March 02, 2010

Salvador



I always wake up early, 6:30 or so, after being an 8:15 to 4:30er for so many years, I can't sleep in any more.  Sixish would also be sunrise around here.  The problem with that is, on the road the sun is directly in my eyes until about 10, so I have to delay my departure, because it is very difficult to see between the very bright sun and very dark shadows hiding all manner of road hazards

This AM I am in San Salvador, el Capital of El Salvador.  San Salvador is for all intents and purposes a US city located in the tropics, where everybody speaks Spanish, if that makes any sense.  It is a city dominated by cars and buses.  There are few pedestrians, on my evening stroll the only other walkers are people walking their dogs.  Rush hours are as bad as any large city, another good reason for a late start.

It is also very American in that everything seems to work properly, (plumbing, electrical, my cell phone).

This time I score big playing hotel roulette, and have a very nice room for 70 US bux.  No worries about the bike either!  If you look closely you will see the security guard is carrying some form of sawed shot gun.

These shotgun guards are everywhere in Guatemala and El Salvador, they are security for private businesses, and they are in every franchise type establishment, drugstores, grocery stores, etc..  They also guard gated residential complexes.  They definitely get more respect than our mall cops, or is it just the natural politeness of Centro Americans? (Also true.)

I am sure it is just for show, as I see no evidence of any danger that would warrant this kind of response, but what do I know?  I do know that I can go for a walk after dark anywhere I have been in Mexico, Guatemala, or Salvador and return safely without having any bad experiences.  I see fewer  bums, panhandlers, gangbangers, drug dealers, streetwalkers, or homeless than any city I have been in Canada or the US.  And way fewer than my own neighborhood in Edmonton, Santa Rosa.

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