Surf’s up. Or down. It depends on who you talk to.

I’m pretty sure about a lot of things: I know that the sun comes up in the east, that ginger, honey, chili and whisky boiled with some water can cure even the most demonic flu known to man and that The Bearded Wonder has more sea animal DNA than human DNA. So it didn’t come as a surprise that our next destination was a little beach town called El Tunco.

Our road trip from San Salvador to El Tunco was initially quite frantic because we couldn’t find the bus, but luckily the bus always manages to find you. And if it does find you sweating and cursing at the side of the road, it’s usually packed with a crowd of people that can easily fill an olympic stadium. It’s during those moments that you wish you’re travelling with a single toothbrush and not a 50l backpack, because just like you, the backpack also has to fit in. What made up for the awkward backpack yoga poses was the smell or grilled corn passing through the windows of the bus and the guy who tried to sell us dripping ice cream. That and the fact that the old man next to me was sleeping throughout the trip and couldn’t partake in the pleasure of seeing me balancing my bag and sanity on my big toe while trying to refuse an ice cream.

Just like when the bus picked us up at the side of the road, it also left us at the side of the road next to the mango lady and right opposite the watermelon lady. Now I’m definitely a fruity kinda gal, but the ocean waits for no traveller and we descended down the only road to El Tunco.

The road to El Tunco
It’s a short road, say 20m at most, but I really like the enthusiastic spirit the heading captures. Moving along, we managed to find a really nice hostel that also happened to be the setting of a really nice and unplanned travellers’ reunion. We met up with the girl from Canary Islands we crossed the Honduras – Guatemala border with, we met up with the super-friendly couple from Austria who we met in Copán and we also met up with Kristina from Germany, who we met in Esteli (Nicaragua) on a cigar tour. Staying at the hostel was like opening up a lucky packet – you never know who you’re going to meet next.

Besides meeting up with old friends, the Bearded Wonder also took on the Salvadorian waves with the spirit of a seal. I thought he did pretty fine – getting onto the board and managing to stay on – but the seal spirit soon evaporated into a mist of disappointment. The combination of big waves, reef sharks and brownish water (due to the rain) was a bit too much for the Bearded Surfer. So instead of catching some waves, we caught a bus to the neighboring town because we heard they have great ceviche.

The town next to El Tunco
La Libertad is a short chicken bus ride from El Tunco, and really just another seaside town with a fish market, food market, supermarket and loads of very friendly Salvadorians. The ceviche was good, but the sweet bread at the bakery even better. We wandered the streets and ended up at the supermarket for longer than necessary – it was just too hot to go outside. So I looked at every single box of cereal and compared the prices of shampoo. Yes, we are having the adventure of our lives, but sometimes you do end up comparing bottles of shampoo because during that specific moment, there isn’t anything else to do.

Back in El Tunco, we also had Salvadorian craft beer with friends (it was crafty), met up with strangers (who happened to own a Spanish language school in Barcelona), shared a meal of 50c pupusas with even more strangers, and left as friends. Nice, isn’t it?

Here’s some more out of focus photos of our adventures. Don’t worry, the snaps will get better – a Canadian science teacher changed a setting on my camera in Guatemala and now everything is in focus again. Thank goodness for science.

The Bearded Surfer and the Surfettes, starring Saskia and Kristina.

El Tunco doesn’t really have a beach. It’s more a place where things end up, like driftwood, rocks and surfers from Johannesburg.

The La Libertad fish market. One fisherman was so excited that we are from South Africa, he told the whole market. The rest of the market folks weren’t as excited about out foreignness. That’s okay. We aren’t that excited about being South African either.

When life gives you lemons (and raw fish), make ceviche. It’s way better than lemonade.

A happy market chap. I love the Salvadorians, they are such a friendly bunch.

Market Marc and Ma Baker – I went back to buy more sweet bread buns from her.

El Tunco has the best sunsets. Ever.


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