I soon came upon a Chinese-owned motel-restaurant where a hamburger and a cold beer seemed more appealing than another plate of Central American-Chinese Chicken fried rice. I wondered which countries in the world didn’t have Chinese restaurants? They seemed ubiquitous in Central America. Fortunately, their hours tended to be more flexible than a “blinds down with the sun” policy. I ended up taking a room there and was lucky to enjoy a baseball game for the first time in weeks on the restaurant’s big screen TV. Baseball’s popularity had skipped over certain of the Central American countries- popular in Panama, but not Costa Rica; popular in Nicaragua, but not El Salvador. I was the only one really watching the game in the moderately-filled restaurant and as the game ended, the manager said that the first bus to Perquín left at 6:00am. My wake up call, or aggressive door banging would take place at 5:00am.
The road was steep and winding, taking us higher town by town to increasingly remote towns. The majority of passengers seemed to be schoolchildren getting picked up and dropped off along our route. The bus stopped briefly for a drop-off/pick up in the town of El Mozote, a scene of obscene savagery during the war. In December of 1981 an entire town of families had been systematically murdered, while many of their husbands and fathers were away helping build revolution. I caught a glimpse of a wall painting of the outspoken Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was gunned down by a dictatorship-sponsored death squad as his service ended. Oliver Stone included this and other gruesome scenes in his 1986 film of the civil war titled Salvador.