Sunday, June 26, 2011

San Salvador

So M. and I have been taking taxis everywhere cause we don't know how the buses work here and we're lazy. Taxis are about $5 to most places, we took one to Walmart yesterday and tonight we decided to go out to a real restaurant. I looked up some restaurants on tripadvisor and made a little list of them and their addresses. We decided on a Brazilian place called Fascia do Brasil. No phone # was listed and the address just said Blvd de los Heroes & Av Sisimiles. So we got in a cab and of course we couldn't find it* so we headed to another place on the list, La Pampa Argentina. I think this is a chain since I've seen three different locations so far but the food was good. We were the only ones in there but I attribute that to us eating at 3:30 like senior citizens.

So after we finished, we went outside and briefly debated taking the bus but then some one sketchy walked by and we figured we'd just take a taxi. A man from the restaurant came down and asked if we'd like him to call a taxi for us. We asked how much and he called and they said $7. we look like suckers? We know taxis shouldn't cost more than $5 so we said no thank you and we walked down the street a bit to hail one. Hmm, 15 minutes later and all the taxis that have passed are occupied. We kept seeing them cross on the other side of the street, so we crossed....10 minutes later, still no taxi. Finally we see one on the other side of the street and we signal it and it makes a u-turn for us. It pulls up and we agree on $5 and we get in. It's a beater that racing accessories all over it and a fire extinguisher mounted to the front dash.

We get to the hotel and the valet signals to the driver to pull up ahead but either he didn't see him or didn't care, I got out and shut the door while M. paid. The valet is staring hard at the driver and I heard the taxi cut off. M. opened the door and the alarm went off and the poor driver could not get it to stop. We're walking inside, alarm still going off, and I looked back and they're pushing the taxi away.

Tomorrow, we're off to get the police document we need and then taking the bus back to the campo!

*I googled Fascia do Brasil when we got back and it's located inside of the Intercontinental Hotel, which is why didn't see it.
Fernando Llort painting at the Museum of Modern Art (MARTE)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A new friend

I'm the type of person who at a party where I don't know anyone, you'll probably find me playing with the family pet. Socially awkward? Anyway, I miss my cats like crazy, probably more than my family cause I can't talk to them on the phone. So one day last week, a kitten about 3 months old came wandering into the house meowing like crazy. I fed it a hotdog (weird fact:hotdogs here are raw and individually wrapped in a plastic casing). Well it comes by everyday now for lunch and dinner. I would like to think it's my cat but it doesn't spend that much time here since it eats and runs. I bought it some friskies (the only canned food available here) and some dry food. In just a week of eating, it looks so much healthier. Now there was some confusion about whether it was a boy or a girl. It looks like a girl but after studying pictures online and looking under its tail repeatedly, I'm fairly certain it's a boy. Of course I named him Joey. While here in San Salvador I went to Walmart for the sole purpose of buying a pillow (for me) and toys and treats for Joey.

I'd catch a granadilla for you

So the bathroom as most of you know is an outhouse or latrine. It's not that bad, the one at our house has a toilet seat on top of the concrete "toilet". So we were visiting M's niece's house and I knew I couldn't make it home, I would have to use her bathroom. It was dark out and she gave me a key because they keep their's locked because they have some materials stored in there. By this time I had held it so long I was about to pee myself and I had my flashlight lighting the way in front of me (pointed at the ground) as I ran to the bathroom when BOOM!!

I was attacked by a low hanging fruit. This green fruit is a granadilla and it hit me right in the forehead! Yesterday she brought us a ripe one but we haven't tried it yet. Now I've never seen this fruit before but google seems to think it's a passion fruit. It doesn't look like the passion fruits on wikipedia but there's a picture of a similar one on this wiki page.

This post is brought to you courtesy of the makers of AIR CONDITIONING

We're here in San Salvador. We survived our first two weeks in the campo and we had to come to the city to get some documents. Like all bad bloggers, I've been meaning to blog but haven't. Really, I'm not a blogger anyway and I've been too sweaty to type. This post may be overly long, just to warn you.
Pre-departure June 14
We had a lot of luggage. We were carrying about 50 lbs of Victoria's Secret lotions as gifts, clothes for El Salvador, as well as winter clothes for Spain. We also managed to shove a full size floor pedestal fan in there too. I had called American Airlines to check on the baggage situation which was relayed to me as follows: each passenger is allowed one personal item, one carryon, and one checked bag (50lbs) free. 2nd checked bag is $30 and each additional bag is $100, up to 5 checked bags. Overweight bags are an additional $60. Well, together we had the four bags, plus one additional bag, plus carryons. We arrived at the airport and began the process of running back and forth to the luggage scale to get our bags at 50lbs exactly. Oh, this bag is 50.5.......take out a lotion and put it in the other bag. Wait this bag is 49.5, add one shoe. Finally we had it down to four 50lb bags and one overweight bag. Time to check in, finally. We go to the kiosk and check our bags and pay the 2nd bag fee for each of us but I can't pay for the 3rd (5th) bag. So I head to the counter, and the guy tells me there is some kind of embargo, 2 bags each, max. Imagine me internally having a mild heart attack. What do you mean there's an EMBARGO? OK, so no 3rd (5th) bag, but we can theoretically bring 4 overweight bags, right? Yes, except, effective TODAY, the price has increased from $60 to $100 per overweight bag. Now is when I wish we had bigger bags. Our bags are STUFFED. We had to leave behind a bunch of winter clothes and hope someone visits us.
The Flight
Uneventful. They made M. gate check his carryon because he said it wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. At least we didn't get charged for it. I watched a Modern Family marathon to get me through the flights.
We arrived, got our bags, and I paid my $10 and got 90 days. Then we went to customs. Similarly to Mexico, there's a big stoplight, you press a button and if it's green you get to go through, if it's red, you take all your luggage over to the side so they can search it. Of course we got red. So we got in line for them to look at our stuff and I started sweating. Not because I was trying to smuggle anything in but because there's no a/c in the airport and it's rather warm in there. Once outside we found his family and headed out.
I noticed this last time I was here too-when you first exit the airport, El Salvador smells like it's burning. Last time I arrived during daylight and noticed that like Kyrgyzstan, all the tree trunks along the road are painted white. Well this time it was dark and it suddenly clicked that with the absence of streetlights, the trees are painted white so you can see them and not crash into them.
We got to the family's house pretty late, like 11. M. decides this would be a great time to dump everything out of our bags and give everyone their gifts. I wanted to scream but I controlled myself and just let it go and then fell into bed exhausted.