Peligroso, guerrillas, and the beach

A few more adventures to report this week! We haven’t gone out quite as much as we’re staying with Alexi’s grandparents, who are adorable but not super mobile and probably fairly rightly think that a lot of things are dangerous (they’ve seen a lot of war in their lifetimes). Alexi and I now know the word peligroso very well (dangerous). We’ve still been practicing our Spanish a lot, though, so that is a bonus.  We’ve also been taken out quite a few times by his uncle, cousins and his extended family of sweet and fun relatives. It’s also always incredibly hot and humid, so showering is in fact one of my favorite hobbies, as I get to cool off for 10 minutes a day with that!

Anyway, Monday we went for a drive around the city with Alexi’s uncle Chele and his lawyer friend. They showed us all the different neighborhoods and then we took some pics by the volcano and some cows. Later that night, we walked around the mall for exercise (as most people don’t seem to like to walk around too much here, we kind of have to force it) where we saw a giant Christmas tree that made us smile and think of home for a second.

I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary happening on Tuesday, but by night we’ve been watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother and have been drinking red wine – score! Wednesday we went to a neighborhood waterpark of sorts with Alexi’s uncle, to cool off for a bit. For $3.00, we got to go in 3 different pools, go down slides, swing from ropes into the pool, and lay in hammocks! We were also right by a yard full of cows and had a great view of the volcano – it was sweet! At one point, Lex tried to take a picture of me and I had stepped right in a pile of ants and had to quickly jump in the pool to get all the ants off of me! I only suffered about 4 itchy and painful bites, though…

Thursday morning, Alexi’s great aunt and uncle picked us up for the day and we first went to their friends house where they had fresh cilantro, pineapples, cinnamon, mangos, coconuts, and sweet potatoes growing in their yard. We sat on her patio and sipped fresh coconut juice. We then drove to an amazing beach house overlooking Cuco beach(they knew the caretaker there, but it’s owned by a doctor) that had an amazing set of stairs leading from the house down to a little view of the beach – epic! We then drove to the La Union section of El Salvador, to a place called Conchagua and had lunch (cheese and tortillas as most people here don’t understand that vegetarians eat everything but meat) and horchatas. We then paid a guy from the restaurant to take us up the volcano in his pick-up. We saw some amazing views of El Salvador and even parts of Honduras as we were up pretty high. It was an amazing day, but it was a bit frustrating as they all spoke very fast Spanish and Lex and I had a hard time keeping up. It’s funny(and frustrating) how your language skills seem to change by the day.

Friday, we spent most of the day relaxing. We went out with his grandma for lunch where she ordered us these delicious fried potato dumplings of sorts, and fried yucca plant. For dinner, we went out for pupusas with Lex’s cousins. I had 2 giant plantain and cheese pupusas and a horchata and ate so much I felt sick afterwards! There are so many delicious non-meaty things in Central America – it’s awesome!

Saturday, we were picked up by Alexi’s cousin Claudia and his great aunt(Claudia’s mom). Claudia speaks English and Spanish so it was awesome to be able to use our English for a day and to have her translate a bit for us, as well! We first went over to see Alexi’s little cousin, Marcos, who was very cute and smiled a lot. Then, Claudia drove us through the department of Morazon to Perquin to see the mountains where the Salvadorian guerrillas used to set up camp. We drove along the La Ruta de la Paz (The Peace Route) to get there, which is a beautiful and scenic drive from San Miguel. We also visited the guerrilla museum and saw where the Guerrilla Radio used to be set up. It was amazing to see the actual trenches, tunnels, and weapons that they used. We also walked up the side of a mountain, where the guerrillas used to camp and hide and saw pieces of land that had been bombed and saw the trail leading up to where the radio transmitter used to be. You can’t walk up to the spot of the old transmitter without an old guerrilla soldier, as it’s covered with land mines and if you don’t step correctly, you could die! After the museum, we ate lunch at a cute café and chatted in English and Spanish while eating bean and cheese pupusas!

Yesterday, Alexi went to get his 4th rabies shot in the morning with his doctor cousin Erik (only 1 more shot left!) while I stayed at home and got ready. Then Claudia came to pick us up to take us to the beach – beach day! We drove for about 45 minutes to get to Cuco Beach and went to a cute bungalow beach hotel that had a swimming pool, little huts and a great view of the ocean. We spent the day laying out, drinking pina coladas, swimming in the pool, wading in the ocean, and enjoying the sun! It was amazing! I am now a bit too tan for my own good, but I’m not complaining. After the beach, we drove back to San Miguel and went to Metro Centro (the mall) to walk around for a bit. We then went and got some ice cream before heading home! Claudia is a great tour guide!

El Salvador is a very interesting country – in the cities there is so much going on – everyone is selling something, there is a lot of commercialism and a big U.S. influence, but if you drive 45 minutes or so, you can be in a quiet, green and beautiful town by a beach or in the mountains. I much prefer the pretty green smaller towns to the hot and busy cities here, but both are definitely worth checking out.

Even more pictures! There is a picture of some deer we randomly saw in a yard, a pic of Lex’s uncle with a mariachi singer, one of Lex standing in front of the garage door of his grandparent’s house in San Miguel, lots of pictures of us with guns at the guerrilla museum, and more!

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