Tag Archives: El Salvador

A soup-inspired border crossing

13 Mar

I’m on a boat [censored] take a look at me

Straight flowin’ on a boat on the deep blue sea

~ The Lonely Island “I’m on a boat”

In the interests of not worrying mum and dad, for every ‘insecurity-themed’ post I publish, I’ve decided to publish a ‘look-what-a-lovely-time-I’m-having-themed’ post. It’s ye olde the good will cancel out the bad trick.

I can now lay claim to the fact that I have crossed a border for a soup. That’s right, this soup is so good, it’s worth driving to another country just to taste it.

My Honduran host mum is not only lovely, she’s also very keen to show me her country. She loves driving and doing day trips, so it looks like we’ll be able to do a lot of exploring over the next few months.

This weekend she decided to show me the south of Honduras, including a quick stop over the border in El Salvador to show me what was, in her words, the best seafood soup she’s had in her life.

The border crossing was a little sketchy. As soon as our car pulled up we were accosted by an over-excited guy in a ratty blue t-shirt that insisted he and his ‘colleagues’ help us out.

I’d read online and in several guide books that Central and South American border crossings are often made unnecessarily expensive by shameless hucksters that dupe you into paying them for their ‘help’ in crossing the border.

I almost went to mention this to my host mum, but then figured that as a local she probably knew what she was doing. I should have said something. By the end of the transaction it became obvious that we’d been hustled. Oops.

In my host mum’s defence, it’s difficult to work out what to do. There are no signs or obvious-looking officials out and about and the whole place looks more like a market than an immigration point. There are mini stalls and people spruiking their wares left, right and centre.

I wish I’d taken some photos, but I was too busy keeping a hawk’s eye on the whereabouts of my passport at all times.

At the El Salvador end things ran more smoothly. We were immediately approached by an immigration official in uniform that told us what to do and where to go. There were also signs up explaining the costs and that anyone asking you to pay more wasn’t part of the official system.

Border crossing completed, we headed to the border town of Santa Rosa de Lima and to El Restaurante La Pema, home of the infamous seafood soup.

A soup to cross borders for

A soup to cross borders for

It was a damn good soup. Whether it was worth going through the hassle of a dodgy and expensive border crossing, I’m not so sure, but it was definitely delicious.

After lunch we crossed straight back over the border to Honduras and headed south to San Lorenzo and the gulf that El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua all border.

El Golfo de Fonseca is actually a little contentious at the moment. The sovereignty of the area has a complicated history and today the Honduran government actually threatened to bring out its F5 planes to defend its rights, if necessary. Hopefully the three countries will be able to resolve the tension diplomatically.

As you can see from the Google Maps image below, the port of San Lorenzo is surrounded by a mangrove estuary.

San Lorenzo

It’s beautiful. We jumped on a boat to do a tour of the bay at the perfect time to snap some great shots of the sunset.

San Lorenzo sunset

And near the end of the tour we were even able to land on the beach of a small sand bar island. I couldn’t resist trying to stake a claim on a small patch of the Gulf myself:

Emma's beach

All in all it was a brilliant day. Seafood soup and a boat ride. What more could you ask for in a day trip?