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El Salvador

El Salvador- April 5, 2000
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Greetings! From Honduras I traveled overland to El Salvador, another horrendous but interesting travel day. Since Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras were so awesome, I was surprised that my time in El Salvador turned out to be the best part of my entire Central America trip. Traveling there from Copan took 12 hours, with four changes of buses in Honduras, a walk across the border with stops at the immigration offices, a long and rough bus ride on very bad roads from the El Salvador border town of El Poy to San Salvador, and then a final ride by taxi (and the driver got lost) to the home where I was staying. I arrived with at least a quarter inch of dust covering my body head to toe, but all in all it was a fun and interesting travel day in which I met lots of interesting and curious people, and it brought me to the most amazing destination!

I owe a million thanks to my friend Ana Turner for arranging this part of my trip and to all those who made my visit there so special. I worked with Ana at iPass and when she heard that I was going to Guatemala, her hospitable Latin nature emerged and she urged me to visit her niece Claudia in San Salvador. Claudia and her husband Jordi are a beautiful couple, the same age as me, with an adorable six year old son, Jordi Jr. Words can never express the amazing experience I had visiting them. They are the most generous and special people I've ever met with an extended family that I felt was my own by the time I left. They all treated me like I was part of the family, but in a way that was so comfortable rather than overwhelming. I am hoping that they will come visit me sometime.

San Salvador
Claudia and Jordi have a newly built peaceful home, spectacularly designed and decorated, up on a hill that overlooks the city where the air is clean, crisp and cool. During my visit they had a party for a neighbor who is getting married, we toured downtown San Salvador, including the cathedral and famous buildings, we went to the University de Centro America which is like a wonderful park with lots of tall trees, the museum dedicated to Monsenor Romero and the Jesuits that were massacred in the north of the country, and the Ruinas de San Adres and Joya de Ceren. These are sites inhabited by Mayans a couple of thousand years ago. Joya de Ceren is especially interesting because in 600AD the Laguna Caldera Volcano erupted and this small Mayan settlement was buried under volcanic ash and the intense heat from the eruption preserved not only structures, but also pottery, plants, seeds and animal remains. The museum has lots of these findings on display and it is really amazing to think that many of the things we saw could be that old because they were so well preserved.

Two other highlights of San Salvador were eating pupusas and visiting Jordi's candy and bubble gum factory! Pupusas are one of the most typical "after 4pm" dishes of El Salvador and are now one of my favorite foods. They are a corn meal mass like a thick tortilla, filled with delicious farmers' cheese and sometimes refried beans. Jordi's candy factory was also very interesting because I've never seen the production of candy and gum. This was especially fun for me since I have such a sweet tooth. Jordi also has a very large collection of butterflies from El Salvador in his office. It's really more like a museum than a collection. He has virtually every butterfly that exists in the country. I've never seen creatures so unique and beautiful.

Costa del Sol
We also spent an entire day on the Pacific Coast, on a private section of a pristine beach called Costa del Sol. I was surprised because I thought we were just going to the beach for the day, but it turned out that we went to a spectacular beach home of the boyfriend of Claudia's cousin. They had a lot of family and friends there who were really fun to get to know; we relaxed in hammocks and ate awesome food (Claudia's aunt Nena made her special Ceviche because Ana told her it is one of my favorite things to eat!). In the afternoon we went boating and waterskiing, and then watched the sunset from the boat as we headed back to the beach house. What an amazing day! Life doesn't get better than this.

Hasta luego...

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