From Juayua. a picturesque little town snuggled amongst western El Salvador’s volcanoes and coffee farms, it’s a short distance to some spectacular waterfalls.
I’d been told it’s advisable to take a guide, but it being a short walk I thought I’d wander there anyway and see where I got to. Halfway down the dirt road I spotted a little ‘car park’ off to one side and general activity that was out of keeping with the rest of my walk. A quick look and I noticed a couple of tour buses and a group of people that were distinctly non-local. I decided to join them, as surely there was only one place they were going. Strangely no one seemed to notice my arrival, or cared enough to say anything. Even the security guard who was accompanying the group was indifferent, or ignorant, of my joining them.
I had to laugh at the assortment of people. American and eastern European accents filtered through to my ears. Loudness prevailed, from the talking to the clothing. It was surreal and I felt like I’d been teleported into a new world because it was so far removed from all my travelling experiences. Everyone was wearing a wrist band, which I later found out made them members of whatever ‘all-inclusive’ resort they were staying in on the coast. A day out for them, up into the mountains. I figured it was safer to stay with them but it didn’t take long to reach the waterfalls. Other tour groups and locals were enjoying the water, as it roared out from cracks in the rocks. A hydroelectric plant was located nearby that takes advantage of these waters, and also created pools that locals took great enjoyment in swimming in.
After I’d had my lookaround I decided against hanging around waiting for the group to reform and walk slowly back to their air-conditioned bus, and made my way back myself. In the back of my head I knew that someday in the future I’d be in some other strange place, probably doing exactly what they were doing. So I didn’t laugh too much…