Saturday, April 7, 2012

Full Immersion in El Salvador

Chris and I celebrate with the locals at El Salvador's soccer win over Costa Rica    

   I remember the scene in "Eat, Pray, Love" where Julia Roberts enjoys a televised soccer game in an Italian piazza surrounded by locals and fellow expats. They all jump up and down and celebrate together when Italy scored the winning goal.

   This scene inspired me. I wanted to experience such a communal activity in my world travels!

   Well, imagine my happy surprise when I learned that the Latin American soccer championships would be played less than a mile from our anchorage right here in El Salvador!

I even became a face painter!

    OK, OK, it wasn't normal soccer -- it was beach soccer (a growing sport), but it was a big deal here in El Salvador -- nationally televised in prime time.

    A group of us walked the half mile to the constructed beach stadium and had a ball! Unfortunately the game was sold out, but just outside of the entrance was a grainy TV with tons of chairs all around for communal viewing of the game (Just like Julia Roberts!).    Mission accomplished!   :-)

   In other news, we took a trip into the nearby Salvadorian town of Zacatecoluca a few days ago with Ben and JP of "Jace."

                                              The boys fantasize about buying machetes --
                        evidently they see much rain forest bushwacking in our immediate future.
                         Fortunately they thought better of it and laid down their arms...for now.

This was an interesting sight under the bars of an impoverished Salvadorian home. What to make of it?

This adorable baby rests on a bed of greens for sale in the Zacatecoluca mercado. Parsley, anyone?

You know, you see scenes like this in mercados all over the third world. I would love to consider buying something but...hello? There are no labels on anything -- not even in Spanish! Sigh. I've got so much to learn. Fortunately, there was an American style grocery store in Zacatacoluca...

It's not a real visit to a third world country until you run into young American Mormon missionaries, as we did in the cookie aisle at the supermarket. They graciously posed for this photo for me (editorial comment: I think it's a bit cruel to make these nice young men wear long pants and ties in tropical countries!).

OK, so as we perused the aisles of the supermarket, you can imagine my shock when I tripped upon this sight in the coffee section:

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The coffee here is less than $2.00 a pound! (They use American dollars here in El Salvador.) $1.69 a pound for world class, locally grown fresh coffee!

O. M. G. 

I don't have to tell you the price of coffee in the states. 

We had had a tough few days aboard Espiritu -- a broken toilet, a broken macerator, a grumpy husband, a broken AIS and a whiny, fearful wife...(Captain Chris reminded me to add that the toilet, macerator and AIS have all since been repaired by his able hands...)

But when I saw the price of coffee in Central America -- (all of the brands were the same low, low, low price), I literally danced in the aisle! I ran around looking for other gringos to share this exceedingly good news with...I wanted to throw my arms around my new young Mormon friends and share the happy news, but then I remembered that this would only be cruel, as coffee is not on the agenda for them (another slightly sadistic item for these guys, IMHO)...

In other news, yesterday Chris and I explored the small island of Cordoncillo. We are moored right next door. 

It's a lovely, tranquil place:

Several fishing families live very simply on the island. There is no electricity -- after dark it is pitch black.

OK, this was super-freaky: check out these 2 inch bug carcasses along the bark of this coconut palm.  At least, I THINK they were carcasses -- or maybe they were just sleeping? They didn't move. Anyway, there were thousands of them all over the island. Were they gigantic bees, or cockroaches? We didn't know what in the hell they were. But they freaked me out. Welcome to Central America! (LOL)

A rather rustic and small volleyball net in the center of town

And of course, there's a soccer field. Not the low-tech goals, sans nets

A simple family dwelling on the island

Another island home

It was literally raining mangos in this wild grove on the island

Our wild mango booty


The Man Tree? (There goes my PG rating for the blog...) 

We found this old broken cassette of Christian music (in English) on the ground in a distant corner of the island. Evidently there have been missionaries in this remote outpost as well...


Fishing provides the basic sustenance of the islanders 

Another humble island home


A pretty little Isla Cordoncillo beach

This little beauty was my official introduction to tropical wildflowers.
 I have no idea what species she is -- but she's lovely, isn't she?

 One last thing: I've updated the name of this blog to "Diary of a Wimpy Cruiser" -- because I AM wimpy.  I'm Dorothy, the Small and the Meek. I'm afraid alot. It's how I've always been.  I worry. About my loved ones. Maybe I even worry about YOU. I worry about global warming. About the mast coming down. About my fellow cruisers LIKING me (how pathetic is that?!?!?!?!?).

 So on this trip, I seek courage. And self-reliance. I'm finding it, I think. It comes in fits and starts. Anyway, the journey continues...thanks for coming along!



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