As our bus chugged out of the bowl shape of a silver city, I looked back down into it, noting it was the best view of Tegucigalpa I’d had yet. En route to the El Salvadoran border I met a young Honduran man, who spoke glowingly of Honduras’ Bay Islands, but when asked about any recommended sites to visit in El Salvador he told me that he was only going to visit family. Still, the idea of getting off the tired backpacker route excited me. When we arrived at the border I was surprised to find that we didn’t even have to get off the bus. The police officers ascended the steps and checked every passport individually. I was again surprised when I didn’t get my passport stamped. Once you cross one border within Central America, a stamp is not necessary until you leave the region.
I’d read about a town called Perquín, located high in the mountainous northeast corner of El Salvador, a stronghold of the FMLN (Farabundo National Liberation Front) revolutionaries during the civil war and site of El Museo de la Revolución Salvadoreña. I would get off the bus two hours below Perquín, in San Miguel, a city that supposedly closed down at sun down. The bus would likely be passing through around 5:30pm before continuing on to the capital. I spoke with the bus driver to see if he knew of any hotels within striking distance of the bus station for Perquín. He assured me that we’d be passing one in particular he knew to be good and would tell me when we got there. He did, but the hotel turned out to be abandon-like closed. 5:30pm and no other hotels in sight. I tightened by pack-pack straps and set off in the direction from whence we’d come. The sun was starting to drop. I picked up my pace, fixed on an as yet unknown hotel to find. Pick-up trucks packed full of shirtless Salvadoran labourers passed by, staring me over in a neither welcoming nor hostile manner. I was a foreign man running scared against the downing sun on the Pan-American Highway.