Published: January 7th 2009November 8th 2008
* Changed hostal to Dizzys "El Hostal", got very very comfortable.
* Partied in San Salvador, saw ruins, surfed, chilled, got to know and be close to Eve.
The version that follows no chronological order - as the name says, its a mush:
Its funny moving from one hostel to another, especially right next door! It feels downright treacherous, but damnit I wanted a fridge heh. And man it was worth it! I packed that thing day after day with food, loving having dairy and meat to cook with again!
Its funny trying t explain the hostel you´re at when its name is "El Hostal", which translates to "The Hostel" - see where the problem lies? Its a cool looking place with everything I wanted, including tranquility (harder to find in El Tunco as it is larger and more built up). A few people staying there included a kinda skitzy US guy who left soon after I arrived, a sporty girl from Colorado in the US, an Eve from Arizona, US, an art therapist amongst other things. Together with Dizzy it was an awesome group of people and I loved every minute with all
Took another swim to say hi to the waves again and found the visibility to be about as good as Costa Rica - totally freakin useless! Heh so all my dreams of surf shots from the back of waves were dashed again! Ah well. Now armed with a kitchen, and nearly empty fridge, it was grub time! While the trip into La Libertad isn´t long, its still a bus there and back in reasonable heat, not so friendly to some food! I got so excited in the La Libertad supermarket that on my first trip in I actually bought more than I could either carry or pay for! In a funny little run in trying to explain in Spanish, I had to leave half the shopping there beside the checkout and tell the cashier that I would be back in a couple of hours for the rest! My bags already bursting including a filled backpack, I hauled my bounty including some new found export german beer that put such a smile on my dial back to Sunzal, returning later to grab the rest from La Libertad. This would become kinda normal, as having good food again that
Love this dress on her too...
I could cook caused me to have 5 or so meals a day and I went through a tonne of food... as one guy noted who was living there too, in almost a week he never saw me at the hostel without either food in my mouth or me cooking up more heh. Thankfully surfing takes it out of you so it all went to a good cause...
While here I got to see a little turtle hatchery funded by the local community - ironic in that they also love eating turtle eggs! So rather than a breeding and release program I´m going to call it a step towards sustainable turtle farming. A very basic setup but brilliant to see happening, it involved a couple of plastic tubs full of turtles, a couple of guys checking them now and again, and within time, release of the turtles! I didn´t get to see the release but I got to see the cute little buggers being raised -check out the photos!
*San Sal Clubbing *
On I think the second or maybe 3rd day at Dizzys, we all headed into San Salvador for a bit of clubbing. I wasn´t planning
The main hatchery pool for the turtles
on going but after some time with Eve teaching her to surf a bit, she asked and I couldn´t say no, and I´m so glad I did as it launched one of the best chapters of my life! Now here is some fun that you just couldn´t get away with at home... to get there, we hopped in the back of Dizzy´s Ute and drove into San Salvador, drinking in the back and getting the best start to the night with just the most awesome atmosphere going on between us all. After drinks at the hostel including a bottle of Flor De Cana and in the Ute some vodka and stuff (Pickup for those from the US) I was pretty drunk before we even hit the club. The trip in revealed night time San Salvador and surrounding areas to be a mix of cheesy as hell plastic glowing palm trees with raw natural beauty, a land discovering real wealth mixed with extreme poverty. We got there and it was almost empty and I thought ah shit this is gonna suck. Premature. The place packed out later! And we kept on drinking. Now my memory of the night feels totally in
tact, no holes, no time missing.. but from the stories to come out later it seems my brain threw away about half my memory heh. All in all though, good drinks, funny as hell photos, a few funny situations, and the start of Eve and I... One thing that I do remember was seeing a girl sitting at a table, a pretty girl, looking bored and lonely while 2 guys near us drank and looked at her. After a while it drive me nuts and I suggested they go talk to her and ask her to dance! Well, big mistake... that launched one very long awkward conversation where they were telling me it doesn´t work like that here and I found myself trying to drunkenly explain myself out of a corner. Another totally random occurrence happened outside when we were leaving and I bought Eve a rose from kids selling them outside the club... now I had about $15, and after a $1 rose I had no money! So for a day or two I was thinkin ah bugger I musta got pick pocketed... until I found a funny white baggie of Cocaine in my pocket heh. Turns out apparently
I like drugs now, or my intentions buying something like the flowers got seriously confused! It did launch a funny set of jokes though ending in us looking at every kid that sold flowers as a little drug runner... which is all truth isn´t in the land of impossibility! Anyway, we all left the club except Dizzy, but then back at the hostel I found a slight problem - my room was locked, and only Dizzy had the keys! Thankfully Eve lemme stay wit her or I would of been screwed! It took Dizzy 2 more days to return home though so by the time he got back I was feeling pretty smelly and really wanted my books and clothes and everything back but it was a funny little experience.
