I`m very happy to be in El Salvador. I`ve stopped in a small village called La Palma near the ES/Honduras boarder. The town is famous for the distinctive 'naive'art that was first produced by an man named... erm... in the year... ahem... I really should find the facts out and fill you in! I read about it but can`t remember! Anyway ever since, the residents of this town have been reproducing his original images and there`s not a patch of town that isn`t decorated with this unique style. It`s incredibly pretty. It`s a sweet little place with friendly locals surrounded by lush green mountains. What with all the artwork on display and the abundance of artesania I would have expected the place to be more touristy but I feel like the only foreigner here. It`s also the nearest town to the highest point in El Salvador where the views are apparently lovely... yet there`s no one here selling tours. I`ve become so accustomed to being greeted off the bus by hoards of hotel, bus or taxi touts... I arrived yesterday and had to ask a man sat on the side of the road watching the world pass by where the nearest hotel was! I guess El Salvador is off the standard backpacker trail. Suits me fine! As a result though hotel prices are slightly steeper I guess cos they don`t get so much business. Having said that room was still only about a fiver which is what I was paying for a bed in a s***ty dorm in Mexico. Here I get my own giant room with 3 beds, dining table, fridge, cable tv, private bathroom, my own porch with rocking chair and hammock AND a swimming pool... albeit murky! So it`s more than worth it. A good grasp of spanish is also more necessary here... mine`s still a bit shaky but it`s good enough. I`m being hissed at less although I have been asked why I don`t have a husband or children yet... by a 24 year old man holding his toddler!
I already have a better feeling about El Salvador than I did about Honduras. I saw some pretty places there and had some fun with Carmen and Claire but I wouldn`t rave about the country... not the developed parts at least. I`m sure the wild moskitia area is amazing. It`s richer economically than Guatemala but far poorer culturally, people aren`t so friendly and the machismo seems worse. I wouldn`t have stayed so long if it weren`t for the fact that I wanted to spend time with Carmen... and I found a doctor who took my ongoing sickness seriously and ran a serious of thorough tests that I hadn`t yet had. He found a specific type of amoeba still in my tummy despite 4 lots of treatment! Worse than that he found eggs of a parasite that I`ve obviously been harbouring for the last 2 months. This has been the main source of my discomfort. I`m lucky he caught it cause they can burrow through your stomach and into lungs causing respiratory problems. So I am now on my 5th course of amoeba treatment, my 3rd course of antibiotics and I also have to take a really foul tasting medicine for the parasite... but the up side is the pain in my stomach as gone, I can now sleep and eat and I feel sooooooo much better! He wanted me to stay until Tuesday for another check up but I would have gone mad if I spent another day in La Ceiba. I couldn`t go to the beach because of the sleazy men. I didn`t feel comfortable walking around town on my own because of the hisses and constant comments... and it wasn't safe to go out after dark so I was holed up in my hotel room most of the time... I had just had enough of Honduras! My doc has given me all my medical notes in case I need to see another doc but I feel confident I won`t need to. So all in all it worked out for the best but I`m glad to be on the move again.
I went yesterday to a pretty old colonial mountain town called Gracias. I wanted to visit one nice place so that I left with a good impression of Honduras... but unfortunately it wasn`t to be. While the town was pretty it wasn`t all it was hyped up to be. The owner of my hotel was so grumpy and I had to haggle her down for my room which I hate doing but it was grossly overpriced. I could see from the way she looked at me she was trying it on... so I wandered around town and looked at some pretty old churches. But I decided I needed to cut my losses and accept that Honduras wasn`t really my cup of tea! I got up early the next day and made my way to El Salvador. I`m always amazed each time I make my way to a new country how vastly the atmosphere can change the moment you cross the boarder. I had that feeling when I arrived here yesterday. It was a nice relief. So I`m off tomorrow to another little artsy town called Suchitoto.
So now I`m off to do something I`ve not yet done... shop for some artesania! I haven`t bought anything typical of the places I`ve been yet because it`s expensive to send things home and i can`t lug stuff around til Feb next year... but I really like the art work here so I might just get something small. I had a wander around this morning and took some photos. I might take a few more. I had to stop because just as i was about to snap a particularly pretty mural I stepped in the biggest pile of dog s***e I think I`ve ever seen! Luckily I was wearing my big walking boots and not my flip flops! They`re now currently in quarantine on my front porch! Maybe I`ll leave them out upside down in this afternoon`s downpour as I fear the poky stick approach to getting poop out of boot tread might just bring my nausea back with a bang!
So, until soon my lovelies.
Besos y abrazos xoxox