Monday, May 9, 2011

Mas El Salvador

Its been awhile since the blog got updated. Using Chris’ laptop now, so CAPS, ----- and numbers are all available. Its hot and humid- like really HOT. Kind of reminds me of the growing up days in Florida, except I was a lot younger and didn’t know there was an alternative back then. We are anchored in a large estuary just off the Bahia del Sol hotel. The hotel caters to cruisers. You pay them US$14 a week for the use of the dinghy dock, pool, showers and 30% off on their menu. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

The hotel is on a fairly narrow strip of land that runs from the docks in the estuary across the main road and over to the beach. It’s a wide, long and empty beach with good shell pickings.


  Chris getting ready to hit the waves with a Boogie board she borrowed from Henry.

The hotel has a couple of resident Macaws that live with clipped wings in a mango tree at the entrance court yard.


My morning political discussion with the opposition. We both agreed to wear matching shirts today.


Each morning the hotel staff put out water, seeds and mangos for the birds under their tree. If they don’t think they got enough, they come and knock at the supplies door entrance.


“Finally, someone is paying attention to me”


The closest shopping is in a town about 4 miles up the estuary, La Huerradura,  that you reach by dinghy, or convoluted bus trip.


Locals fishing in the estuary in a dug out canoe on the way to Huerradura. It’s a family affair.


The Huerradura fishing fleet at low tide. Unfortunately, the catch includes a lot of sharks, a species soon to be endangered.


Like most buildings in Central American towns it is well protected by high walls and guard dogs.


Armed guards are also typical just about everywhere.  This guy is holding the weapon of choice, a pistol grip, pump shotgun. (truth in advertising, this guy is actually Guatemalan)

When the civil war peace was negotiated, one of the terms in El Salvador was to reduce the army from 80,000 to 20,000. They needed something to keep these armed and battle hardened men busy and out of trouble, so a number of large security companies were created. These guys stand in front of banks, McDonalds, fabric stores, donut shops ---- just about everywhere--- and are almost always polite and helpful.



Chris checking out Santos’ new baby, Princessa. Santos is an industrious local guy who builds and manages the moorings used by many cruisers here for long term boat parking.This is on the island that is across the estuary from the hotel. No running water or electricity, but they do have a small school.

San Salvador is the ‘big’ city. No matter what you ask for around here, someone will tell you it is easy to get in San Salvador. The place has blocks and blocks of street side sellers, the ‘informal economy’ which contrasts with rows of competing high end malls (one owned by an Arab conglomerate). The malls have all the typical US stores plus high-end Euro stores. Typical wages are $7 to $10 a day here, yet the malls are doing a booming business. There is a growing middle class here, in addition to the the uber-rich, from the original (pre-civil war) 14 land-holding families. A huge chunk of the El Salvadorian GDP is actually the money sent back from the US by El Salvadorans living and working in the USA. Many families from the eastern side of the country moved to the US during the civil war because that’s where most of the fighting took place. One of the tourist ‘routes’ here is there, through the ‘Ruta de Paz’. Prior to the civil war the country was entirely controlled by 14 families who owned most of the land and were growers of indigo- once an important dye. As a result, there are now 14 counties here although the land has been redistributed and is farmed by cooperatives. Unfortunately the US CIA was instrumental in the civil war, trying to keep the original status quo in place-- and the boogey men communists out.



Here’s Shannon, off of Sweetie, standing in front of the Apple repair store in San Salvador in an attempt to get here cracked screen on her Macbook fixed. The building is a palatial ex-house of one of the controlling families.


You still see books for sale on the street covering the past glories of the guerrillas. ’Diarios de Motocileta’ (center left row) is the story of Che Guevarra in the early days – great movie if you get a chance to see it, The Motorcycle Diaries. Viva la revolucion!


Enough politics…Check out the colors in the bark on this iTree in front of the Apple store. Those Apple guys!



We stopped at a recommended machine shop in San Salvador. This place had ‘good English speakers’ and did good work, was the recommendation. I wanted to get some replacement port toggles made. Some of the older ones are starting to snap. The machine shop had about a dozen people working there – with not a drop of English. I got my point across in spanglish and hand waving. The price was a lot higher than I expected, $25 a piece, but they did good work. The original is on the left.


The El Salvador Rally is centered at the Bahia Del Sol Hotel. It is run by two ex-pat types, Bill & Jean on the sailboat Mita Kuluu. They have excellent support from the Ministry of Tourism and API, the port authority. The rally has no official start and no real ending and no charge to join in. Just about the right level of formality and planning for my tastes.



The hotel throws a big party for all the cruisers and the representatives of the ministries. Lots of speeches and gift bags are given out, along with the free food and drink.


Jeorgia’s official we-did-the-El-Salvador-rally certificate duly awarded at the banquet.

Stay-tuned for the next blog covering our inland trip to the Mayan ruins – details at 11.

Paul & Chris

1 comment:

  1. Paul!! You never said if Chris stole that cute, chubby baby. I could see the look in her eyes (Chris' eyes that is)... she was about to grab little Princessa and bolt for the boat. Boy! That would be interesting, the three of you on the boat.
    I was down at Mom's today and saw Ms. Sydney. She said to say "Hi" and that life at Grama's house is not too bad... Although, so much training of the humans to do and so little time...
    be safe,