Day 201 - San Salvador, EL SALVADOR
The first question we asked ourselves upon arriving in El Salvador´s capital, the uniquely named San Salvador, was one we didn´t expect. "Are we in America?" Kari asked as we stood at an intersection that featured a Wendy's, Burger King, Blockbuster Video and Texaco gas station. Even the countries currency is the US Dollar, including quarters and pennies, and the public transportation relies heavily on those hand-me-down yellow and orange American school buses made by Bluebird. (Which, incidentally, are made in Canada. How far South will these yellow buses go?)
The question that we thought we'd be asking on arrival was "Are we safe?" - which is a completely valid question when you cosider that El Salvador has a strong reputation as the most dangerous place in Central America. And there is no doubt evidence of that danger here. Our bus from the Honduran border was stopped at four police checkpoints (more than Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua combined), most places in the city are surrounded by that war-zone looking barbwire fence and even, get this, mall security guards carry shotguns.
Of course, we are in the capital where everything is magnified and where these two questions can be asked simultaneously on any street corner in the city. But as I sit down to my second Wendy's Frosty since Christmas, I have to be honest with you, I'm not that fussed about answering either of them.