Monday, 10 March 2008
Kate Adie Reporting
From, allegedly, the second most dangerous city in the western hemisphere - San Salvador. I've just been on Google, but I can't find out which is the most dangerous city in the world though - anyone know the answer? Anyway, San Salvador is allegedly dangerous and so in order to protect ourselves from the gun-toting drug warlords, we were forced (tee hee) to check in to the Hilton which, again allegedly, is the most luxurious hotel in Central America. How fancy! The photo above is the view from our room of a volcano, hopefully inactive. When we arrived, despite doing our best inpressions of bedraggled, weary travellers straight off the bus from Guatemala, we got upgraded to an Executive room. Double fancy! Being executives means we get to use the Executive Lounge where we get free food and drink pretty much all day (we have been filling our boots) and free wi-fi (am currently using the computer in the Executive lounge and ear-wigging on a business conversation, some people are sooooo important).
Yesterday we ventured out onto the mean streets of the city. Well, actually we got a taxi everywhere we went cos that's what you're supposed to do (although apparently the area we are staying in - Zona Rosa - is perfectly safe to walk around as long as you don't go out after dark and aren't carrying anything...) I was massively excited as we made our way to MetroCentro, the largest mall in all of Central America. I had such visions in my head of the Oracle in Reading but a gazillion times bigger. Imagine my disappointment when, although large, it turned out to be more the sort of mall you'd find in Watford (apologies to anyone who lives in/loves Watford). So, after a quick jaunt around, we took another taxi to Galerias Escondidas, hyped by the Lonely Planet as the fanciest mall in the city. I was looking forward to browsing Louis Vitton, Chanel and Dior before putting my feet up in the champagne bar and feasting on blinis and caviar. Back to earth with a bump. There was a Macdonalds and a Pizza Hut Express in the food court, and Nine West and Bennetton was about as high-end as it got. Still, at least there was a nice coffee shop and hubby was v happy to find a sweet shop selling jellies.
From our drives around the city, and also the bus journey we took through the country when crossing over from Guatemala, both El Salvador and San Salvador look really nice. It's such a pity they both have such a bad reputation and, being a bit of a sissy, I don't want to be the one to push it to find out if the reputation is actually warranted.