In the last couple of day, we found out 2 fantastic pieces of info regarding our trip:
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In the last couple of day, we found out 2 fantastic pieces of info regarding our trip:
Saturday, September 19, 2009
It would appear we are completely set for this trip now, legally, anyway. No, the packing hasn't begun yet, just a small (ok, big) thought given to how in the world one packs for a forecast that calls for temps in the high 80's and scattered thunderstorms EVERY DAY. All I can hope is it's a tropical-like forecast where it rains for a few minutes and then the sun comes out and stays for the remainder of the day. :)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- El Salvador is a country in Central America, and geographically, it's considered part of Continental North America. That means I'm technically not leaving the continent for this trip!
- The capital is San Salvador. That's where we'll be staying.
- El Sal is located on the Pacific Ocean and is gaining a reputation for having some of the best surfing in the world.
- El Sal is the smallest country in Central America (area equal to that of Massachusetts,) but it's the most densely populated with more than 6.5M inhabitants.
- The country is divided into 14 sections called "Departments."
- El Sal has 25 volcanoes, 14 lakes and 4 large cities. CAN'T WAIT to visit some volcanoes!
- Their climate consists of 2 seasons: DRY (Nov - April) & WET (May - Oct)...lucky us, we'll be there during the WET season
- El Sal's official currency is the US Dollar (since 2001), but it's highly recommended to only bring $20 bills and smaller
- Coffee is El Sal's most important cash crop; about 1/2 of El Sal's income is derived from coffee exports. Can't wait to have me some coffee and tour a coffee plantation!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Lonely Planet seems to have the best laid out website and information, and I thought it would be fun to share some info I came across that gives fascinating insight into their culture:
shake hands and say mucho gusto (nice to meet you) the first time you meet someone
preface your conversation - even simple requests - with buenos días (good morning) or buenas tardes (good afternoon/evening). It is also courteous to say hello to the person sitting next to you on the bus and to make a general greeting when entering a public place like a restaurant.
use the formal usted (you) to address locals until they go to the informal address first. In El Salvador, that’s the vos form - the same tense used in Argentina instead of tú. Take the time to learn it before you go. And needless to say, have at least some basic Spanish under your belt.
bring mementos and souvenirs from home to give as gifts to special folks who have helped you or invited you to their home
pay attention to your appearance. Salvadorans are very conscious of appearance, grooming and dress. Looking scruffy and unwashed is considered an affront.
go into shops shirtless or in a bikini. Though the beach may be nearby, wandering around in such skimpy attire is inappropriate. In general, steer toward conservative attire, especially when visiting churches, where you should avoid wearing tank tops, shorts, or hats. No Salvadoran wears shorts outside of the beach and coastal towns.
refer to indigenous people as indios, which is considered an offensive term. The word indígena for indigenous men and women is widely used.
expect everything to rush at New York City pace
take photographs of religious ceremonies or people without asking
be insulted if people comment frankly on your physical appearance or give you a related nickname (e.g., El Gordito/Fatty). This is done affectionately and isn’t meant to be hurtful.
Monday, September 14, 2009
AT&T was "kind" enough to send me a "ServiceGram" in the mail, informing me that as of Sept 15th (that's tomorrow!), they "will be performing a network update that will significantly impact the call performance of my Palm Treo 680 and in order to continue receiving the best possible wireless experience with AT&T, I will need to upgrade to a new phone." Well, my phone is working just fine thank you very much, and I DON'T WANT to upgrade to a new phone! It seems like now would be the perfect time to finally give in to the sales pitches offered by everyone I know who owns an iPhone and wants me to experience how wonderful this magical gadget is, but honestly, I have no desire to own an iPhone. Maybe it's my indifference when it comes to new technology or maybe I'm being stubborn on principle, but all I really need in a phone is calling and texting capabilities, not all the bells and whistles the iPhone offers. My plan is simple: wait until tomorrow, and if my phone truly croaks, figure out an alternative to the iPhone as a replacement. Let me know if you have a cell phone that you would like to sing the praises of, and please, if it's an iPhone, nothing personal, but I've already heard enough! :)
Palm Treo 680
Release Date: November 2006
Useful Life: Not even THREE years!!
And lastly, but certainly not the least, is the loss of wireless capability on my HP laptop. This means that my laptop no longer detects a wireless signal, so in order for me to connect to the Internet, I must be physically connected to the modem...which is not in a convenient location in the house, like by a table for instance. Well, it didn't take much online research to discover that this is a prevalent problem with MANY HP laptops, so much so that HP issued a "Limited Warranty Service Enhancement" providing free repairs. Great news, right? Wrong. Unfortunately for me, my laptop was one of the better ones and didn't break down until much later than other laptops. Therefore, I am no longer eligible for the free repair that I would have been entitled to if my laptop wasn't such an over-achiever. The customer service rep I spoke with a few days ago informed me that the "Limited Warranty Service Enhancement" expired in Dec 08, so, sorry poor, stupid consumer, you're out of luck! Basically, because my computer didn't tweak out BEFORE December 08, they can't help me! Oh wait, I lie. They CAN help me; they will be more than happy to repair my laptop for the bargain price of $300. Lucky me. I'm sorry, but that's messed up and extremely horrible customer service! I'm starting to fume all over again as I write this...
I understand technology is moving ahead at the speed of light, and I should be moving along with it by by upgrading my electronics every time a new version is debuted...but I refuse to do that, and I shouldn't be forced into it by being sold products that have a useful life of a mere few years by companies that refuse to stand by their products (AT&T and HP, I'm talking to you!)
Thursday, September 3, 2009
So for weeks now, our Labor Day plan was to go camping at Bench Lake (one of the lakes at the base of Mt. Adams in Washington) with Reid’s fam and possibly other couples/friends. I have no recollection of what we’ve done for Labor Day the last few years, so must have been extremely uneventful (aka: boring.) Well, hubby and I were discussing the trip again last night and both started re-thinking our plan to go…and because I’m a list person and am actually truly interested in weighing the pros/cons, here goes:
Pros (reasons to go)
Cons (reasons to stay in town)
- The last few work weeks have been the definition of insanity and I’m running on VERY low reserves right now; the idea of vegging out at home in front of the TV or with a good book for the entire weekend is extremely irresistible
- I won’t be able to leave work early on Friday; potentially, I could be working late, which means at the earliest we would leave for the lake is Saturday morning, thus cutting our lake time short
- The lake is a good 2 – 2.5 hour drive from home. Oh, and the last 30 miles of the drive are on a gravel road; that won’t work too well with my motion-sickness
- This is going to be real camping, aka, we will be “roughing it,” which Dictionary.com defines as “without refinements, luxuries, or ordinary comforts or conveniences.” Yep, that sounds about right…
- No packing required
- No un-packing required
- Rain. If it rains even a little bit, camping will be miserable and quite the opposite of an enjoyable experience. Problem is, I can’t seem to find a forecast for Bench Lake anywhere…it’s almost as if the lake doesn’t really exist. That certainly speaks to how remote it is…and the weather is a HUGE factor in our decision.
- I could go get a massage instead! :) :)
Well, if this list resulted in anything, it was in making the decision even more difficult! There are more reasons to go AND to stay than I originally considered. HELP!And, oh yea, here's a pic of the lake...add that to the "Pro" list!