Day 3

Looks like mornings are the best time to journal and blog during my vacation; Our days are filled with activities. Yesterday was great. We headed out to Juayua, a happening village that holds food festivals each weekend, and spent some time eating and perusing craft, vendor stalls. The road trip to Juayua took about one hour and was another reminder of God's beautiful creation as we took in the lush landscape and backdrop of volcanoes and mountains (which Jenny, Dave's coworker and our friend, informed me, "are mountains with a big hole in the middle" :)). Once in the town we were surrounded by brightly painted homes and seemingly everyone standing in their doorways or 'out and about' on the streets. We enjoyed the authentic cuisine and then explored around the town center. The weather shortly turned on us and we ended up taking sanctuary (pun intended) in a church.

Our next stop was local waterfalls. OMgoodness! Can we say B-E-A-U-tiful! The pics will just have to do it justice bc I cannot. It was fun! Worth mentioning is this cute kid who was our guide (yes, officially) and took us through the junglely (?) mountain to the waterfalls. He couldn't have been older than ten. He held our hand crossing little bridges and always looked over his shoulder to make sure the whole group was following. Isn't it true that the people of a country display it's worth?

Disaster struck as we tried to drive our truck back up the unpaved, steep road we had traveled on to get to the waterfalls. Reid should have been driving up bc he has the most experience with 4 wheel drives, manual transmission and off- roading. But anyway, it was doomed for failure with all of us piled up in the car and slowly trekking up the muddy road. Luckily, a few locals were with us and after we unloaded and chains were put on the tires, Reid saved the day and drove the truck safely past the most treacherous part of the trail. And a big shout out to God who had control of the weather and daylight (not to mention who rules the universe, too) and helped us get out just in time. Thank you!

A steak and potato dinner at Los Ranchos topped off the evening. Mucho Gusto!!


We've arrived

Bueno! It's Saturday morning and it has been a relaxing and fun 2 days in El Salvador. I'm getting the chance to blog bc some of us are still asleep this am. Here's a quick (hopefully) rundown of some of the activities (with commentary, of course :)) we have managed to experience.

1. Stopping at a road side vendor for some coconut water. A local woman used a machete to carve out the top of the coconut and stuck a bright green straw it it and for $0.50 we were locals! I had tasted coco water in Honduras and at room temp like we had... it must be an acquired taste. Haven't gotten there yet.

2. Getting caught in a torrent of rain on the road and hopping out of the truck to load our luggage in the back seat with me and Tab so we could avoid wet laundry. When you're from AZ, getting caught in the rain is FU- UN!

3. Taking a walk up by Dave's condo (pretty comfortable digs) with Tab and getting some great views and pics of the city. Very green, lush landscaping and humidity you can taste. We met Ricoberto, a 60 y/o patrolmen with a shotgun slung over his shoulder who carried on a 40 minute conversation in Spanish with us. Did I mention our Spanish is almost non-existent? He was a pleasure.

4. Local restaurant where we had tortas & tacos for $3/person.

5. Poker night at a co-workers house. Seems like the US airways, Southwest guys, and TACA team all get along :) We met Jenny, a fabulous El Salvadoran who I'm sure we will see again.

That was all day 1!

Yesterday, we relaxed at the ocean on a beach down by a mountainside. Nestled in the mountainside were restaurants, hotels and homes and we got our own private little area strung out with hammocks and chairs. The sound of the waves breaking against the rocks was our own loud, real-life "relaxation sound machine". The sand was black but very fine and soft under our feet. Bliss.

After sundown at 6pm, we went home and managed to get all the sand off of our 1000 body parts and it was on to a Japanese restaurant that David (who lived for 2 years in Japan) has proclaimed authentic and the best in El Salvador. I ended up ordering the Volcan Roll- yummy.

Some of the best part of the trip has been spending time chatting and enjoying each others company so I would be remiss if I didn't mention that we finally found ourselves dosing off after midnight after laughter and some ribbing between Tab, Reid, Dave and myself. Hey, most of the ribbing happened to be at my expense....hmmmm.


El Pollo Loco

Courtesy of the lonely planet's website and travel book I recently picked up, I've explored a little bit of El Salvador. Going to be there during the wet season so not really the ideal time to go. But, dry season starts in November so maybe we'll get lucky and catch a break with the weather. I'll be there 9/24- 10/03. The travel book lists 5 "essential experiences"... I'll post them the next few days and it can foster the growth of excitement that' s starting to bud.

* Book says, "Visiting the weekend food fair at Juayua"

Website: Juayúa (pronounced 'why-you-uh') is awesome - no two ways around it. Besides attractive colonial architecture, a pleasant central plaza, and a historic church - gotta have one of those - Juayúa also hosts a wildly successful weekend feria gastronómica (food festival), when local and invited restaurateurs serve terrific food at tables set up around the parque central. The event draws scads of local and international tourists, and has been copied by towns throughout El Salvador - though none quite equal it. Around Juayúa are excellent hiking and other eco-outdoorsy activities, from rappelling down waterfalls to mountain biking in private fincas (coffee plantations). For something less sweaty, you can take a tour of a coffee processing plant or - if you come midweek - simply soak in Juayúa's small-town charm.

I REALLY need to figure out my camera before this trip!


Catch up

Mmmmm. Slept in today and am looking forward to a day of indulgences on my day off. I worked my 6 day "stretch", as I call it, and now have 6 days off work. I am going to attend a memorial service tomorrow for a little baby I took care of at work and that will be bittersweet. Otherwise, plans are flexible. I just found out that the Romanian Baptist Convention is in Phoenix this weekend.... that might be something "building" to attend. The usual RO, Pente convention is in Sacramento this year. It's been years since I've attended. They were anticipated and exciting in teen/early20 years... my how things change.