Monday, April 14, 2008

the much-awaited second visit

here are some pictures from my mom and dad´s visit a couple of weeks ago. they brought my aunt barb and i think everyone had a good time, aside from the fact that no matter how many hotels (five star to no star to backpacker hostels) ¨say¨ they have hot water, none of them actually do. or i guess i should say, what we consider hot water in the states, is NOT the same as what people think hot water is here. i still don´t have the pictures yet from the final couple of days of the trip....we went down to a nice hotel on the beach in salinitas, in the department of sonsonate. but as soon as i get them, i´ll post them. you´ll wish you were here after seeing them!

we had such a great time while my parents were here. they got to see the school for the first time, and we did an art project with the kids in 1st and 2nd grade, which the kids loved. they also got to eat some sweet jocotes, a semana santa tradition. we visited some of the people in my community, and seriously, the people here think my parents and aunt are gods! believe me, i´ve heard it all since they left: how my dad is so guapo, how my mom´s skin is so perfect, how my aunt´s so tall and elegant. they will forever be known to san jorge and apaneca not as mary, gary and my aunt barb, but as laura´s (la norteamericana´s) padres and tía.

i took them to the first festival of pupusas in apaneca, and i don´t think they were fans. i think mostly because of the ingredients: chipilin, beans, chicharron, etc. my dad said he had his own way he would make pupusas (i wonder if he´ll ever find himself in that position at all in his lifetime): cheese, bacon and onions. to each his or her own. we had a great laugh with every salvadoran we visited because i couldn´t help but tell them that for the first couple of days my aunt kept saying ¨estoy caliente!¨ which is a big no-no in latin america. if you say ¨estoy caliente¨ you´re basically saying that you´re horny. haha. i had to explain that you have to say ¨tengo calor¨ if you´re hot, like warm. everyone thought that was just soooo funny!

my family got to partake in some good old pollo campero at antonio´s house where we ate one night. pollo campero is THE hot spot for some good ol´ fried chicken here. any airplane trip leading from san salvador to the states has a cabin full of salvadorans carrying buckets of pollo campero to their family in the u.s. they simply think there´s NOTHING that compares to pollo campero. antonio´s family got some takeout and we feasted on that. let´s see, what else.... like i said, our last couple of days we went down to a big hotel resort on the beach. this place was like being in prison at first. they wouldn´t let you through the entrance unless you could show your registration and only if you had the number of people on your registration in your car. no more. you had to wear this bracelet (like what they give out at concerts for people who are old enough to drink) the whole time. everyone had to show their identification. but i realized much later, after my family had returned to the states, that the reason for this is simply safety. well, that and i´m sure they just want to shield all the tourists from the ¨real¨ el salvador, which has nothing to do with pools and luxury and all that. after seeing the tourist buses bringing people in and out, it´s obvious that they´re designed to keep people from having to see the real el salvador, the one of poverty and all that. also, the hotel probably wants to avoid getting ripped off. if you give salvadorans the opportunity to aprovechar, they´ll totally take it. each room has space for at least 5 people, and i´m sure if salvadorans knew they could pay for one and stuff 15 people in a room, they´d do it. everything was included, so that´s even more incentive for the hotel to have us basically on lockdown. drinks, food, everything included. so you pay one price (a totally reasonable price, given what´s included) and drink and eat as much you want the whole time. if you didn´t have a bracelet you could do just about nothing. but after sitting at the beautiful pool and on the beach watching the waves roll in and eating to my heart´s content, i forgot that we were tagged like sea turtles being experimented by national geographic and really enjoyed myself.

the drive back to the airport (the same route we took from the airport) was along the coastal highway and is one of the most beautiful drives i´ve´s sort of along the lines of the santa barbara to monterrey coastal route in california. big cliffs overlooking the beautiful pacific. there is hardly any traffic on this route, aside from the big trucks hauling sugar cane to be processed. they´ve added some lookouts as well, so we were able to stop and take some really good pictures.

oh, and my mom left me a nice little digital camera, so don´t fret! i´ll now be able to post pics again!

adios for now.

the view from the cabins my family stayed in (the hotel is literally across the street from my house....very convenient)

one of the flowers in the hotel gardens

i don´t know what the name of this flower is (anyone, anyone?), but i like to call it the schnauzer flower (seriously, doesn´t it look like one?)

again, from the cabin door

me and dad

one of the hotel´s restaurant windows

this is in the hotel courtyard

the front of the hotel

my dad cooking me scrambled eggs at my house!

my family with antonio´s family

the festival de pupusas

this lady´s great.....her name is josefina and she always wears the craziest clothes, and the pink shades add that special something.

the clouds rolling in, covering the mountains

the hotel restaurant

ok, here is my aunt barb and this little old lady who´s name is transito. i thought it was her nickname, but antonio told me it was her real name. she´s so little! we met up with her on my parents last visit, but sadly didn´t get a photo. so we did this time. she loved it!

my parents and aunt with the kids in 1st grade after we made flowers with old toilet paper rolls.

the first graders working on their flowers

me playing ¨pato, pato, ganzo¨ (duck, duck, goose) with the kids.

visiting kindergarten

with the second graders

my dad helping mariela make her flower

my dad in front of one of the cabins

eating lunch at el rosario