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El Salvador

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Before we could get down to serious in eating in Alegria, we had to get there. By bus, of course. Most of our bus trips in Central America have turned out to be quite similar – some are slightly nicer, others more gaudily painted – but one thing El Salvador seem particularly advanced in the development of their on-board sale force. I’m referring to the proliferation of men, women and children that rush the bus at each stop, squeezing their way up and down the aisles selling everything from corn on the cob to men’s razors (for a definitive list of everything we can recall being offered on a bus in the past month see Appendix I). Sometimes they ride a while, presumably catching a bus back the other direction eventually, and sometimes they just rush on, hurry back and forth, and dash off as the bus is pulling away.…

In central Guatemala City we suppressed a vague feeling of nostalgia as we slowly eliminated more comfortable bus alternatives (too early, too late, too much like a horse) and finally settled on a local chicken bus for our journey to the Salvadoran border. We were herded aboard a packed old Bluebird covered, as always, in bright colours, acres of chrome (the bus, not us) and dozens of stickers invoking God’s help and, as far as I can tell, passing unto Him all legal responsibility for the outcome of the trip. Bursting with people, produce and miscellaneous pandemonium (such as 8 hawkers in an aisle built for 2, or Colin Farrell at a high school track meet). Next stop, the Salvadoran border, where we were unceremoniously discharged a little less than 3 hours later. Thanks to the CA-4 agreement in place between Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua the borders have…

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