Sunday, June 24, 2007

and on the seventh day god created bolos

so today i encountered like 10 drunks from apaneca to ataco and let me tell you, these dudes were off the charts drunk. sunday seems to be the day for drinking round these parts...not just for the regulars, but folks who normally seem to keep it under the radar are out celebrating their last day of the weekend. seeing bolos around here can leave you feeling both sad and entertained. you see them passed out wherever they last fall...many times, in the middle of the street, but lots of times on the street corner by the stop signs or in whatever closed storefront they manage to get themselves to. and in the most uncomfortable-looking positions too. there is one bolo in ataco they call ¨labios sexy¨ (sexy lips), because, well...back to the ingenious nicknaming of people...he´s got big ´ol angelina jolie x 10 lips. he´s a crazy fella...but very polite. as opposed to some of the others who are relentless with the local folk. but when they see me it´s a whole other ballgame. the only thing to do is flee because the unwanted bolo attention is probably the worst, most embarassing attention you can get.

late on sunday nights sometimes i am awakened by the louder than usual chucho chorus on the street outside my window. i´m like ¨what the hell?¨ and then i hear voices and it´s a couple of bolos shooting the shit on the street, until one of them passes out on the sidewalk near my window. the other one usually sits there trying to either get the other one up, or still randomly talking to him as the other one snores.there are tons of AA centers around here, and back in molineros papa ovidio told me that he was a member of AA and went to his meetings on sunday mornings. now i know why the meetings were on sundays...apparently it´s the day that a reformed alcoholics feel they´ll most likely fall off the wagon since it´s boloday in el salvador. papa ovidio pointed out to me that dr. bob smith was the founder of AA. i about spit out the horchata i was drinking at the time when he mentioned this to me, because, see dr. bob is from akron. and my friend eric, who´s from akron, likes to point this out to everyone all the time. he even showed me his old house in akron. so anyway, it´s best to try and stay in on sundays just to avoid the effects of the all-day drinking binges these bolos go on.

a couple weekends ago my friends jon and katie came to visit me here in apaneca. you might all remember jon as the volunteer who came to visit me for immersion day back in october. he's married and his wife katie and he are doing their volunteer work juntos up in the mountains of chalatenango. they wanted to visit as well as see some of the flower viveros to get some ideas about how to start one up in their site. our climates are similar: cool mountain air, rarely sweltering hot, nice and fresco. jon also wanted to visit don jaime (the guy he stayed with during immersion day), who has now built up el rosario into this centro de negocios where he has jaripeos (rodeos) and a restaurant and all this other stuff. anyway, we headed over there on a saturday morning after visiting finca los andes. don jaime wasn't there, but niña doris showed us around the horse stables and we had a gaseosa at the restaurant while don pedro showed us this movie that don jaime had made of one of the jaripeos a few weeks back. don jaime has this humongous big flat screen television in the restaurant where he shows ranchero music videos and stuff, so don pedro puts this movie on from the jaripeo and it's like a professionally made movie. a "don jaime production," to be exact. too funny. anyway, niña doris said that don jaime would probably be back later in the day and so we decided to go to ataco and check it out and maybe come back later in the afternoon or the next morning.

so we headed off to ataco and checked out the artesenias, and had some excellent mexican food at this new restaurant. by the time we got finished eating and walking around ataco we were all pretty tired and i had a meeting that night in san jorge, so we decided to go visit don jaime the next morning instead of that afternoon. i went to the meeting in san jorge at 5:00 and left early to meet jon and katie back in apaneca at the pupuseria. well, i left early but no buses came by! the meeting that night had been at antonio's house and his dad came out to wait with me to make sure that i was ok, because standing out waiting for the bus at night isn't that safe....especially if the bus doesn't come. there were a couple other people waiting out there and some teenagers being loud. then this old, beat-up datsun comes down the road from the other way and pulls over and the other people that were waiting asked if he was going back to apaneca and he said yeah, so they asked for a ride and then asked me if i wanted to go with them. so i hopped in this car and it was awful! the exhaust system (like just about every car in el salvador) sucked and the exhaust seemed to be filtering through the back of the car, into the actual car. the guy had to go get gas and as we went to the gas station, we passed the damn bus coming towards apaneca. story of my life, i tell ya!

so we get gas, make it back to apaneca, and i run into the pupuseria, like 45 minutes after i said i'd be there. geez.....this is how everything works never know how things are actually gonna work you're gonna get from one point to another, what the day's events will be, who you'll end up talking to throughout the day. this was all made very clear, as if we needed any more proof, the next day.

jon and katie came around my house around 9:00 a.m. we were planning on heading over to see don jaime, see his flower vivero at his house and then jon and katie'd be on their way back to san salvador and then back up to their site. so we headed over there and saw don jaime out in front of el rosario, watching over his new guatemalan cows he'd just transported to el salvador. he said that they were kind of nervous because they weren't acclimatized to their new home yet, so he was babying them and watching over them all the time. we headed up to the restaurant and he asked us if we wanted breakfast and jon and katie said they'd already eaten, so don jaime told don pedro to bring us cafecitos. after a while we were in the middle of talking to don jaime when all of a sudden don pedro comes in with this humungous tray of breakfasts for us. it was the biggest breakfast i'd seen in quite some time: huevos, casamiento, chorizos, platanos, queso, and this awesome pan that they make at the restaurant. plus the cafecitos. i was in breakfast heaven! although jon and katie were still full from their breakfast in apaneca, they managed to eat most of their "second breakfast."

