We did a little mind happiness dance when we left the ridiculously steep and never ending hills of the 'land of volcanoes' behind us (it was already way too hot to do a real, physical happiness dance).
That said, at least food got cheaper again (surprisingly, Guatemala was way more expensive than Mexico). And El Salvador has the greatest vegetarian cyclist food ever: Pupusas! They are cheap, delicious, filling and are meat free! Imagine a fat tortilla stuffed with refried beans and a salty cheese, then grilled from both sides and served with pickled cabbage and vegetables. Happiness! So delicious, and they are EVERYWHERE! You are never far away from the next Pupuseria here. Other than the amazing pupusas, El Salvador has a beautiful coast line (Balsam Coast) with nice beaches and wild waves for surfing. El Salvadorians are friendly and smile a bit more often than the people in Guatemala we found. They (mostly the testosteron controlled part of the population) also LOVE to throw any English word or phrase they know at you: Hi, Bye, How are you, I love you, I don't know, How are you... Usually yelled out of the window of a car passing us. If they don't have a piece of English to yell at you, honking, whistling, yelling something in Spanish or the good old 'Gringooooo' shout will do. Even their cars can whistle! No joke! A lot of cars have - like their drivers - too much testostreon aka built-in custom horns. Sometimes it is all a little tiring...
Aside from the increased temperatures here, the amount of guns around us has also steeply increased. Almost every store - from bakery to bank to supermarket to shoe shop has at least one guard armed with a shotgun hanging from their shoulder. Also, every delivery truck no matter what they are delivering, be it Pepsi or concrete blocks has at least one armed guard on board. So delivering the sugar water takes about six people here, not sure what all their roles are but there are one or two armed guards, one driver, one guy with paper work and some guys to carry in the boxes, very interesting to watch how they all squeeze into the cabin and back of the truck.
We both have been carrying our bear spray (a large can of pepper spray) around with with us for the past nine months. We needed it for Northern Canada as a bear deterrent - not that we ever used it on a bear, instead we tried it on a wolf (see earlier blog post). Anyhow, as there are many wild dogs around these parts of the world - of which some are not so friendly and like to chase cyclists - we decided to keep it. Nyle carries his in his handle bar bag and mine is mounted behind my saddle in a little case. However, 9 months of partially rough roads can take a toll on a can. And my can started to leak, very very slowly.
1) Carry a leaking can of bear/ pepper spray on your bike just behind your saddle
2) Get it on your bike glove and spread it onto the back of your leg, hands, face and most enjoyable, rub it into your eye, then blame it all on some weird plant you may have touched
3) Park your bike in the hotel room and notice some strange, brownish stains beside it, but don't think too much of it
4) Shower and try to get the burning off your skin, hot water makes the burning a lot more intense, Aloe Vera lotion helps to cool it off a bit
5) Get your better half to grease the bike chains in the morning, he will get it on his hands and then rub his eyes to then run screaming and swearing into the bathroom splashing water in his face for the next half an hour
6) React with "See, I told you it wasn't sunscreen in my eyes or a heat rush on the BACK of my leg... it is some plant juice on our bikes!"
7) Then think again, connect the dots, the burning, the stains, the..... BEAR SPRAY
8) Last but not least, spend the next hour cleaning up bear spray from your bike with watering eyes and a bad cough and just think, later you will laugh about this with four watering eyes, just like now.
Lesson learned, bear spray cans are not made to last forever and it was not a plant, heat rash or sunscreen.