santa ana

To Santa Ana I go! [YQrtw Day 120 Aug 8]

Location: San Salvador -> Santa Ana, El Salvador

I needed a change from the San Salvador scene. I was in the capital for the past 4 days during which 3 were publIic holidays and nothing interesting was open for business.

I don’t remember how I end up choosing Santa Ana, a landlocked region in El Salvador. Previously I was thinking about learning surfing at some of the El Salvador beaches but then I remembered that I hate warm sea water and the sun so surfing did not make sense at all.

Bus 201 from San Salvador to Santa Ana
Bus 201 from San Salvador to Santa Ana

I checked out of my San Salvador hostel before 10am and had breakfast at a nearby cafe before catching a Santa Ana-bound bus.

Unlike the short distance buses, this bus had comfortable seats, air conditioning and even a small TV playing the Alex Cross movie.

Based on travel guides, I know that I have about 1 and a half hour of travelling before we reach Santa Ana. At first I was looking out the foggy window but I found myself sleeping one hour into the journey.

When we got to Santa Ana, the bus stopped at different places. Eventually, everyone got off the bus and I had to too. Last night, I had memorized the map of Santa Ana’s bus terminal to the hostel because I don’t trust offline Google Maps.

Unfortunately, the bus didn’t stop at the bus terminal but I was able to figure out where north was based on the street numbers. I had to ask a shop for the direction of some street but I found the hostel eventually.

Just as I was approaching the hostel, a lady left the building. I rang the doorbell but no one answered. A little sign on the door told me to head to a nearby shop and ask for Carlos* (his real name).

A person in the hardware store took his keys and brought me into the hostel. The lady who left came back about 30 seconds after we were in.

I was given my room key. After depositing my luggage, I went to explore the hostel. This is probably the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at.

Definitely my kind of hostel
Definitely my kind of hostel

The walls are painted vibrant colors and there are hammocks around. There is even a small square swimming pool. There are two kitchens and the one nearest to my room has amazing equipment such as an orange juicer!

After hanging around the hammock a bit, it was time for lunch. I wanted to try out a place recommended by the hostel notice board but all the food were sold out.

My back up was the top Tripadvisor-recommended restaurant in the area.

Yes, I know I am Chinese

Street of Santa Ana, El Salvador
Street of Santa Ana, El Salvador

I trekked a long way to reach the place. On my way, I still got called out by strangers about my race.

I still do not understand what the people who say fake Chinese words, hiss about my being Chinese or those who say out not-so-nice things about me expect. Do they want me to react badly at them? Do they get a kick out of pointing out the only Chinese person in nearest 10km radius?

Nowadays, I’ve started responding to these people. A few days ago, a man on the street called out, “Chinita!” (Little Chinese girl.) I turned back to him, pointed and said, “El Salvadoriano!”

Today, a young man was sitting on the ground and called out fake Chinese. I stopped in my tracks, turned to him and said something back in Chinese. He just looked kind of stunned.

Later, I passed an old man and his friend, both of them sells things by the road. The old man said something about Chinese and “Me gusta dfsdjafhjsdhf”. I stopped, looked at him and wanted to shout that I know what he is talking about.

However, the proverbial cat caught my tongue and nothing came out. So he asked if I was lost and needed help with directions. As if he didn’t just say not-so-nice things about me! I told him that I know my way and still couldn’t find my retort.

This is getting really tiring.

Relaxing in Santa Ana

The rest of the day was spent in the swimming pool and in the hammock.

For dinner, I bought a whole roasted chicken from the supermarket–where an employee sang out to his friend, “Chin chin chin chin.” I glared at him.

Tomorrow, I will be able to make fresh orange juice since the hostel kitchen has such a machine. I also bought eggs since I haven’t had those in a while.

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

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