Hello Dear Family & Friends!
can do everything, but everyone can do something."
The smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, El Salvador, is also the least visited. A 'bad boy' reputation during the vicious 1980's civil war and the gang violence in the 1990's has all faded away and those travelers ready for an adventure far from the throngs of Costa Rica are in for a treat. It was rare to see another group of travelers for days on end as we traveled the highlands through mountains and tiny villages. This is the land of fresh roasting coffee. We got a buzz just from smelling the aroma in mountain village after village. Artisans sold their bright wares in colorful markets in Las Palmas and Antegracias. The gem of the rough and wild north is the unspoilt colonial city of Suchitoto, perched like a crown on the ridge above massive Suchitlan Lake.
Suchitoto was a definite highlight as we sat in the colonial Central Plaza, across from Iglesia Santa Lucia enjoying 'pupusas' or stuffed tortillas with our Salvadorian neighbors. . The pupusa is so fundamental to the cuisine of El Salvador that the country has even declared November 13th "National Pupusa Day." Pupusas are tortillas stuffed with meat, beans, cheese and the sound of slapping corn tortillas can be heard everywhere, Our favorite were the crispy pupusas filled with beans, onions, and shredded vegetables, served with a side of pickled vegetables and tomato sauce. Otherwise rice and beans, potatoes and some type of vegetables were always available in the tiny 'comedors' on every corner. We wandered through the busy market enjoying our daily coconut and maybe a handful of freshly cooked yucca chips. And people ask, "What can you eat as a vegan while traveling?" Of course I cook most of the time, for our once daily cooked meal, pulling out the spices from around the world that add the 'spice of life' to our day. We loved just strolling the side cobblestone streets, feeling the history that emanated from the old colonial buildings lining the narrow roads. This is a place you plan to pass through for a day or two and get stuck for a week.
This was not always the quiet little town it is today. The area was the scene of some of the worst fighting in the civil war, when 90% of the population left, as the army fought this guerillas stronghold. It was largely resettled by ex-guerillas after the fighting stopped and today aside from a few bullet holes in the century old walls there is zero clue as to the hardships endured in this quiet little berg.
Every country has their myths and legends. Citipio is the rascal or mischief maker of Salvadorian tales. His Mother Siguanaba, was banished when the god Tlaloc discovered she had a lover. Her name was changed from the beautiful one to the horrible one. She appears to lone men, usually seducers of women when they travel, but trying to get close to her she changes into an ugly old woman. Her little boy, Citipio, has since wandered the countryside in tattered pants, a poncho, and a large straw hat. He throws pebbles at beautiful girls when they are bathing in the river. Only eating bananas and the ashes of cold cooking fires he gets blamed for messes in the kitchen. Next time mischief is underfoot have a look around for that straw hat and bare belly!
We enjoyed a couple of days in the capitol, San Salvador. Wandering through the markets we found Koradi (9A Ave Sur) a vegetarian restaurant tucked away less than half a block away from the cacophony of stalls selling absolutely everything. On Sunday afternoon we wandered into a magnificent old colonial mansion off the square hosting orchestras, Salvadorian beatnik poetry readers, food stalls, and traditional or creative dance performances; amid the colonial columns, fountains and gardens. What a wonderful cultural arts festival to happen upon.
Feeling the need to reconnect with the ocean we found ourselves hurtling down the windy road to the coast. A surfers haven, many of the beaches are party scenes. We randomly chose one further along, figuring most heavy partiers would get stuck at the first few. Thrown off the bus around km 53 we walked down the steep hill to the beach. We spent one night with a courtyard full of surfers swapping wave tales then waded across the small river to the long grey sand expanse of Playa El Zonte. Finding the only quiet little local 'Hotelito' Casa de Frida' on the beach, we settled in for 4 days, walking for miles, swimming, reading and just relaxing from our wild hair raising trip through the mountains.Taking the time to stay in one place for a while, simply relaxing, is the key to the success of our travels. Most people go away for a couple of weeks or a month, racing from here to there to take it all in before returning home, exhausted but happy. It is great to get out and explore the world but it would be impossible to keep up that pace for long. We don't look at the overwhelming big picture of visiting S. America, let's say. We just enjoy being in one town of S. America at a time. Right here, right now, today is great and most days are great! Worrying about what might happen is a waste of energy, causing unneeded stress. Stress takes the enjoyment out of the day, out of the moment, out of life. Home or abroad. The world is our home and change is our constant. Traveling along, enjoying each day as it unfolds, is our life. We are ever thankful to be enjoying our lives, forced into the NOW and discovering daily what a magnificent world we all share!
And so it goes.........................................Next traveling through no man's land into Guatemala, where we flew off to our home in Hawaii to visit family and friends. Until next month Keep Smiling and remember that you Do makes a difference in the world as you reach out to help those around you, in whatever way you feel led. We can't do everything but we can each do something to make a difference. We are glad you stopped by. Thanks for dropping us a note once in a while! Take care!
Love, Light & Laughter,
$1.00US = $1.00 US (Dollars used here after the collapse of the economy)
Take a walk to the amazing view hotel described below (Lost the name sorry) Then take a tuk tuk down with all your stuff, and vegetables from the market to cook in the modern kitchen. There is a restaurant just up the hill and it's not a long distance to town without lots of baggage. From the central plaza, church on your right, walk down the streets (far left side of plaza, towards the ridge overlooking the lake) NOT along the road that the little bus takes down to the lake. Turn left when you can't go any further. Follow ridge - at end turn right down the hill. Hotel on your right.
Costa Brava: cliffside, just up the hill from Fritas, phone # 70259934 great view,
very basic rooms but the living/eating area has a
wonderful view. $20/double
Below are a few of the items for sale or people you