When my dream of cycling to Patagonia turned into an actual circled date on my calendar, my initial trepidation of El Salvador and Honduras grew when I foolishly read the US gov. site to defer all non-essential travel and googled ‘highest murder rates’. When I heard of a woman who was riding alone through these countries I was almost in disbelief. So last Sunday when I set out at sunrise to embark solo from the coast of El Salvador near La Libertad through the rest of Central America on my trusty steed, Tongolele (yes I named my bicycle) it was with surprising comfort, confidence and sense of familiar warmth.
I have always been fascinated with El Salvador. Growing up in California, I harbored the same loving affinity as I do for Mexico, with dear friends describing the natural beauty and rich culture of their early childhoods. I feel so lucky to have grown up with this influence, and have many surrogate abuelitas. I also wanted to see it for it’s treasures, beyond the violence so prevalent in US media, which proved to be vastly sensationalist in Mexico. “Not bad for a murder capital” I joked the day we rode into the chill El Salvador frontera and made our way along the tropical, flat coast which was a dream with its spacious shoulder, smooth traffic and friendly faces smiling and waving. I felt strangely at home.
Our second night we camped at a restaurant (called a comedor) overlooking the beach with an guard who slept in a hammock, and a gun of course, near our tents. Cherry had plans in Nicaragua to meet up with besties from home and we felt good about taking on the unique, often exclusivly male perspective, of solo riding. So far it has opened me to such different experiences and is incredibly insightful. I heartily welcome this challenging, thrilling element into my life on the road and thank every star in the sky for this experience. I learned so much from riding with such a sharp, savvy road sis and am ready for the road ahead.
That being said, in Honduras 25 miles from the Nicaraguan border a dude on a motorcycle rode along side me asking me why I wouldn’t have sex with him. Honestly, it freaked the hell out of me and when I turned around to make sure he was gone I saw Cherry gloriously rocking up. She had gotten the same invite from motorsexo and thanks to her we got a good chuckle out of it. We blazed out of Honduras and into Nica together, the next day heading off on our separate journeys. Si se puede!
I flopped updating this blog in the 6 months riding through Mexico and Guatemala but will be checking in here on the reg.