30 August 2011

El Salvador 2011 - Day 4

Happy Birthday, Dad!

We’re off to La Palma today. It’s going to be a really long day. We’re to leave at 7am, drive to San Salvador to get Alfredo who’ll drive us the rest of the way to La Palma…about 5 hours total. We’re also going to El Pital, the highest point in El Salvador. We’ll then retrace our steps back to the Casa and probably get there around 9:30. I like La Palma but that’s a long day…most of it in the back of a pickup.

We noticed an unusual number of dead animals on the road. Idalia counted 4 possum-like things, 4 dogs and a small pig. Some were really hard to identify, but we think we also counted a dead watermelon, sack of cement and pair of pants. After that we kind of gave up on the road-kill bingo. Although at one point I did see  flock of vultures clustered around the end of a bridge. I couldn’t tell what they were collecting over but it was big and dead.

We met Alfredo “at the naked lady”…there’s a round-about with a statue of El Salvador del Mundo (the naked lady) at the center.

On the way out of San Salvador, we stopped at a gas station. I got pop and a Bon o Bon. The Bon o Bon was a chocolate covered sandwich cookie thing. The filling was peanuty and the cookie part was light and kind of bland. It was actually pretty tasty in an innocuous sort of way. The really interesting thing about it was that the label was in Spanish and Arabic.

We also saw something called Bubu Lubu that we decided to get, just because of the name. It had a sort of stiff, marshmallowy layer with a sort of gummy fruit paste layer, all covered in chocolate. Not bad, but not something I’d get again.

We arrived at El Pital around 12:15. El Pital is 2730 meters and about 8 miles from the Honduran border. The park is beautiful with lots of flowers, bromeliads, and picnic areas but it was too cloudy to see a real view down to the valley. The road to the top is very steep and winding but, in general, pretty good. We drove through a couple cloud layers on the way up. The last 3 km are really rough, though.

At the bottom of the mountain was a little community with an ag co-op. They had trucks of tomatoes being sorted through and boxed up to be hauled away. We stopped and the team bought several bags of tomatoes. Kathy took one to eat like an apple and shared it with Nancy and me. It was really good and got us thinking about tomato and cheese sandwiches…
(Alisha's picture...truck load of tomatoes at the co-op)
We went down to La Palma for lunch around 3:00 at a hotel/restaurant place. The waitress suggested we check out the pool, hammocks and river below as it would take about 20 minutes for our order to be ready. I had the pincho mixto (a kabab with chicken, beef and chiorizo in addition to the veggies plus fries…real, fresh from the potato fries).

After lunch, we went to the artisan market. I wasn’t planning to buy anything but found a shirt that I loved (and it fit), a painting and a couple of gifts.

The ride back to Berlín seemed really long…my butt was REALLY tired of sitting. In San Salvador when we dropped off Alfredo, Idalia moved outside so I moved inside. It seemed to take forever to get to Berlín. In the dark, the winding roads, blind corners and sometimes no center line had us going slowly. For a looooong way, we were stuck behind a semi doing 20 miles an hour because it was too hard to pass and you just never know when you’ll round a curve and find people or animals in the road. Slower is safer, if much more frustrating.

Back at the Casa, nobody really wanted much for supper. I had some granadillas and half a piece of pan dulce.