Day 41 - September 12th

Today is the day we leave Guatemala! After only 6 nights in the country, which was much too short, we headed for the El Salvador border. After about an hour's ride on the pan-american highway, we found it. Leaving Guatemala was fairly easy, with paperwork taking about 45 minutes and very helpful officials to help us get through. We had to pay Q15 to get some photocopies made, but there were no other fees to exit Guatemala. Next came the El Salvador side. We were told to park our bikes underneath a covered area beside the offices and then head to a window. As we were working with the official there, loud music starts approaching us. Turns out there was a marching band, complete with dancers and tubas, marching through the border area. Of course there was! Classic central America. Trying to shout to the border official (in broken Spanish) was nearly impossible with the band playing 10 feet from us. It was so ridiculous that the lady just let us go to the next station. After waiting inside for about an hour and a half, the paperwork was finally finished and we were allowed in. Overall, the border experience was slow but straightforward and not too bad. Then, after two hours of riding and some difficulty finding a meeting spot, we finally found Orlando and Mayra, Trevor's family friends. They were very excited to meet us and eager to show us the country. After a quick bite to eat, we headed to Mayra's apartment. Orlando reassured us about the safety of the country, and said we were totally safe when we were with him. After meeting some more friends, 6 of us got into two cars and two motorbikes and drove into the mountains. After an hour or so of nighttime riding, we arrived at Orlando and Mayra's parents' house. We got even more warm welcomes from the rest of the family and friends, and we immediately felt at home. We were treated to a wonderful supper of pupusas, followed by several cervezas. What a friendly bunch! Can't wait to see some more of El Salvador tomorrow.

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