Stacy's View on Things
You certainly don't have to read the whole thing - I just got carried away writing this on our new laptop computer while we were down there. In short - we had a great time, and it was good to really meet all of Lulu's family down there. Anyway here it is...
Hello from El Salvador,
This is Saturday (July 21) - I have been here about one week. Louise arrived on Monday June 25 and I arrived on July 13.
I arrived on a Friday and Louise picked me up at the airport. Good to see my family again. I am amazed at how easily I get through the customs with my big box (containing a wheelchair purchased through ebay in the States) for Lulu's cousin here. For some reason everybody entering is required to pay a $10 fee for entering the country. I am about to ask what the fee is for but I decide to wait at least a little while before causing trouble. I am told there is also a $25 fee for leaving the country (only payable in cash) and we are running a little low on cash right now!
Anyway - as I leave the customs area of the airport I see a mass of people outside in the waiting area. Fortunately Jonathan and David see me - Louise is tending to the car.
Just as I remember from my last trip here, all of Louise's relatives treat me
like some sort of royalty here - starting with the first night. Louise's
cousin Claudia and her family treat us to dinner the first night. A very
nice place and very crowded - grilled chicken, meat, etc. I have a couple
of Pilsener beers and we have a great time. The place seems to be a lot
like many popular sports bars and restaurants in the States - a lot of
young people. And they even have a game room for kids with a game of foosball.
They also have large screen TV's showing the soccer games. It seems to me
that it is a good sign for the El Salvador economy that so many local
people have enough money to spend on a pretty trendy place like this.
The next day - just goofing off we head to the mall. We are driving a
truck lent to us by Louise's cousin (Luis) who gets it for free from time
to time from Budget Rent a Car. It is air-conditioned and quite a treat to
have - but it will only last the weekend. Luis works as a sports reporter
on the local TV station (Canal 33) and wears a Budget hat and has a Budget mug that is
often visible when he is on TV. The mall is a lot like American style
malls - but of course some different things for sale. I try one of the
fancy coffee places and we buy some fancy dessert stuff for a treat.
Later that Saturday we are invited in the afternoon to a dance recital
(ballet) of the daughters of Raul (another cousin) ages about 5 and 10 I
think. It is wonderful but the music is so loud that I have to go outside
and look in the door.
That night we are treated to dinner again - this time by Luis at a place on
the beach. We drive about 30 miles from San Salvador and dine by a little
place (looks like a shack) that overlooks the ocean and serves absolutely fabulous
ceviche and fresh fish. (Check out the view at right) I am in such a good mood in this place that I
decide to buy Dave his first beer. He finishes before I do. (Then Luis
actually picked up the check - so he bought the beer).
The next morning we are off to the beach again with Claudia's family. The
traffic on the road this time (we take a different road) is horrible - they
are doing roadwork. Repairing damage from the earthquake - we see men
installing what looks like chicken fence wire to the cliffs along the side
of the road. It does not look to me like this will last for long!
When we finally get to the beach (a private club - Claudia has a friend who is a
member) it is VERY hot. But we have a nice lunch (except again the music
is way too loud) and enjoy the beach afterwards.
Returning that night we
stop in a pupuseria - serving more traditional El Salvador fare. It
includes pupusa's and platanos, etc. It is all very good and my stomach
seems to be holding out fine.
(Here are more pictures from that trip. Click thumbnail to enlarge.)
Lulu told me on the phone before arriving that San Salvador is noisy - and I agree. From traffic - to very loud music in the malls and restaurants it is loud. And there doesn't seem to be any law against putting loudspeakers on the top of your car and driving around advertising over the loudspeakers for whatever you want - again VERY loud. Everybody seems to ignore the noise - but it does wear on the nerves after a bit.
And stray dogs are everywhere. Don't understand that - it must be a health problem.
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