Saturday, November 14, 2009

El Salvador - Day 3 (Sept 26, 2009)

Fully rested after being blissful beach bums on day 2, we were ready to immerse ourselves in the towns, culture and people of El Salvador. On day 3, we picked up Jenny Sanchez, our very own localite, and set out to Juayua, one of the 5 towns that makes up the "Ruta de las Flores" (Route of the Flowers,) known for its natural beauty, cultural traditions and a variety of architecture, food and crafts.

Juayua, a charming mountain village, was a particularly appealing destination because we had read about the "Feria Gastronomica," the famous weekend food festival where locals serve food at tables set up around the central park. The number of food stalls and delectable selections at each one made it almost impossible to decide on lunch, but we somehow managed and feasted on platters of grilled meats, potatoes, rices, cheesy patties and all sorts of pickled goodies. It was not gastronomy for the faint of heart or for the vegetarian heart, but there was no holding us back!

Day 3 highlights
  • Having Jenny with us was a treat, indeed! Between her and Dave, we were in good, Spanish speaking hands, and it's a good thing, because we needed it. I'm not sure I would recommend visiting El Salvador to anyone who doesn't have fairly good grasp on the Spanish language.

  • COLOR, COLOR, COLOR. Vibrant splashes of color all around. In the architecture, attire, food and natural landscape. Delightful to photograph and uplifting for the soul.

  • Heart wrenching when a young boy approached our table and asked for our lunch leftovers. He was hungry and wasn't embarrassed to eat our scraps or finish our drinks. It was a moment of raw perspective and humility for all of us, who are blessed beyond belief and often forget to be grateful.

  • Dave haggling with the "honey" man on the street. I believe they settled on $4 for the vodka bottle full of fresh honey purchased by Dave.

  • The man with the Albino Boa Constrictor; he had the boa around his neck and was trying to entice those passing by to take pictures with him and his boa for money. I kept a VERY safe distance, but managed to sneak in a few "free" pictures.

  • The dark, stormy sky finally broke loose and we took shelter in Juayua's white-washed church, Templo del Senor Juayua, famous for its "Cristo Negro" crucifix and beautiful stained glass windows.

  • Juayua is also known for it's eco-outdoorsy activities, and we set out for one of its main natural attractions, the "Los Chorros de la Calera" Falls, 2km outside the city. It's difficult to put the unexpected beauty of this unique waterfall in words, so the pics below will have to do it justice. Our time there was made ever more special because we didn't share the experience with any other tourists; it was just us and the local children swimming in the beautiful, clear pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Yes, it was frigid, but it felt incredibly surreal to be in the middle of a jungle in El Salvador, swimming with local kids, awed by their fearlessness as they dove off rocks into the crisp water. It was a magical experience and one that gives new meaning to 'once-in-a-lifetime.'

  • Dave and Jose, our local-boy-guide, shimmying up trees and swinging on vines, with nothing but air beneath them. Crazy boys!

  • Getting our truck stuck in the mud on the road leaving the waterfall as nighttime was encroaching. Thanks to the quick thinking of the nearby locals who literally ran to find chains and helped maneuver us out, we made it back to San Salvador in time for dinner at "Los Ranchos," a local steakhouse where Reid thought he had died and gone to red meat heaven! We were blown away by the caliber of the service and the quality of the food, something we would experience time and time again during out time in El Salvador.


jgorger said...

who is cliff jumping into the water? Great pictures with very bright colors everywhere! Love it

m.s. said...

thanks for posting about el sal- love hearing about it in your words. the memories ARE "once in a lifetime"! we're only 30 once :) God bless you, Tab.

Bobi said...

Hey thanks for sharing. Loved the pics and learning about your trip. Looking forward to seeing you saturday. much love