Sunzal as described before is a slow crumbling right break great for natural footers. The beach is black/brown volcanic with some rocks, and under the break is all rocks although plenty deep enough not to be an issue. The wave gets some reasonable overhead heights, looking like its going to thump you (if they were at Scarborough they would just about kill you when they break!), but
The tree in EveÂ´s room, right above her bed
then it just rolls right underneath you... even getting caught in the whitewash is an easy going experience! This turned out to be a downright curse... I suck at slow wave takeoffs and am addicted to short boards, resulting in me getting very few waves! It also gets the odd pulse from a different direction that makes the wave break for a set every now and again about 50 metres further left, catching you inside and pushing you to shore! And when its a killer long paddle like here, a few of those is a session death sentence for your arms! Especially when like me on a shortie you need to wait deep inside to take off where it is steepest! So while its an awesome wave, I can´t really say its my style...a longboard would be awesome though. When you do get a ride though, man, it just keeps going and going! I also tried some other areas and breaks but found I really need more skill before I can tackle the truly awesome spots here... so theres a goal! In all truth, once I found Eve that really took precedence to surfing and it fell in at second
in priorities but I didn´t care as I couldn´t have been happier!
Eve and I started doing everything together, pretty much spending every second together, and yeh... incredible incredible girl, I was head over heels eh. I thought about leaving this outta the blog as its highly personal, but really she defined so much of my trip to El Salvador that its impossible to leave out! I´m sure my friends back in Aus will have to cop lots of talk about it from a drunken me telling stories so heres a pre warning... no details here besides that she´s crazy beautiful, wicked tattoos, a beautiful heart and yeh. She is genetically 100% El Salvadorian, though raised in the US since right after birth, which gave rise to even more interesting experiences. Walking around by myself I´m a tall (yes, here I´m tall, never the case at home!) white guy that sticks right out and you get treated as such by those around you, stared at all the time, hassled etc. I´ve stopped noticing it but meeting and being with Eve brought it back to the forefront again. She said that back in the US, thats what it was like
for her... but here, nothing! She gets treated just like a local, and its incredible! On bus rides when we were in different seats she would always notice that everyone on the bus would just stare at me through the trip, meanwhile she was invisible! When alone she would get helped by random strangers, greeted in the street, got better prices, didn´t get hassled, and got questions rather than whistles and grunts from the guys on the buses collecting money. Basically, it turned out she got treated like gold and me, not so much! And yet El Salvador I found great, loving the people, and found it the friendliest place in Central America! Which just goes to show just how different a trip can be due to skin colour and features... I should point out here that our level of Spanish is about equal and she has a solid US accent, so its got nothing to do with that. Things got even worse though when we were together walking hand in hand =( People would stare at her, then stare at me, then give her absolute dagger looks to the point where we wouldn´t touch on buses or in streets
due to how uncomfortable and a little scary it was! Its disgusting feeling that kind of constant unreasonable straight out racist hatred for no reason, always feeling in public like I was a gringo stealing one of their women and for poor Eve it was even worse, like they thought she was a traitor to her own race for being with me! Its a lesson Ive learned well and am glad I got to experience as being an English speaking white Australian male doesn´t exactly land you in the line of fire of that kind of stuff. Before i could only sympathise with those that experienced that kind of unreasonable hatred... now I can empathise.
