So, my most recent salvadoran learning experience has been looking for a car, and then actually buying. I thought I'd found one, but they sold it mere hours before I got back to take it to the mechanic. Friday night I stopped by a lot close to my house, and found another one, a 2001 VW Gol. So, I went back Saturday morning with a friend, she test drove it, and I ended up "reserving" the car so I could take it to a mechanic on Monday to have it looked over.
And now I have it, ha ha ha! And a license! And I've only stalled it once (it's a standard, which I haven't driven for a while), and that was because I forgot that I wasn't driving an automatic anymore. This is exciting, since traffic is not much fun in San Salvador (check out this person's rantings for more on that, in Spanish), but I've yet to drive anywhere other than work and back on a weekday because I'm not yet sure how to deal with the craziness. By craziness, I mean the following: (1) no one follows the traffic rules unless the police are around, and maybe not even then, (2) most roads have no names, and if they do have a name, most people don't know it, (3) which makes it really, really hard to find anything, unless it's a large enough landmark to be visible from Google Earth, (4) drivers have no respect for other drivers, or pedestrians, (5) you're not really supposed to make left-hand turns in most places, and (6) there's very large, steep hills with lots of these kinds of drivers.
I took my first road trip yesterday with a friend to Coatepeque and Santa Ana, which are about an hour away from San Salvador, and not so awful far from the Guatemalan border. I was excited to drive my car, she was excited to drive the lancha, and there was good food involved, so it was a success overall! Only bad thing was that I had two sets of camera batteries die on me, so I lost some pictures. I also haven't seen much of the country other than a beach or two outside of travel for work, so it was nice to get out of my house, out of the city, and away from my computer. I came back exhausted, then went out and danced. It's funny how after months of not having much of a life, I all of the sudden have things to do (not even depending on the car, really).
Then today, I went with some people from CCS on the ruta de las flores, which involved more food, towns with cute plazas and beautiful churches, and a nasty breeze, since the weather all of the sudden changed last night and got cold. The lady visiting from New York thought it was amusing that we were all cold, coming from snow and negative digits. Only bad thing is that I slept most of the way back, so between that and numerous unmarked turns, I'm not sure if I could find these places on my own!