El Salvador de los E.E.U.U.

E.E.U.U. stands for Estados Unidos (or United States in gringo speak). During the two weeks I’ve been here, my friends and family have continued to ask me what it’s like in El Salvador. To be honest, the US influence in this country is so strong, that sometimes I forget I’m in a different country.

Our team has had Quiznos for lunch (at least 2 times a week), we’ve frequented Pizza Hut and Tony Roma’s, sipped on bottled Starbucks frappuccinos, and at night fall asleep to the soft glow of the McDonalds golden arches across the street from our hotel. And while you might suspect that we are simply missing our country…in fact, we have spent considerable time trying to find local restaurants and food. But good old Americana is always in the forefront with its fast, quick, and dominating presence.

If you aren’t impacted by the neon signs of KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Mickey D’s, you need only to drive up the hill to the Santa Elena neighborhood where the enormous fortress of the US Embassy and USAID buildings stand. El Salvador receives more funding from USAID than many other Latin American countries – a legacy of the Cold War interventions of the US in the country. We’ve witnessed this in person as we have met with multiple non-governmental organizations and industry associations who all get their funding from…you guessed it, USAID. It’s quite impressive that our tax dollars have practically funded the entire social sector of El Salvador. And El Salvador has reciprocated – being the only country who continues to support the US presence in Iraq with the addition of its own troops.

Beyond the international politics, almost every Salvadoran has a US immigration story to tell, whether a personal tale, a friend, or a family member. While a few are legitimate marriages, or work permits, the vast majority are harrowing tales of desperate journeys through Guatemala and Mexico, river crossings, border patrol run-ins, and deportations.

But the one US presence you will not witness in El Salvador is its people. Unfortunately El Salvador’s past civil war, coupled with a strong gang presence has limited most American tourists from venturing here. But the few Americans (myself included) who have found themselves in this country immediately experience the fantastic potential this country has for tourism: beautiful scenery, temperate weather, national parks, deserted beaches, and warm friendly Salvadorans.

While I appreciate traveling in an “unspoilt” country, I hope for El Salvador’s sake that US tourism increases.

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26 Responses to El Salvador de los E.E.U.U.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Am from el salvador and trust me El Salvador is nothing like United States. El Salvador is full of culture and beautiful places.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Los campesinos necesitan apoyo para hoctener toda EL agua que necesiten para la ciembra de sus comidas

  3. Susi Spice says:

    you guys should check out ADFES – (Australians Developing Futures – El Salvador)

    http://adfes.wordpress.com

    A few Australians are gathered together to try and help the youth get out of poverty, get an education and not fall into a life of crime and gang activity like Mara Salvatrucha or 18th Street.

    • Rhina Alonzo says:

      Good Afternoon I’m impress about the Intencion that Australians generous people will like to help my country I myself I am in the need of some organization to help me with a project that I would to aid and create, butI don’t have the money, but I will like participate by given a house in two differnts towns 01 Santa Ana and 02 Metapan think about it and please let me know: Godbless every one in earth. Rhina

  4. Damarys Zampini says:

    Hi there, you are touching on some very sentive topics there… regarding the “funding” provided by USAID etc. In fact, I believe many El Salvadorians living in ES, would be offended (my opinion). El Salvadorians are in fact some of the hardest (if not THE hardest) working countries in Latin America, working a minimum of 60 hours per week – minimum –

    Secondly, the fact that you “chose” to eat Quiznos’, Pizza Hut and Tony Roma’s shows the amount of effort you spent in avoiding such amazing authentic El Salvadorian food… never mind about drinking Starbucks! by doing this, you’ve just avoided drinking some of THE best, smoothest coffee in the world!

    El Salvador is poor in many areas, no question. However, it is a world and culture of it’s own, the people are different, the country side, everything… you just have to venture off to see the world a bit more than limiting yourself to massive food chain restaurants which have accessed most of the world by now.

    I am sorry about your opinions stated, and hope you can go back and see the real El Salvador that some of us know and love.

    Kindest regards:

    Damarys Zampini.

  5. Wanda Rivera says:

    Hi,

    My name is Wanda and I was looking for Salvadoran landscapes and came across the picture featured in this article. I was curious to know where this might be located. Me and my family plan to visit El Salvador in May as a family trip and pay our respect to our recently passed away grandmother. We plan to enjoy ourselves after we do our 9 days of prayers. If you have any other areas that are to die for an great places to visit please do email me I would love to know.

    Thank You

  6. alvaro sosa says:

    I’m a native salvadorean living in the us for 30 years. one of beutifull places to visit, is el cero verde in santa ana. it’s has a great view from different angles. send pics if you go.

  7. Anonymous says:

    soy salvadorena de nacimiento y de corazon y americana de corazon El salvador es bello pero hay que juntarse con familia o amigos que viven halla asi de veras se puede gozar y sentir la diferencia de los dos paises El sal. y EU los dos paises son bellos tienen bellesas naturales y comida delisiosa,playas,parques hoteles con buenos precios,museos,discotecas .surfin y en fin tiempo y dinero es todo lo que se nececita.

  8. Edgardo says:

    What a great posting

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dude where you just hiding in your room at the hotel what a winnie, just to tell you everone knows pupusas are the most typical dish, but we have moronga, sopa de pata, rellenos de repollo, sopa de gallina india, pescado en las brasas, different types of fruits you would never find here, come on ur freaking me out wasted all that money to go there and didn’t enjoy anything, how ’bout the paternas, maranones, all the different types of mangos, wait the yuca sancochada or frita(fried) with chimbolos, Oh wait I get it you were scared that by going to a typical restaurant you would get food poisoning, would let me tell you something if you would visit the kitchens at some expensive restaurant here in the U.S.A you wouldn’t eat there. DUDE FREE YOURSELF GO COME ON GO INTO THE STREET AND ENJOY THE PLACE

  10. fzdgvzgv says:

    salvador rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooooooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkksssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  11. marina says:

    do you like music of big time rush there pretty hot and cool ***********************************************************************************.

  12. marina says:

    lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol lol………******** ………

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  17. Dustin says:

    Strange contradiction in your comments: you think there’s too much Americana, yet hope for El Salvador’s sake there’s more tourism. Just look at Costa Rica. Because of U.S. tourism, and of course debt, they’ve spoiled the country and turned it into mostly Americana culture. I think what needs to change is the experience of American tourists, especially the way you chose to travel. How could you complain about American influence and eat mostly fast food, while there’s millions of restaurants, food vendors, and other means of obtaining authentic Salvadorian food!? Those shitty American restaurants are there because people like you won’t venture out and give the money needed to Salvadorians! I too hope there’s more American, and international, tourism to give to El Salvador, but not the way you and most Americans travel. You need to get out of your element and immerse yourself in other cultures by living like the locals! Why travel so far and do what you would do at home?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am Canadian, and heading down for the first time to El Salvador for two weeks. Truly excited for the opportunity, and I would agree with Dustin. Why would you do what you do at home? It is such a wonderful chance to see another part of the world. If I wanted to visist Canadian culture I would stay north of the 49th. I want to see Salvadorian history, taste their food, interact with their people. Don’t bring home with you, that way when you get home, you will appreciate it as well. For what it is.

  18. Susie Baca says:

    I am a sophomore in high school doing a project on El Salvador. Would you be okay with me using your pictures in my presentation?

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