*The fall of tourism*
2 places down here really highlighted this... as for when tourism died off in these areas I dont know, but its amazing what is left behind! While Sunzal and Tunco flourish, an area called Majahual (I think, it might have been the neighbouring area) near Punta Roca had more hotels than you could poke a stick and not a soul in any of them! All smaller hotels for maybe 2 dozen people, double story type things, all with pools and
outdoor tables etc, they were now all deapidated, housing stray dogs, chickens, and the odd family living in them! It was like a ghost town. Place after place you could see how popular it must have once been but now, nothing! Pool ride loving skaters, notch this place down! Pools everywhere and every one of the empty and left. Another example was shown when Eve and I went for a drink in La Libertad. We went to a waterfront place to the left of the peer situated on a beautiful cliff edge with the waves crashing on the rocks directly below, the hotel painted up in a pirate theme, our table at the end of the rocks with a placement and view that would have you paying obscene money in any western country and instead we were the only ones there. To our left, below, was a beach with access only from a building next door that was now totally run down possibly with squaters in it. Again if this were in Aus the building would be worth literally millions! Pristine sea view, right on the cliff edge, private beach, sunsets every night, nothing! Further down the coast was all
Hammock chillin time
Always good, always relaxing
the same story... this place was really pumping at some stage but for whatever reason it is dead now. Its something I really want to investigate to see what killed it all as its really sad! Dead old infrastructure is such a common site in Central America, with large public pools, grand restaurants and resorts, highly decorated fountains and statues, all turned off and left for dead when the call for them is no longer around. There must be some incredible stories hidden behind them but to find them I first need much better Spanish...
*Juayua and some damn good food!*
Another day trip with Dizzy and the crew involved some ruins in San Salvador INSERT NAME, along with a cruise up into hilly coffee country. The ruins were really my first and they were pretty awesome to see! Not big but in good nick, see photos for more... I loved seeing the Mayan art in the museum and just getting to chill and wander around. Juayua was a beautiful twisting drive up through the mountains in the back of the Ute with views of everything, and I found there a big attraction to the idea of hithiking in
Colorado guyÂ´s crazy head tattoo
Planets in orbit, thats dedication to tattooÃng yourself I think
Utes rather than going in chicken buses - the unobstructed views! Juayua was having a food market as they do every weekend and my god it as good food! I ended up having 2 large lunches walking away with impacted breathing, along with some textiles that I bought, beautiful and colourful in the Guatemalan style, present for family back home. We were only there a couple of hours but I would recommend it to anyone, its incredible! The main central Parque where it centres on is really well set up with lots of shady spots to sit and chill, and on market days the happy musical and cullinary vibe is infectiously happy! There is also a magnificent church facing it to keep architecture buffs happy. The next stop was Tacuba and Parque El Imposible, but we ended up only being there for a half hour or so talking to the hostel owners planning to return in the near future, so I´ll leave descriptions of that until later.
Eve and I one day saw a bunch of kid jumping off one of the rocks at El Tunco and it looked like awesome fun so after wathing for a
Our trusty guard dog Chad!
Who also liked to bark every time you were eating and not giving him any!
while we decided we´d give it a go! It looked damn shallow though, and after climbing up i was a bit scared to be honest! Not knowing the depth, Eve was a bit more gunho and ballsy and went first - heh especially because the climb up isn´t too easy and she definitely didn´t want to have to climb back down! Now you have to time your jump so that you hit the water as a wave passes through to get extra water height so its not quite so deadly shallow. A local guy fishing below made a slightly scared looking face and gave us the non verbal advice that yes its freakin shallow and to use your hands as breaks when you hit the water! Eve jumped, bomby style with arms slapping the water and came back out f it with a loud "Ahh #$%&, its really really shallow" or something like that... heh it wasn´t a happy sound anyway. She was however smiling coz its still a lot of fun, and now it was my turn... I jumped and its longer than I expected, going from normal jump position to that useless flailing kind of motion that a
Just a wee one
Nice chunky spider outside on the old bus bonnet
dog makes when you´re putting it in a bath, but it seemed to work as I hit the water and skimmed into it like a rock, sliding sideways barely hitting the bottom! The end result, me fine, but poor Eve with massive bruises on both her legs! Heh a wicked fun memory though, but next time we wait until higher tide...
Anyway that covers a couple of weeks at Sunzal. With Eve, life took on a very happy regularity, with time surfing, doing day trips, cooking, eating, reading, practising Spanish and just generally soaking up the sunny care free life. We decided that it was time to see the rest of El Salvador as its all too easy to just stop in Sunzal and not move again so time to head off to the next part of the adventure!
There are more photos below