Leaving Guatemala wasn’t too difficult. It took about 20 minutes to cancel our car permit, which is relatively fast considering some people we met at the border had been waiting for 3 days. Crazy, what a foreign passport can do for you.
Entering El Salvador was pretty painless as well apart from the two hour wait. Luis was 12 and was spending his summer break making money off tourists in need of his “assistance”–with his cute smile and cheeky disposition he charmed his way into helping us too. Besides entertaining us he didn’t do too much for us except get the papers we needed to fill out ahead of time and he also kept an eye on our car.
It was a long wait as only three people were allowed into the immigration office at a time and the guard, loving called ‘Mr. Dirty’ by Luis, was pretty serious about keeping the line under control. He swaggered around carrying his little list of who was up next and was very strict about who could go in and at what time they would be permitted to enter the office.
The permit costs us nothing except the $1 USD we gave to Luis. After saying “adios” to Luis we were on the road again this time is search of relaxation for the Christmas week.
But, of course, there was one more police stop to contend with before we could fully relax. A relatively friendly police officer leaned in asking for our papers, he then requested that Tom open the trunk so he could have a look around. I did my part playing the bored wife in the front seat listening to the officer asking questions when Tom asked me, in a strangled voice, if I really wanted to keep the WEND magazine that we had stashed in the back. I replied that I was still reading it when the trunk slammed shut and Tom jumped in the car, revved the engine and sped off. Once we were out of sight Tom explained that the cop spotted the magazine and was curious if this was a “gift” for him… hope they enjoy their new reading material.
We finally found our relaxing beach vacation in El Tunco where we spent the days lazing in the sun, ham-napping (napping in a hammock) and surfing. All in all, a pretty sweet Christmas.
Tags: border cross, border crossing, customs, Driving the pan american, driving the pan american highway, driving to central america, driving to south america, El Salvador/Nicaragua, El Tunco, immigration, road trip