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El Salvador and Honduras


We arrive in El Salvador through the southern border the day after the failed bandits attack. This country is crowded. Six million people packed like sardines and no way to find a quiet camping area most of the time. The landscapes are less beautiful than in Guatemala, dirt and crushed dogs scattered on the road, and of course, vultures.



Our first night hasn’t been relaxing. In the middle of a chess game, lost in the fields away from curious eyes, we see four silhouettes approaching in the dusk. Alex decides to meet them and realizes that our visitors have guns. I joined and two other men bypass us on the right, two on the left, it stinks. 24 hours after escaping an attack, this time, we can’t escape. They begin to ask us who we are, what we do here, until everyone has surrounded us. They talk a lot for bandits, and they do not have hoods. It’s night now, and they want us to follow them. We can not really refuse and we end up in a farm. Reassured about their intentions, we understand that we have to deal with a team of farmers who fear that we were theft trying to kill and steal their cattle. Our food is sometimes is bit raw, but we still like to shop at the butcher. And we never found restaurant serving those nice iguanas ($ 20 each on the road):


We will finally end in a hammock for the night and get some insights of life in El Salvador. They earn $ 7 a day, which is apparently a good job, even if you have to work up to 15 hours, day and night to guard the cattle. Many dream of the passage to the United States, costing up to $ 8,000. One of our guests there lived 21 years illegally and eventually get kicked off for some reason. His only goal is to save enough to go back, even if he often goes to the brothel that he recommends us a lot. They apparently do an admirable job for $ 5. His boss helps immigrants to pass to US, his network is well put together : he leads migrants to Mexico and his brother is then responsible to avoid the mexican roadblocks. Good luck to you guys! We met many US deported from Mexico and all want to return there.

Now, we will avoid wild camping in El Salvador and thus spend two nights in two very different families.

The first, educated and open welcomes us behind his huge metal gate and barbed wire. They offer us the shower, a much richer food than what we were used to in Central America, and the presence of an adorable kid who kept chirping, even if we didn’t understand a word. They do not seem very rich, the house is very basic and both parents have basic jobs. But their brains operate at full capacity and they do not want just to survive. What we eat is often indicative of the local mentality. Both parents left the next morning to work and the child was allowed to skip school to enjoy the morning with the two french guys, probably more rewarding for him that the Salvadoran school system. A family without much money but certainly not without ideas.


The night before crossing the border of Honduras, we lived a very different experience, both tiring and funny. At dusk, we ask hospitality in a farm that indicates us a place to set up the tents. The very first formal talk quickly turns to religion on their initiative, a subject that seems to be important for them. The previous family lived on the ground of a church but the subject had not been addressed.
We are not believers but have nothing against it. First shock, then, to the announcement of our atheism. Tolerance, humor, nothing calm them and we are bombarded with questions. The old lady is the most virulent while others scoff about: “ but you believe in hell anyway?” “And what will you say to God when he will present the bill?” I don’t know, “ enchanted, delighted that you exist, that is good news ” and a lot of “why” questions. But no matter whether one is a believer or not if we act in a good way, right? “No” .
I read the Bible, I began the Koran, so without being an expert, I know a bit about the subject. I am willing to be polite, but there was a time when I can not help but respond roughly, even if I need to find another camping area at night. So far the believers that I know preached tolerance so if they are not capable of being like that, we will defend ourselves. No need to discuss a belief, we do not convince more than we convince a political opponent. I tell them of the good things I think about the God of the Old Testament to whom they are so attached and reveal them a fact that they do not really like; Muslims believe in the same God as Christians. They protest but they are forced to confess they don’t know anything about that!

Finally, the Supreme question comes: “And how have you been created?” I can see where she is going and I play fool. We come from our parents. And after that? Our grandparents and so on until I explain the history of prehistoric humans, monkeys, etc. General hilarity, we descend from monkeys! Bullshit! All this, science, they say, it’s a book, but it’s not true. We are dazed by such nonsense.

We decide it’s time to set up the tents and start cooking. That’s when our guests encircle us all evening, watching our every move like monkeys discovered the Kubrick black monolith. Our pot of spaghetti impresses them as much as a single word uttered in French. They should spend a little more time on wikipedia than in their church. Starting the next morning, they reload the same topic, in case we were touched by God overnight.



Our most memorable experiences in El Salvador have been our camping nights. In a short week we tasted the most conservative minds, the more open ones, and then fears of a band of farmers against the violence that this country can offer to its inhabitants. Apart from the first night, we didn’t feel in danger. There are shotguns everywhere, like in Guatemala, but we got used to.

The reputation of the next country, Honduras, scares us a bit because this is apparently the most dangerous in Central America. It’s going crescendo until now. Our path is simple: we cut to the shortest to reach Nicaragua on the main road, the path that most tourists take. Shortly before the border, a primary school gives us another good idea of indoctrination in Salvador : a band of small kids shout “ Jesus Jesus Jesus !” in a trance in front of their teacher. It still has a long way to go …


The first day, a Honduran TV crew stops us for an interview, they wanted to know what we were doing here by bike. The event was apparently rare enough to merit a TV interview. 10 minutes recording while we drive and a failed pedaling test for the assistant.


I struggled to say a few things about the country not only because we had just arrived but the locals didn’t appear very sympathetic so far. All the way, Honduran kids roughly asked for dollars and landscapes of Honduras are so dry that you can hardly believe you are cycling near the Atlantic coast. Not the country of your dreams for the bit we saw but I had to lie a little bit to make them happy. The next time we meet creationists, we will do the same to avoid long useless talkings…

Springbox, le Saturday April 18th, 2015

Eh ben, à lire vos derniers articles, c’est pas bien sexy l’Amérique latine. J’en suis tout déçu. J’avais clairement imaginé autre chose et j’avais hâte de lire vos retours

Greg, le Wednesday April 22nd, 2015

Alors, je ne suis pas le meilleur vendeur pour l’Amérique latine non plus. Je ne suis pas fan de tous ces trucs latinos, je l’ai jamais été et je n’en attendais rien. Ce que je décris n’est que ce qu’on a vécu pendant quelques semaines, peut être que tu adoreras si tu y vas.
Mais je suis en Afrique actuellement, c’est autre chose. Je conseille définitivement plus l’Afrique (Afrique du sud, Botswna, Zambie).