I had heard so many things about El Salvador, it was filled with gangs, crimes and over all a very unsafe country for a tourist. However the Globetrotters camp just looked too good to not go there.
It was a Sunday night when I landed in El Salvador, a man greeted me outside the airport holding a sign with my name on it and pointed me to his car. With his limited knowledge he tried to make small talk, asked where I was from and when I answered “Iceland” I got the look that I have gotten used to here in Central America. It was a dull reaction indicating that he had no idea what Iceland was. My whole world of 320.000 people who think they are center of the universe means nothing here.
After an almost one hour of driving in pitch black, with potholes all over the road, seeing pickup trucks filled with people and dogs running all over the road. I arrived. I see this really nice looking house and as soon as I step in, a man approaches me. This man has the biggest smile on his face, walks right up to me and gives me a hug, giving me such a sincere and warm welcome. For the rest if the week it was rare to see this man, Luis, not having a smile on his face.
That introduction was what shaped my week in El Salvador, it was an paradise on earth. My schedule was surfing in the morning and BJJ in the evening. The days mostly consisted of hanging around in hammocks and enjoying the company of the people who were there and had arrived with really similar thoughts as myself.
When the rolls started you could feel how the different styles mixed with different experience. Everyone was different on the mats but at the same everyone was so eager just to enjoy themselves. I did not have one roll that week that I did not enjoy.
When the week was coming to an end I had made friends all over the world, from different backgrounds and I had invitations to train and even coach. This made me see how strong of a force BJJ can be, connecting different people with the same passion.