after stuffing ourselves to capacity, we then went over to don jaime's huge house and he took us around his flower vivero, telling us about the process of planting and what he uses the flowers for. as opposed to most of the flower viveros around here that sell the plants, don jaime sells the cut flowers in sonsonate and i think ahuachapan as well. anyway, as we were walking around his grounds, these police officers were all around and don jaime said they were having some kind of meeting at his fact, in the very same huge room where jon had stayed when he was here for immersion day. we chatted with some of them and then don jaime said he was going to take us to this other vivero that has lots of mora, something he thinks would be good for jon and katie to start up in their site because it grows well in this type of climate. so next thing we know, don jaime's driving us over to this other vivero and we go and meet the owner, who apparently used to work for the UN or something. don jaime kept saying that he used to work with the canadians...although i never got the full story on that. anyway, we were there for a while and then don jaime said he was going to take us back to his house and this woman was gonna take us to las cascadas.

see, this is how things are....and i know i've talked about this before. you can understand what people are saying and what the plan is, but most of the time, you don't know all the players and what their intentions are, so you really don't have any idea what the real plan is. don jaime took us back to his house and told us to come into the meeting with the police and these other people. jon, katie and i were like "what?" so we walked inside and were like "buenas dias" to everyone and don jaime introduced us and we were give more cafe and pan dulce. and we were just confused. next thing we knew, the meeting had started....the director of some school way over on the other side of ahuachapan, near the guatemalan border, started off by saying that there was a serious problem at their school. apparently, the bathrooms didn't work properly, so the kids had no place to go to the bathroom. so for the time-being, he explained, the kids were peeing out behind the school. and they weren't giving the kids refrigerio because they didn't want the kids to have to go, uh, number two. he demonstrated this by making a circular motion around in front of his stomach, saying "no queremos movimiento." (we don't want any movement down there). everyone but katie, jon and i were seriously concerned about this, saying that it was this big emergency, which it is. but to the three of us, it was hilarious. not the situation, mind you. but the fact that we were sitting here in this meeting, listening to this, and that the director's solution was to not give the kids there morning/afternoon food because they didn't want them to have to do anything more than take a piss.

don jaime got on the phone (he's a super connected guy 'round these parts) and after about three phone calls, finally got the mayor of whatever pueblo is in charge of the cantón this guy's school is in, on the phone and set up a day/time when he could go visit and figure out how to fix the problem. then the meeting continued on about what presents to give the policia rural at the anniversary party for them at the end of june. they threw around some ideas and after about an hour, the meeting was over. we three had to sign this sheet saying we were present at the meeting and it was like "what just happened?" oh, don jaime also left like in the middle of the meeting and was like "ok, see ya. niña paquita's gonna take you to las cascadas." we were just so confused!

so after the meeting ended we piled into the mini van of niña paquita and this other woman (i think it was her daughter). we still really had no idea who these women were. a few rural police guys hopped in the van with us and we were off to las cascadas. las cascadas is the waterfall that i took my parents to when they were here in december. there is the waterfall and then there is a restaurant on the other side of the road with some smaller waterfalls down below. it's a pretty popular place with salvadorans on the weekends, so it was pretty full when we got there. anyway, we followed niña paquita around for a minute and then i said i could take jon and katie over to the big waterfall. she said something like "ok, and when you get back you can eat lunch with us." so we three walked over there, still not knowing who these people were.....have you ever been in this type of situation before? maybe not. it's like there comes a point in time where it's too late to be like "and what's your name, who are you?" because we didn't even know anybody's name still. i'm just saying here name, niña paquita, because some time by the end of the day, someone called her name and i overheard it.

anyway, so we came back from the waterfall and looked around for the two women and they seemed to be cooking in the restaurant and it finally dawned on us that they were possibly the owners of this restaurant. so when we sat down to lunch, the older woman (niña paquita), sat down with us and i asked her if she was the owner of the restaurant. she said yes, but then she started talking about some guy who wanted to preserve the environment around the area. i just had to assume that she was talking about her THEY were the owners of the restaurant. after lunch, we wandered around wondering when we'd end up leaving. the two women said that they could take jon and katie back to san salvador in the van, so that was cool because it beats riding the bus. but we were hanging around this restaurant for what seemed like forever. we met some salvadoran woman who started talking in english to us. she said she was born here, went to the states, met a palestinian man and got married and they live in louisiana. i swear to god, i couldn't make this up if i tried. she had this southern accent, coupled with both the salvadoran accent and a little middle eastern as well (probably from her husband). then we were given quesadilla and more cafe. after a couple hours of being bored out of our gourds, niña paquita finally mentioned that they were getting ready to leave. yay!

an hour later, the other woman mentioned that they were getting ready to leave. it felt like we were never gonna get out of this place. but as courtney likes to say all the time...."what else we were doing?" honestly, it's not like we've got a bunch of important time-sensitive stuff to do all the time here. nobody seems to "have" to do anything around here. it's all about when the time feels right. so despite the fact that jon, katie and i were seriously ready to hit the road, it was all up to these two women.

finally we ended up piling into the van and heading on back to apaneca. jon and katie grabbed their stuff, hopped in the van and they were off, while i headed back to my house. what i thought was gonna be a couple hours at don jaime's turned into this 9 hour excursion. but all was good. i met some new people, got to hang with jon and katie, and have some funny stories to remember the day by. needless to say, jon and katie are looking for a bathroom update, but i'm not sure i'll ever know how that turned out seeing as attending that meeting was so randomly out of the blue anyways. who knows.

i think this post was a bit long, don´t you agree??