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Dashing Bitcoin Dreams

“Wot da far quasi thinkin?” was my frame of mind after checking into Hotel Grecia Real. Arrival in El Salvador was greeted with the friendliest immigration reception evrrrr, but it was downhill from there. Oppressive heat, second rate infrastructure, sketchy driving patterns and a growing sense of being somewhat lost in more ways than one was taking hold. The mind pirates were keelhauling sanity carefully watching for signs of weakness that could send me scurrying back to the airport for a hasty evac, I needed to gulp down a warm dusty breath and check my bearings.

From the airport I was hustled into a little compact which had been baking in the midday sun for over an hour. To say it was like an oven is without exaggeration. Consider an outdoor temp in the mid 30s, then seal up a black tin provisioned with a convex lens to attract the suns rays get the picture. The comfortably retirement age driver managed the car instinctively despite waning eyesight and lagging hand/eye coordination. The 40min drive from the airport to San Salvador is all uphill on a 4 lane highway (2 lanes each way separated by large yellow concrete Lego blocks) which scantly interrupt the community that spills onto it it from both sides. Mechanical workshops, auto wreckers, fruit vendors, and small stores tempt truncation with their daring coexistence. It led me to wonder who is the greater idiot, nanny state wide lanes with emergency shoulders either side, or the simpler 2 by 12' lanes with no room for error which seems to work just fine over here? Heavily laden cane trucks crawl up the slow lane providing rolling impediments for the traffic to weave around in the hope they can duck back into the fast lane before being closed out by other contenders. Ol mate played the game with a dodgey dexterity having only had the one close call as we neared the city. He crossed into the fast late cutting off a very horny motorist who appeared to be in the back seat as I turned to look. All good tho, it barely raised a glance from ol mate as he went on telling me about our destination.

Anyway we made it safely to what he called the hotel zone. I insisted on not looking for top billing, as in my experience 80% as good is often less than half the price n I'm more Camry than Lexus. This is how I ended up at Hotel Grecia Real, a Pythagorean palace tucked down a side street behind the fancier fares. I checked in, was ushered to my room, then slumped down onto a bed with about as much give as a cheap carpet. Forty odd hours of travelling had delivered me to this moment, n gradually a crack began to appear in the best planned hideaway escapade of 2024, it suddenly seemed flawed to say the least. Swapping kiwi-living comfort with all its social side hustle in favor of solitary confinement was beginning to feel like my vision had been thrown to a bunch toothless lions in the Colluseum, it was hardly gonna be fatal, just annoying.

Fortunately hotel zone was near a huge mall so I wandered down there to sample how the bright orange future was evolving in the real world. Again, the disappointment hit me like a pay wall. Hope of seeing bitcoin spilling out of shopfronts was quickly exchanged for the familiar bedraggled hopes hampering so-called civilization. I spotted only one shop in the mall was displaying 'Acceptamos Bitcoin' and the various shops which piqued my interest were generally uninterested in my payment offer. So much for legal tender, perhaps they need a sterner dictator like Cindy who can mandate this shiz n force these fiat barbarians to pick up their game?

The ultimate option was to go to a Bitcoin ATM and hook out some good ol fashioned cash. Again, not so easy. All the machines run via 'Chivo', a Lightening Wallet set up by the government for the people of El Salvador, but if you're a foreigner and don't have the wallet you're stuck with on-chain transactions. (Lightening is a second layer Bitcoin transaction method which provides instant settlement at practically zero cost - as opposed to making a traditional transfer on the Bitcoin blockchain) This meant waiting around for the transaction to be confirmed multiple times on the blockchain so has a lag of 20 mins or so. This gave me ample time to check how many other shops were not taking Bitcoin and grope aimlessly for a future not yet manifested.

Next day I met up with Michaela's mate Rodrigo, a man looking to sell sunshine in the tropics I kid you not. That may sound like selling ice to eskimos, but turns out more than a handful of peeps seem to think there is a future in it. (for a small fee I will hook you up with the Australasian distribution rights;) He is peddling a device which emits healthy UV bandwidth rays, absolving one of the need to take a stroll during daylight hours. Anyway, he told me to ditch el capital and head to Bitcoin Beach so I can patch up my fading orange dreams, so I'm off...

By Bitcoin :)

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