Apart from the incredibly exciting advent of not using granny gear (for the first 48 hours) it's been a pretty uneventful 3 days. The riding has been pretty flat, bloody hot and a bit boring. The land is mainly agricultural, mostly fields of sugar cane. We've had a couple of mediocre 'pit stop' hotels and not seen any westerners at all.
We only rode about 55-60km per day on the first 2 days, favouring to sit out the worst of the afternoon heat in the air con 'luxury' of our $20 digs.
We did however reach the heady heights of completing 1000km of riding in what (just in case you hadn't worked it out already) has turned out to be pretty tough conditions. Do we win a prize? Hmm, guessed not...
At one point we met a bunch of local cyclists at a petrol station. all lycra'd up, they were on a 150km day ride with no luggage plus a 'sweep truck' to guard them from the traffic. They gave us an orange each which was cut into pieces. Bit like at half time during football. Speaking of football, that bloody Spanish nutter commentator who says GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!!! all the time is on just about every TV everywhere we go. In a very Victor Meldrew sounding moan, it's getting pretty annoying....
The only (other) mild annoyance is the buses that pull in right in front of us to drop off/pick up passengers. They take their "I need to stop exactly there" job pretty seriously and stop exactly there regardless of whether we are already exactly there or not. They then cover us in a thick black cloud of exhaust fumes as they pull away again, possibly to repeat the process as little as a couple of hundred metres down the road.
In the town of Usulatan, the only hotel we could find was on the outskirts of town so we walked in to find something to eat. We could't be bothered to walk any further, so chose the first place we came to. It was a big place, divided into 3 main sections. In the bar/garden area there was a local family with a crying baby. It was probably upset by the ear bleed inducing traditional Spanish Muzak 'a la Benny Hill'. The inside bar/restaurant had 2 pool tables in it. The local gang of yoofs playing didn't even notice the equally loud doof doof music. We sat in the restaurant proper but only just. We'd taken the table the furthest away from anything, anyone and more importantly, any speakers.
It was so dark over there we knew we wouldn't really be able to see what we were eating but that's ok, we're in El Salvador so it must be grilled meat and rice.
Our waiter was a young guy. He was absolutely useless, making the simple process of ordering a complete fiasco. If we could have heard him over the cacophony it might have helped, actually, I doubt it.
Ooh, whats this? More music? The Gringos are here and must be entertained. American soft rock? Yay! As if this wasn't enough, there was a wandering minstrel. A little moustached man (as in he was small, his facial hair was big) wandered over to serenade us. With a quick but serious "No Gracias" from me he left us in peace (?), opting instead to head for the flower bed for a quick tinkle.
In a week we'll be celebrating the milestone of being half way through this little jolly jaunt....
Day 3 got more interesting. Firstly we met this guy
He's been on the road for 2 years and estimates it'll be another 18 months before he completes his odyssey from Tiera del Fuego (bottom tip of Argentina if you didn't know) all the way to Alaska. Hats off to him we say!!!
The road turned south and back into the hills. "Oh hail the mighty power of Granny". The old girl did us proud, grinding our way up sweaty 8km and 4km climbs. Still, at least the scenery improved
The final descent brought us into the very run down and thoroughly disappointing seaside resort of El Cuco. Apparently this place rocks at the weekend with cashed up El Salvadorians, on a Monday lunchtime it was less than inspiring.
We managed to coerce a restaurant owner out of her deck chair and after a not bad grilled fish n rice in 35 degree heat we were pretty ready to find somewhere nice to retreat to.
Now that is where Tortuga Verde (www.tortugaverde,com) came into play. This place came recommended by everyone we'd spoken to who'd stayed there. So far, it hasn't disappointed. But more of that in the next instalment....