much in our other conversations.
You’ve probably seen the images on TV, websites and newspapers of riot police, protesters and barricades in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ capital city. But if you’re curious as to what Honduras looks like without a coup, we share photos from our recent visit to the Ruta Lenca, the Mayan ruins at Copan and the bay island of Utila. Continue Reading »
The weight of my backpack at 5:00 AM was brutal: 9 liters of water, 1 sleeping bag, and sundry other camping bits and bobs. And I was one of the lucky ones. Dan carried all that plus an old school (read: heavy) four-person tent.
Even at this hour, it was steamy. Under the weight of my pack, I was glazed in sweat before we reached the crossroads for the chicken bus to the trail head. I looked around at the young, energetic faces – mostly in their early 20s – and wondered, “Am I too old to be doing this?” Continue Reading »
Ah, the local barber. A ritual, a comfort of home.
Not so for me. Every haircut is a new adventure: a different country, a new language and yet another man with scissors (or God forbid, clippers) who has his own ideas about style.
During a recent ear-lowering interlude in Leon, Nicaragua (see our 360-degree panorama photo below), it struck me that barber shops are less about haircuts and more about history and culture. Continue Reading »
Over 900 days on the road, and I’m still not immune to the phenomenon of culture shock. Continue Reading »
She is nine years old.
She lives in El Salvador.
She sells sugar wafer cookies on buses leaving the market in Santa Ana. Continue Reading »
Guatemala surprises with its variety and delivers a diversity of humanity and landscape that belies its size. Continue Reading »
Descendants of shipwrecked slaves from Nigeria; Jerry Garcia’s rumored Caribbean seaside bungalow hideout; warrior dances (see video below) and turtle shell drums; echoes of an accented
pigeon pidgin English that smacks of Jamaica; and a remarkable coconut seafood soup called tapado.
This is Livingston, home of the Garifuna. This is the other side of Guatemala.
Continue Reading »
“Hola, Gringos!” a little Honduran girl calls out to us from the garden of the coffee plantation-cum-guest house on the edge of Gracias, Honduras where we awoke Saturday morning.
“Hola, ninos!” we offer in response.
Giggles all around. Little do we know what a prescient greeting it is. Continue Reading »
What do we do when we’re not chasing chicken buses from one town to the next? Here’s a hint.
Continue Reading »