San Salvador: How to survive a Central-American capital?

After seeing the worn-down houses, grey ugliness and herds of homeless guys on empty streets in Belize City, we didn’t look forward to getting close to any other capitals in Central-America.

Fast forward four months. I sat on the bus and read in our guidebook that San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, is actually a pleasant place, even handsome. The guidebook talked about leafy suburbs, galleries and museums. That was enough. I slapped the book close and we decided to go there. Continue Reading →

A love letter to the water, or how we played in the waves in El Salvador

We were on a bus to El Tunco, the most famous beach town in El Salvador. The sun sank lower and lower when we finally saw it in all its glory- the Pacific Ocean. I held onto the brown leather seat in front of me. I couldn’t believe it. Our bus cruised along a coastline as beautiful as Highway One in California. Continue Reading →

Back to school: learning Spanish and falling in love with Xela

Waking up early, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes while shovelling in your breakfast, flying out of the house just a couple of minutes before eight to sit half a day behind a desk repeating sentences in Spanish. True, these are not the first things that come to mind when we think about travelling. In Guatemala, however, that is the way. On the second day in this wonderfully diverse country, a boat tour seller called Mario tucked a little yellow card in my hand- a flyer for a Spanish school in Xela. I wouldn’t have ever thought that one day I would enter the very same school asking for information. But life and travel is fun in this way that you never know what will happen next. Continue Reading →

Laguna Lachua, Guatemala: paradise on earth or unpleasantly smelly water?

Two pots of water are reaching boiling temperature in a dim hut. Five pairs of eyes are fixated on the pots, waiting hungrily for the first bubbles to emerge. There’s us and there is a Guatemalan family, smiling shyly. The Guatemalan mother opens a spaghetti package, throws its content in the water after which the package flies into the fire. Tom’s eyes grow big as plates: “No, don’t throw the plastic into the fire.” Two Guatemalan women look at him, then at each other. The father speaks some English and explains them in Spanish what Tom has just said. They all laugh. Continue Reading →

El Remate: the best sunset in Guatemala

The best things in life are for free and often I don’t take time to appreciate them. I have gotten accidental glimpses of the most amazing sunsets riding home on a city bus. Why didn’t I jump out of that bus, lay down a blanket and have a picnic while watching the sunset? Because I had no time.

It’s a bit different when I travel. In El Remate, the sunset became an event to look forward to. I made sure that my watch was accurate, bought a cheap beer and walked to the end of a pier to check it out. Sitting and talking on a little wooden bench with Tom, all of a sudden we fell quiet, realising that we didn’t need words, didn’t need movies, TV or any entertainment. Continue Reading →