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Old 21 Dec 2009
fredsuleman's Avatar
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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El Salvador border.

We crossed into El Salvador from Guatemala a couple days ago. Crossed at San Cristobal Frontera. We chose it because it is a smaller crossing and thought it would be easier. Welllllll, yes and no. Avoid Monday and Friday at this crossing because these are market days on both sides of the border. Chaos only begins to describe it. For 300 meters on either side of the border we could not see the highway for the crowds and market stalls. After riding around a long line of trucks waiting to cross, we were stopped by a wall of humanity. Could not see the border buildings. We normally try not to use helpers, but one young fellow decided not to abandon us even though we repeatedly told him we did not need help. To his credit, just like Moses he parted the waters and led us through, zigging and zagging around cars, buses and trucks which had come to an absolute standstill due to the crowd.

At one point an 18-wheel semi-trailer unit decided to pull onto the road right in the middle of the market. In order to get on the road, whole market stalls had to be dismantled and moved. We were caught in the crowd having to shift out of the way for the truck. I ended up sitting on my bike in the middle of a display of cheap clothing. As the truck turned, I had to lean my bike over to the right side to avoid losing my handlebars. My wife nearly lost her taillight. We were a crowd of hundreds and two motorcycles crammed into a space normally occupied by maybe a few dozen people. The truck passed and the human dam burst forth to the other side and commerce commenced as usual without missing a beat.

Finally at the border itself, the process of paperwork began. Due to the number of people and trucks needing to cross and due to the fact that only one person was doing data entry for vehicles, the process took nearly four hours. Our self appointed helper stuck with us throughout and we did give him $10 US. He was a nice kid, polite and helpful, so it worked out. I stayed with the bikes while my wife did the paperwork. At the final checkpoint leaving the border, the El Salvador official was apologetic that it had taken so long. Without the market madness, the process probably would have taken one hour. The crossing otherwise was straightforward and the officials on both sides of the border friendly and helpful.

The next 300 meters were through the El Salvador market throng around cars and trucks brought to a halt by the chaos. We finally made it through only having lost a bucket of sweat.
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Old 25 Dec 2009
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Merry X-mas.

Thought you would like to see a quick movie of the ride to Suchitoto;
YouTube - SuchiCan.wmv
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