Just sort of absorbing...

Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of El Salvador  ,
Monday, July 9, 2007

So I've finally made it to El Salvador, known for its civil wars and general scariness for any gringa travelling alone.  No one really comes here, which is at least half the reason why I wanted to.  Well, that and the good food, beautiful scenery, and overwhelmingly friendly people.  So here I am, after hours on various chicken buses and a couple of walks across border points, in a little town called Juayua.  It's a sleepy little place with a beautiful church and central square, cute in a not manacured for tourists way.  I arrived last night in time for its infamous food festival, when all of San Salvador mobs the streets for what could have been a scene from US street bbq and festival...well accept that the man singing in the street did so in Spanish and instead of hamburgers I was treated to pollo churriasco con tortillas y ensalada.  Instead of cheap I heart NY or DC shirts, vendors laid out everything from peanuts to bras, handicrafts to pirated movies.  When the live music stopped and the regatone, the inevitable regatone, came on, a little boy danced in front of the speakers.  And unlike in the States, he was quite good, and completely oblivious to those around him watching.  Finally fatigue and rain (it is the rainy season afterall) drove me back to my room, stuffed and content. 

This morning I woke up to bells ringing in the nearby church, and maybe it was just my imagination or the fogginess of sleep still hanging over me, but I thought I heard singing too.  After a breakfast sitting up on the roof overlooking this gorgeous little town and the surrounding peaks, I headed out for a little walk.  The scene was much quieter with that same surprising silence that follows a big party night, that subdued getting on with life of "the day after".  I strolled along the streets, already starting to heat up, when I heard some music.  Following the sounds of percussion, I stumbled upon what seemed to be an elementary school drum band.  They were just fooling around practicing, laughing when someone messed up, but still serious about their song and amazingly talented for ones so young.  I thought back to my own kids and thought how much they would love to have drums, to be in a band.  Moving along, I decided to go for an ice cream because sometimes ice cream in the morning just tastes good.  And then I sat in the square and people watched, though there really weren't that many people out.  I giggled with a little girl dancing around between the trees, so much like me at that age.  I watched as her older brother sold shaved ice from a bicycle-powered stand while taking care of their brother who must have been no more than two years old.  The bicycle was way too big for the kid and I wondered how they got there, if a parent or older brother was nearby keeping an eye on them.  And why weren't they in school?  In the next bench over a man who had obviously spent the night in the park was just waking up.  A little old woman passed by and asked what time it was.  I had no idea and said so, and then we just stood there together taking in the day.  Another, even littler, old lady then came up behind her and in a move more remeniscent of a five year old than someone of her advanced years grabbed the back of her neck.  My first woman looked the wrong way and then the other, both giggling when she finally saw her friend.  And then they both looked at me, including me in their giggles.  Again, they asked what time it was.  I was about to reply that I really had no idea when the church bells started to ring.  Doce?  Si, yo creo que si.  And off they went, chatting and giggling.  I too got up to continue my walk, and the man sitting on the bench across from me called out to me, "Paseo, hija!" 

So no, there are no major ruins to see in El Salvador, no major "sights" in the traditional sense of the word, but there are people here, beautiful people.  And there are beautiful places to sight and just absorb the loveliness of your surroundings.  This is why I'm here.  To absorb a bit, to relax a bit, to just slow down and be.
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dadofdivaboots on

...autiful entry, Lacey. You capture the essence of El Salvador so well. Enjoy...and be!

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