While El Tunco is wonderful, I was eager to move along the coast. Twice I have been to El Salvador, but I've never ventured far from this little surf town that has so much to offer. So we caught the bus to a neighboring town called El Zonte.
It was Christie's first Chicken Bus ride, and I was excited for her to experience it. Being Sunday, we had to wait for about an hour until the bus arrived. Luckily we shared the bus stop with a boy of about six, who had an enormous bag of candy and gum to share with us. He recited his ABC's looking adoring up at us...I couldn't believe that a boy of his age was about to hop on the bus by himself, like any other person. It struck me, as it has before while traveling, just how much freedom and responsibly are given to children down here. I tried to imagine a parent in the US allowing their six year old child to catch a city bus on their own, and it seemed impossible to me. There is something in the culture; a sort of understood support of one another and togetherness, that makes something like this not at all unusual.
Our bus finally arrived, halting at the corner with a wheeze and a groan. On board the atmosphere was friendly, and to the sound of sweet, sweet reggaetone we wound the hilly turns of the coastal highway.
El Tunco ended up being a great place to kick off our trip. Twice before I have found myself pleasantly stuck in this wonderful little surf town. Great waves, great food, and a great atmosphere--it's hard to beat it.
Our first day on the beach Christie and I had a small world moment. In Jackson I had taken on the role of editing TEDx footage for the Wildlife Film Festival, which is where Christie works. I edited videos for 8 speakers over a monthlong period, and there walking towards us on the beach was one of the speakers: Pat Crowley. It was particularly coincidental to me, because I had just spoken to him over the phone in Jackson. He was with his girlfriend Erica, and the four of us became fast friends, enjoying the occasional drink or meal with one another over the past few days.
The bus dropped us at the entrance of El Zonte, and we made our way by foot to the hostel. Right when I arrived, I had a good feeling about the place. The grounds of Esencia Natural were nestled right in the tiny fishing village, with an inviting pool, an in house restaurant, ample hammocks, and even an elevated terrace that looked out on the surf.
The owner of Esencia Natural, an El Salvadorian native with a legendary surfing reputation, was clearly an important figure in the community. Not only was he running a great little resort that brought in what I would think is much needed tourist dollars, but he also seemed to keep his workers busy with projects and continuing employment. Throughout our time there, he was very hands on when it came to the resort's daily tasks, like supervising construction, moving ovens, helping customers with surf boards... At Esencia Natural they even seemed to be taking in the older street dogs that could no longer fend for themselves in the town.
After the owner arranged for a rental car to be dropped off at the hostel, and providing us with an hour's worth of great tour advice for the country, Christie and I were on our way to the next destination, Barra Santiago--this time with wheels of our own.
Currently Reading / Murder on the Orient Express / Agatha Christie