A career in International Sales throws up a lot of challenges and difficulties: Jet lag from a long haul flight; body dynamics vis-a-vis different climatic and time zones; introduction to unfamiliar foods; new languages; getting ready in wee hours to catch a flight; and so on. And the most challenging part is the inexplicable mix of thrill and anxiety while visiting a country for the first time. I was engulfed with such a feeling on April 6, 2014, when I boarded the flight from Mexico City to San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador.
El Salvador is a small Central American county with a population of 6.40 million. A 6-hour drive can cover the distance between the western and the eastern regions of the country. It is the smallest and the most densely populated Central American country. However, I found that San Salvador was sparsely populated, with traffic snarls, a bane of the most cities, absent here. The city has very few high-rise buildings,
I found that the people were friendly and helpful. It is a Spanish-speaking country. Security is an issue, I was told, but I did not confront any safety problem in San Salvador. However, one needs to be careful while visiting the downtown, and it is better to have a local person accompanying you while visiting this area. For business travelers, a visit to this place is unavoidable, for it is the business hub of the capital. If you happen to visit San Salvador, do stay at Santa Elena or Zona Rosa as these areas are safer. American visa holders can get visa on arrival in El Salvador.
I visited two tourist spots in the city. Puerta del diablo meaning “Gate of Devil” is a popular hill station for tourism, especially weekend tourism, for the nationals as well as tourists in San Salvador. It has got such a devilish name, for it was the place to torture people during the civil wars . From the city center, it is 2-hour drive to the hill station. I was motivated to climb the mountain after seeing children and elders alike climbing up to the hilltop with enthusiasm. The hill top is a fantastic place with stunning views of mountains. Watching sunset from the hilltop is an enchanting experience.
Another tourist place of archaeological importance is “Ruinas de Tazumal,” a complex formed by pyramids which are placed one on top of another, with the top-most one being 23 meters high. It is located at 720 meters above the Mean Sea Level. This architectural group refers to two time periods: Late Classic period (600 A.D to 900 A.D.) and Post Classic Period (800 A.D. to 1200 A.D.). The structure is a ruin of the Mayan civilization, and it is believed to have functioned as a ceremonial place. The monument is situated at “Chalchuapa,” a place away from San Salvador by an hour’s drive.