Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cancún Christmas

So this was my Christmas and after...on the beach in Cancún. I love México, but Cancún does not in any way resemble the México that I love. It does have nice beaches, though, and I got to see one of the new wonders of the world, Chichen Itzá, along with its swarms of tourists. This reminds me of several points that I want to mention:
  1. Flying in Central America sucks. On the trip there, I had a flight from San Salvador to Guate, Guate to Flores, then Flores to Cancún. Note distances on map. Seriously, I could have driven to Guate faster than the nasty process of flying let me. On the way back, the flight was 2.5 hours late and I had to run to catch my next flight, after having circled around the city several times. This was also the flight where we were served the "leftovers" from the last trip. They didn't have any water. Which sucks, when you're sitting on the plane in Cancún with all the doors open for over an hour. But the amusing German couple sitting across from me (there was only 5 of us, plus the flight attendant) made it worth it. And the flight was almost $600...uggggggh Taca.
  2. I could not acquire Mexican food at the hotel. And anything in the hotel zone was expensive and not really what I was looking for. Is it too much to ask to have tortillas at every meal? I've been in Latin America too long, I think. But seriously, not even Christmas dinner was Mexican.
  3. Tour guides should not joke about giving tourist iguana for lunch. It's not that bad, and really, anything's good when you put picante and tortillas with it.
  4. It was still nice to see my parents!
When I go back to the Yucatán, I'd love to see all of the little places that a large tour bus would never take you to. Some day....

And this is the after part. I was in San Salvador for New Year's Eve. I'd been warned before that Salvadorans love to set off firecrackers and fireworks (cohetes), but did not really understand to what extent! My dislike for fireworks as a child has not changed...and here the fun part is that the dust and smoke in the aftermath makes it a little hard to breathe or see when you're driving your car. Just like a foggy morning in Northwest Ohio! And check out New Year's day sky...this is not a normal cloud!

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Christmas Cookies

I decided that in order to be more in the Christmas spirit this year I needed to make some cookies, cause it just doesn't feel like Christmas here when it's 85 degrees and sunny. Finding all the ingredients was a bit of a hassle, since according to what the grocery stores have, salvadoreños only cook things from a box. I had a hard time finding chocolate to bake with, a cookie sheet, and cookie cutter, among other things. But I had a fun time making them, and even more so giving them away!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas 2007

This is the second year that I've gone with the Centro Cultural Salvadoreño Americano to deliver toys to various places. This year we went to the Hogar del Niño orphanage, Carcel de Mujeres, and to Centro Escolar Ochupse Arriba outside of Santa Ana. Toys, candy, and cookies are collected at CCS during the end of November and the beginning of December. It's been a lot of fun to dress up and go play with the kids, although a lot of them aren't sure what a M&M is. They like the big white hands, though! One of the teachers, Cecil, dresses up as Santa, and there's usually some clowns and other characters as well.

At C.E. Ochupse Arriba with Santa and Mr. Flamenco

With Santa

Beating up the pi

At the orphanage

Playing games at Hogar del Ni

Monday, December 10, 2007


Even though it's almost vacation time here, Edwin and I decided to take a little trip to Miramundo, on the El Salvador / Honduras border in Chaletenango. It's one of the few places that actually gets cooooooldddd in El Salvador (3° C at night while we were there). I could see my breath, which I thought was kind of funny. Most tourists seem to drink to keep warm, since there's no heat and most restaurants and such are open-air, which isn't so pleasant when you can't feel your toes! But the views make up for the cold. You can see all the volcanoes in the western part of El Salvador, and neat things like trees, flowers, and birds, which you don't see much of in San Salvador! We got there Saturday afternoon and took what was supposed to be a little walk to see where they grow veggies and strawberries, but the person who told us this was a 15 minute walk apparently forgot that walking and driving do not require the same amount of time. Hostal Miramundo, where we stayed, was cute but way too cold. The shower did indeed have hot water, but I couldn't bare to put my feet on the tile floor. I liked how Christmas dinner was roaming around in the yard (guinea hens and turkies, which are called chompipes). I'm half-tempted to buy a chompipe, park my car in the street for a while, and tie up my chompipe in my parking space until he's ready for dinner. I'm sure the neighbors would love that!

Sunday we went to see Rio S
umpul and a little waterfall (which was actually in Honduras), along with a veggie plantation. Although I enjoyed the trip overall, the lack of infrastructure in touristic places sometimes bothers me, especially since there's such a big movement to start promoting ES as a tourist destination. When we went to the river, the mini bus left an hour and a half after they said it would. That I'm used to. Our tour guide, however, dumped her trash along the path at the waterfall (not even in her own country, mind you), and let people cut wildflowers and pull up plants to take with them. I can forgive lateness, but the rest really bothers me.

We also had some "little" tour guides at the river--three 7 or 8 year olds who followed us around everywhere and pulled up plants for me that I then proceeded to hide again. They were quite cute and helpful. Overall, quite a nice escape from the noise and craziness of San Salvador at Christmastime!