We left the the war torn hills of south eastern El Salvador to meet up with family of friends in a small town just outside of San Salvador, the capital city. Mayte and Luis are the aunt and uncle of a former co-worker of mine back in my Henkel days. Mayte is a professor of English at the University in the capital, and her husband Luis is a retired chemistry teacher. They insisted that we meet them and stay the weekend in their country house in San Jose Guayabal, the town where Luis grew up. As with any chance encounter with new friends we were unsure how well we would hit it off. It didn’t take us long to quell any doubts when we discovered they fill their time at their country home playing pool, preparing big meals and taking long naps.
After our hike in El Imposible, we decided to stick together as a group a bit longer and visit the renowned feria gastronomica, or food festival, in the small mountain town of Juayua. I mean, who doesn’t crave some freshly grilled iguana after a long hike in the sweltering heat? We arrived in town just in time to watch the vendors pack away their culinary delights and soon found out the festival was wrapping up for the weekend due to the national election that was taking place the next day.
Our plan to make it to Parque Nacional El Imposible before dark seemed reasonable enough. Distance-wise, it wasn’t far and the border crossing into El Salvador went smoothly, leaving us plenty of daylight for the trek. Between the four of us we had three maps and a handheld GPS. The fact that the road to El Imposible was in a slightly different location on each map didn’t phase us at all. It wouldn’t be the first time we used a less than mediocre map (or, no map at all) to navigate Central American roads. We’re experts, we thought. Besides, even if we got lost we had twelve weeks of Spanish class between us – we could easily use our new skills to ask for directions from the locals.