I arrived in San Salvador Friday morning after a 5-hour non-stop red-eye from LAX. Nice flight but hard for me to sleep. Probably got 2-3 hours is all. All went well at airport, my luggage came out first and through immigration and customs quickly. Over to Budget rental car booth. I pulled out my pre-paid agreement from online rentalcars.com Looked good so far, even though he said my reservation wasn't until noon but they had a car for me. Then to insurance. "That will be $15/day more." No, my agreement said "optional". I showed him on the form. "No senor, it is mandatory here in El Salvador". Ok, but why does my form say Optional? Isn't that what optional means, not mandatory? I felt I was in a Seinfeld episode where they don't have a car for Jerry even though he had a reservation. After confirming this policy with the Avis booth I reluctantly agreed to another $15/day PLUS more tax on the insurance. Sighhhh.....
Go out with another guy to the car. It's an OK older Corolla - missing one hubcap but not much damage. Stick shift which was fine. Gave me the keys and left. No instructions, directions, etc. Just go.
RCI had some basic instructions to the hotel on their fact sheet so off I went. No clue what the hell most signs meant. Bottom line - got lost twice because they didn't tell me about one right turn, and it was not 12 miles away, it was 25..!!!!! sigghhhhhh Maybe 50 after being lost. Asked people along the road 3x but all I get was hand signals telling me to go back and turn left - somewhere. Stupid gringos.
This country was quite a shock. So much poverty. Coconut stands all along the road - selling whatever they can to make a buck. People walking, riding bikes and old rickety 3-wheeled taxis. And many trucks, mostly hauling sugar cane. I saw a couple loads I just knew were going to roll off onto my car and I'd be dead in the middle of nowhere.
Found the hotel at the end of the costa del sol (sun coast where several resorts were. Many were deserted - a sign of the times? Showed the guard my reservation forms, signed in, and he lifted up the red cone. The guard with an automatic rifle in fatigues across the narrow road at another resort was a bit un-nerving but all felt safe.
Got to reception desk and lovely young Sarah greeted me. I started showing her my RCI forms and then she got on the phone. She spoke little English so brought in the guy who did. He showed me my 3-br condo but all BRs were up stairs, one had queen bed and the other two only had singles. Not gonna work for me and Michael. Option was 2 hotels room with adjoining door. I checked in but had to go get Michael at airport so he could have input. We looked at the rooms and both had bigger beds and separate baths so it worked out fine.
One issue is the resort is only about 50yds wide and 3/4 miles long, from marina to the beach. Michael was ok walking to the beach a couple times but it was not easy for either of us old guys. Haaa..
Has been pretty nice so far. Way too much to eat and drink. It's all-inclusive so one seems to have to get their money worth? Resort was very busy over the weekend (200+) with mostly El Salvadorans. They all left last night (Sunday) so there are only about 10-12 people here in the entire resort. More staff than guests so we talk to the staff a lot. Did meet a few American boaters at the marina bar. This is a customs port for boaters to enter the country. Nice to share stories.
Tomorrow we are off to an all-day tour to see part of the country - the flower route. A lone sailor was going so we agreed to share the van and costs. more later....it's happy hour...!!!!