Thursday, July 26, 2007

Parque Nacional El Imposible

I took a two day trip to El Imposible National Park before heading back to Ohio on was a nice escape from San Salvador.

El Imposible is one of the few natural areas in the country, possessing the most species of plants and animals of any one place here. I didn't get to see any of the animals or birds this time around, other than lots of butterflies, mosquitos, and spiders, but it was truly a beautiful place. I also like Hostal El Imposible, the first eco-anything I've seen here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Boquerón 1 & 2, and Cerro Verde

Finally, after almost a year of being here, I got to go up (at least part of the way) the volcano in San Salvador. Maybe halfway up is a town/area called El Boquerón, also the name of the crater at the top. I went to a going away party at Café El Volcan one day, then a couple of days later went to have lunch at Café Miranda and to see Café San Fernando. Too bad all of San Salvador can't be so nice!

And then, last weekend I went to Cerro Verde, part of Parque Nacional Los Volcanes, with a friend. Beautiful, but unfortunate, since pretty much everything I wanted to see was covered in fog. It's actually an old volcano (last errupted some 25,000 years ago), even though cerro means hill in Spanish. The park also includes the Santa Ana volcano, called Ilamatepec, which is active now, and a very nice conical-shaped volcano called Izcalco.

Here's my pictures...enjoy!

El Boquerón and Cerro Verde

Guatemala Trip

I’ve been out and about a lot lately. From June 28 to July 8, I took a work/fun trip to Guatemala. I was traveling with one of the other ELFs, her husband, and another one of the presenters from the conference that I went to. In all, Guatemala was a little bit disappointing, after having heard so much about it for so long. Yes, the places were naturally beautiful, but the vendors in the street were just as bad as Colombia, which was unexpected and certainly unwanted after a year in El Salvador, where the only time people try to get me to buy something is when I’m in my car stopped at a red light. I was also surprised at how beautiful parts of Guatemala City are, after having heard it was a bit ugly. Ten times better than San Salvador (sorry El Salvador, but really, you could plant some more trees and flowers). Maybe that’s because there’s still trees left there.

The bus only took about 4 hours from San Sal to Guate (yea, Pullmantur, with its first-class leather seats and champagne), and had a very tasty Thai-fusion lunch at a place called Tamarindo’s. I think the real highlight of the whole trip was the food...we ate at a large quantity of yummy restaurants. In a whole year in El Salvador, I’ve only once had food at a place that I knew I’d really want to go back to again (Bahia de Juiquilisco, Puerto El Triunfo). San Salvador, why do you not have tasty food? You have good food, but not mouth-watering, ever. In Antigua, we had dinner at a place called El Mesón Panza Verde, which was excellent, and some very yummy chocolate from Chocotenango. I’d go back to Antigua in a minute, more for the food than anything else. In Panajachel, Lake Atitlán was as beautiful as they say it is. We went on a boat trip to three of the towns on the banks of the lake: San Marcos La Laguna, San Pedro La Laguna, and San Antonio Palopó . In Xela, there was a good tapas place that I don’t remember the name of now.

Most of the time I was in Guatemala I was in Xela, where I presented on using drama in the language classroom at the Regional Conference for Teachers of English at the Instituto Guatemalteco Americano (IGA). Overall, a good trip, and yes, I would go back.

Questions that linger in my Guatemala as dangerous as Salvadorans make it out to be? Don’t know. By the end of my stay, I felt like I could have driven to Xela without problems, but maybe that’s my innocent self. The roads don’t even compare to the quality of those in El Salvador, so I think my biggest fear would be having some mechanical problem out in the middle of nowhere (there’s a lot more out in the middle of nowhere than in El Salvador).