El Salvador observations

The best meal was whipped yucca with chicharrón and vinegar, sold next to Tazumal.  The ubiquity of corn products means the country has less culinary variety than any of the other eighty lands I have visited.  There is a Taiwanese restaurant in San Salvador, however.  Olocuilta is a pupusa paradise — go there from the airport.

In Suchitoto, Garett bought a first-rate tortilla for 5 cents and had trouble changing his one dollar bill.  If Mankiw abolished the penny, how would the country — which uses the U.S. dollar — cope?  Or would they keep pennies as legal tender and all pennies would flow there?  How small would a country have to be, to experience hyperinflation from such an influx?  Could they put up a penny barrier?

El Salvador has good infrastructure (real roads), the electricity always runs, and the country embodies petty bourgeois values.  It is much richer than Nicaragua, Honduras, or Guatemala and it feels quite Protestant.  The crafts are weak, but volcanoes, lakes, and birds abound.  Their economic policies are quite good, and therein one sees both the potential and limits of economic advice.

On the road, we debated in what year the United States attained current El Salvadoran living standards (measured at $4400-$5800); I thought by the late 1920s.  The existence of penicillin makes the numerical comparison difficult, though in favor of El Salvador.

We saw a dead guy on the side of the highway; apparently he was struck down by a passing car.  Ill-advised pedestrian walks are a problem for many El Salvadorans in the United States as well.  “More guns, less crime” I joked to Alex as we drove through the center city.

It is an excellent country for a three-day trip.


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