. Not WORK. And itīs not like I even minded that much when Manolo asked me to help fertilize the plants. Frida, the other inhabitant of the hostel, had been here before and promised that it was only going to be like half an hour. And even after an hour of work I didnīt even really care all that much. Itīs a good story I kept telling myself as I sprinkled each little plant with little white rocks and fended off Manoloīs increasingly annoying attempts to kiss me. But the second hour was not fun anymore. And when we finally went to lunch in the little tin house of one of the workers, I sighed with relief at the idea of finally going home. That hammock from the day before was calling me. But no. The slave labor was not done yet. Now it was time to fertilize the bigger plants. Manolo promised that it would only be an hour more, and now Frida was with us, so no more attempted kisses. I could handle that. Two hours later, hot, dirty, and dead tired we made it back to the hostel. Finally laying in the hammock outside my room, I thanked god that I was not a coffee farmer. Some things just sound more romantic than they actually are.
The next day it was finally time to hike through El Impossible, the reason I had come to Tacuba. Four more travelers had arrived, a french couple and two Canadian guys, so the six of us jumped into the back of Manoloīs truck to make our way to the park. Clinging to the sides of the pick up and dodging low hanging branches, we marvelled at the beautiful countryside. At one point we could see the town of Tacuba, Guatemala, and the ocean. When we finally reached the "entrance" to the park, we scampered down with sore butts from the bumpy road and scratched arms from the branches, but we were ready to go. And it was an amazing hike. As Manolo swung his machete to clear a path, we followed in silence, clinging to roots and branches, sliding down the hillside
. There was no real trail, and Manolo had to stop every ten feet or so to decide where to go next. Eventually we ended up at this pretty little stream fed by a waterfall. And of course, as this seems to be a trend in Central America, if there is a waterfall, it needs to be climbed by a rope. One by one we climbed up behind the water, held up only by Manolo and a fraying rope. Dangerous? Yes, of course. But I live in a place where it is normal for a two year old to play with a machete. After bean sandwiches and bananas for lunch, we continued into the forest. Yeah, there were no monkeys or crazy wildlife, but it was beautiful and, best of all, there were no other tourists. This is why I came to El Salvador. Beauty and peace. And Manolo had now switched his attentions to Frida, who was much more receptive to his advances, so I was once again guarenteed peace. After bouncing our way back to town, we all sat on the top deck of the hostel, chatted, and watched a gorgeous sunset over the mountains. For dinner we had a marvelous feast courtesy of Manoloīs mother, serenaded by Manoloīs father on the guitar, and further entertained by the escapades of Rex.
And so my El Salvador sadly adventure comes to an end, with music and laughter.
I stood up for a second, my back aching, the sweat dripping from my forehead, and my hands filthy with dirt. Manolo was chattering away about something, which was actually better than more questions about why I didnīt have a boyfriend (I was getting so sick of that question!) and had I ever been with a Latin man (another oh so original question I was getting tired of answering). I looked at the plants that I had already fertilized...and then at the rows of others yet to be taken care of. And I wondered to myself, "How HELL did I get myself into this one?" I had arrived in Tacuba the day before, had a nice nap, a nice little chat (in Spanish!) with Manoloīs parents (also the owners of the hostel), and a great cup of coffee. I had played with the adorable little cocker puppy strangely named Rex. I had gone to the bar, had a few drinks, some pupusas, and listened the music...and Manolo talk. When I had been asked to see the coffee finca I thought it would be fun. I thought Iīd get some pictures, maybe help out a bit, but the key word was SEE