February 4-6, 2005

Our easiest and most pleasant border crossings have been in and out of El Salvador.  The crossing at El Amatillo was virtually painless.  Everyone was very friendly; it was not crowded at all; and it cost us nothing to enter El Salvador. Once across the border, we jumped on the local bus with plans to head to Perquin, El Salvador.  However, en route, several locals on the bus talked the four of us into heading to San Miguel for the night (it was Friday night after all).  One local vendor recommended the King Palace Hotel, located directly across from the bus station in San Miguel.  Turns out this was a great recommendation; it had a pool, air conditioning, hot water, a big bed and a television (all things we had been without for a while, particularly at the Tobacco Road Hostel in Tegucigalpa!). 

After much needed showers  - it had been at least 3 days that any of us had taken a shower in light of our most recent accommodations - we set out for dinner at a local joint recommended by the guys at the front desk of teh King Palace Hotel, El Paisa, on Roosevlet Drive.  It served great Mexican food, had delicious (and very large) Margaritas, cold beer (although not as cold as in Nicaragua), and two guys doing karaoke, one of whom was decked out in traditionally mariachi attire.  It was lots of fun, and afterwards, we hit one of several casinos located just across the street.  The casino was one large room, with tiled floor, bright lights,  a cashier's window, slot machines against each wall, and poker and black jack tables in the center, with a pit boss, the requisite characters, and of course, free drinks.  After losing a few bucks at Black Jack, we lost some more at the Poker table; although Pat McGee managed to win nearly 80 by drawing the "magic card" and a flush!

We slept in the next morning, and then bid a sad and fond farewell to Stacy and Pat, who had to get to Belize City by the 12th and therefore needed to take a different, faster route up to Belize than we did.  After seeing them off on the air conditioned luxury liner to San Salvador, we walked around San Miguel for the afternoon, which is a pretty dirt city with not much to offer the tourist.  Since we waited to eat dinner until 9pm, we had limited options, and ended up eating at Pizza Hut and then watching movies the rest of the night, before heading out to Perquin the following morning.
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