The trip to El Salvador is a little over 3K round trip. Took the red-eye out of Seattle and arrived in ES Sunday morning early.
Pollution in El Salvador–mainly San Salvador–is pretty bad. The air smells like diesel and fossil fules and after a week down here, my throat hurts. I really like El Sal, don’t get me wrong, and I especially like it right now–middle of Summer–when Seattle tends to be so grey. I’m working with a company down here and I really enjoy working with the team down here as well.
I asked my driver, Cesar, yesterday about the pollution. He agreed it was very bad; I had heard that the same family that owns most of the buses that course the city are also highly placed in the government and won’t improve the fumes that spew out the back–pitch black billows of smoke. Cesar confirmed this and said that the bus companies can buy “credits” to offset their pollution–sound familiar? He said that there are newer buses and they’re a little better–but I haven’t seen so many of those.
Virtually no bike riders and I understand why: the sort of courtesy we take for granted in the US is simply foreign here. If a bike or ped is crossing the street with the light here, that person runs a pretty high risk of simply being run over. Cars and buses always have the right of way here–no questions asked.
San Salvador is the most densely populated city in the western hemisphere–not kidding. It statistically is. El Salvador is a tiny country with a fairly well developed infrastructure–it is known for the best highway system in all of Central and Latin America–a testament to decades and decades of war. Without roads, an army cannot move. So, with all of those roads, people from El Sal and neighboring countries can move around easily and industry/business can grow–mostly unchecked. The beautiful countryside, the flora and fauna, definitely takes the brunt of this very western-style economic growth.
I have spoken to a few americans during my visits who mention the frustration they feel about the level of environmental consciousness they take part in in their own home towns–and then they come here and feel the enviromental movement is lost before it even begins. I totally understand that–it’s discouraging. But even El Salvador is starting to make
towards cleaning up the environment. Tiny steps, but still….an awareness is growing.
I started reading The Weather Makers on the plane and found it so great a foundation to understanding the nature of our planet and the impact of our modern life.
car: 8 mi
air: 3018 mi
bike: 2.1 mi
Next: a review of Aaron’s Bike Repair in West Seattle.