Day 16 - early start as we were moving on today and it was going to be our biggest travel day of the trip - 13hrs.
It was a hot night for sleeping and most woke to being very itchy with lots of bites on the feet and legs. Some more than others - Jereon being from the Netherlands, not use to it at all, had scratched them so much he had big wounds which in the end turned into big scabs - he desperately wanted them gone, so he scratched them out ... I know this feeling but that never a good idea!! Banana peel is still the best remedy to getting rid of the itch and the bump!
So on that note most were happy to say goodbye to Poneloya, the bags went on the cart and we walked the first leg to our little boat to get us back to the mainland and onto the bus.
A couple of hours on the bus took us to the next boat which was going to take us via the Pacific to El Salvadore.
Another exit fee was paid at the boarder and another stamp to exit Nicaragua added to the passport. Again the process was very slow but it did give us a chance to stretch the legs and use the local toilet (the bush and a tissue, or just shake and pull the pants up lol).
Fernado had pre warned us that we may get a bit wet on this boat trip so it was a good idea to wear light clothes and not have any phones or cameras etc on us and as we walked up to the boat we realized why. It was just a basic boat - just bench seats and a cover and that's it, like a large tinny but with a canvas roof. Looking at the water it was looking a little choppy and I new we were going to get wet at some point. It was a two and half hour trip and it started off pretty good and we weren't getting wet but then when we had to head towards land that was it!! Everyone got drenched and it was hilarious!! The boat driver was loving it too!! We were all laughing so much and wiping our faces from all the water. Definitely made the trip memorable!!
Eventually we got off the boat, wet and dripping and we were in El Salvadore. Hopped on another bus which was going to take us to our next stop but that was still about 6 hours drive away. In the meantime though we dropped off our passports to immigration and then went and had lunch while they were being processed.
We had some takeaway food for lunch from Campero Pollo (Nandos / KFC) and then we went back and got our passports.
It was interesting entering El Salvador firstly because the immigration office was a little bit away from where the boat came in and honestly if you were traveling on your own there is no way you would find it, secondly only Australians and Canadians had to pay an entry fee whereas all the others from Europe etc didn't have to pay and thirdly they didn't check that the photo matched the person which was a little odd but I am guessing it's not a problem as they generally don't have people wanting to come to El Salvador, they are more likely trying to leave.
Our last long leg of traveling began and most people just chilled on the bus either listening to music, sleeping or just having small talk.
Going through San Salvador - the capital of El Salvador, was an eye opener especially when Fernado had just told us a few facts about it and El Salvador as a whole. El Salvador is a pretty dangerous country in the sense that it is very corrupt and is controlled by gangs. Obviously drugs is the main reason for these gangs. The average number of homicides a day is something like 52 - scary. The roads are busy and you see lots of crazy people on motorbikes and lots of utes / trucks that have heaps of people packed into the back of them either standing or sitting including very young children.
I think the other really confronting thing about El Salvador is the security - everywhere you see - every shop, every service station, every restaurant no matter how big or small they are have security guards standing out the front with big guns, and i am not talking a little shot gun, I am talking big rifles and machine guns. Its obviously mainly due to the amount of robberies that occur and also the gang related demands.
Lucky for us we were heading for the more touristy parts of the country were it is generally safer and we only had to worry about pick pocketer's.
Hours and hours later we got to a little artsy town called Suchitoto. We arrived fairly late so the plan was to just get something to eat and then call it a night and that was exactly what we did.