Day 38: We are legion.
9 gennaio 2022

El Salvador is full of geckos. Everywhere. On every wall, in every city, in every corner of the country. It’s funny because even in southern Italy there are many of them. Here, however, at night they make a typical sound, a sort of call. It’s like the snap of a kiss repeated seven or eight times. At first it sounds strange, but then it becomes part of the sounds of the night. Almost familiar. It’s odd, Italian geckos don’t make this sound. I have never heard it once. Asian geckos make it instead. Exactly the same. In Thailand, in Laos, in Cambodia. I wonder if they are different species. Or if ours just don’t know how to kiss anymore.

The day begins sunny. Around one o’clock we go out for a bite to eat. We choose a popular restaurant. We have already talked about it in the pages of this blog. The food is really good with a small expense and they gladly accept our bitcoins. They are also very kind. They seem almost proud that foreign tourists want to eat with them. They let us taste a bread that they make there. It is super soft, lightly flavored with garlic and still warm, fresh out of the oven. We buy six small sandwiches for the equivalent of a dollar.

We return to the hostel after a short tour. It’s very hot and it’s a bit tiring to walk around. We have to get ready to leave for San Salvador where there will be a meetup of bitcoiners organized by Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert. We have reserved seats and there will be a lot of people we have met over the past six weeks. 

We leave around four in the afternoon. The capital is not far away but here there are few roads and the traffic can be terrible. We arrive at the place on time. It is in the Zona Rosa, the most elegant and rich area of the city. In fact it is a bar that has nothing to envy to the trendiest locations in Milan. There will be about fifty people there and it’s amazing how many of them we already know. There is the couple of Europeans we met on Bitcoin Beach, there are our friends from Bitrefill and Paxful, those of El Tunco, the Swedish traveler. The whole clique in full. Something that gives us a clear feeling of how seminal the scene here still is. El Salvador ended up on the cover of every newspaper in the world thanks to the Bitcoin law. Government propaganda has been firing hard. In our little proxemic bubble, it has been discussed in great detail. That’s why we’d almost be inclined to think that adoption is within reach here. One step away. But that’s a media exaggeration. Incredible as it is, this experiment is at an embryonic stage. We’re only now laying the foundation. And it’s good that we are. It’s the natural development of things. Sure, it’s sad to see the lack of interest from those who would perhaps benefit most from what’s happening, the average Salvadoran. But it’s natural that it should be so after only a short time perhaps. And it would have been strange to find us already surrounded by hundreds of people.

Max and Stacy arrive after about half an hour. The environment is stimulating. We drink beer and walk around the various small groups of people chatting. It’s the first time we’ve seen each other since New Year’s Eve so we inquire about how everyone’s vacations were and where they spent them. We then talk about bitcoin projects. About things to do. About upcoming key appointments. There is excitement and buzz. Max approaches. He asks us who we are and what we are doing in El Salvador. He seems genuinely interested and amazed by our adventure. He fills us with compliments and asks for a picture of our adoption in the country. We tell him our impressions. Unfiltered. About how it is possible to live in Bitcoin and how this was unthinkable just a year ago. But also about how we need to work on the education of the population as well as on relations with foreign investors. Stacy is very kind. Always smiling. But she seems to want to stay more on her own. 

Max begins his speech, in his own way. Ironic, shouted, excessive but always precise, punctual and competent. He talks about money, its oppressive nature and how El Salvador could be the beginning of something absolutely new. The press is all around him, recording and photographing. After shaking a twenty-dollar bill, calling it dung, and tearing it into dozens of small pieces, he points to us in the crowd. He announces to the audience that there are a group of Italians who came to see the legal tender and who live only on bitcoin. He invites everyone to applaud us and people start congratulating us. Suddenly being the center of attention embarrasses us a bit. I mean, what’s so extraordinary about it? Something historic is happening here, and for the quality of our work, we’ve come to see for ourselves. It should be business as usual. Instead, in an era where articles in mainstream newspapers are written by professional journalists based on information they gather on Facebook groups, perhaps what we’re doing is truly exceptional.

Towards the end of the meetup, Samson Mow also shows up. We exchange a few impressions about the country’s fortunes and upcoming milestones for Bitcoin here. It’s strange to see such familiar faces in our environment here in a developing nation in Central America. In such an intimate setting after all. To be able to have a direct relationship with them, just because of that context. It’s a contrast. It’s almost jarring. And yet it’s a signal. Evident. It’s a symptom that a machine that has no precedent has been set in motion here. This quality, this professionalism, all this attention from a community as rich in ideals and as determined as ours, must lead to something.

That’s what we think as we head back to base, which is now late at night.