Published: June 28th 2010June 25th 2010
Hola, Gorf here again, this time from Juayua, El Salvador!
It was a bit of a drawn out trip to get here, which might be a drag if you were in a hurry, but we´re not! We were able to meet some interesting people and watch life go by here.
The plan was to catch a public bus from El Zonte, hoping for one of the two daily that would take us almost all the way to our destination. Great plan, but didn´t quite fit with the way the buses really run here.
While we waited for the bus we watched some local guys playing a game called ´dama´. Like draughts, but their setup was using a board painted on a concrete table on the side of the road, with beer bottle tops for counters. One player´s tops up way, the other´s upside down. Simple. Met some nice local guys.
We waited maybe an hour and a half for a bus to show up, and finally one turned up that would take us about 10km in the right direction. We leapt on. And leapt off at our stop. Then we waited for maybe another hour and a
Locals playing dama
Waiting for another bus
half, this time in searing midday heat. It was a little place with a couple of tiendas and of course a couple of stalls selling pupusas - we couldn´t resist again.
One guy that was waiting with us got impatient and got a lift on a rubbish truck that came past. Everyone grabs rides from everyone else here. So much more sensible than having thousands of cars on the road and only one person (or frog) in each one.
Finally the right bus turned up and we leapt on with all the keen locals. Then we managed to get all the way to Sonsonate, a bit of a hub in this part of the country. Huge bus terminal luckily with really good signs. While we waited for our bus we all took advantage of the sanitarios (toilets). You have to pay to use them, handing a quarter (they use US dollars here) to the guy at the turnstyle and in return getting a wad of papel sanitario (toilet paper). Quite a generous wad, too, I guess to cover all eventualities!
Anyway, our bus duly turned up and we made our way up through the fog to Juayua.
A beautiful spot
It is quite a lot cooler here. Tessa has even started wearing trousers sometimes. Keith and I think she´s turning into a wuss!
Juayua is a pretty town on what is nationally a bit of a tourist trail, called La Ruta de las Flores. Juayua is a bit of a mouthful for us non-Spanish speakers, its meant to be pronounced ´Hwai-oo-a´, or so our sources tell us. Its a bit of a coffee growing area and known for its ferias gastronomicas - weekend food festivals. More on that later, though.
We´ve laid low since we´ve been here, with all 3 of us coming down with a bit of a cold, but no complaints being sick in such a lovely place!
We´re staying at Hotel El Mirador, only a few doors away from a beautiful church with very loud bells! They actually sound great, and remind us in a way of lying in bed hearing the morning calls to prayer in Indonesia. This, however, is catholic country, of course.
We get a great 360 deg view from the top floor of our hotel, so its a good spot for watching the buses and people coming and going.
Lots of women carry things on their heads here - baskets that they´ve made to sell, big plastic bowls with fruit or nibbles. They don´t seem to need to put a hand on whatever they´re carrying, it just sits there. Its very clever.
There´s an old people´s home across the road, so different to our ones back in New Zealand. The other day I saw one lovely old lady toddling through their courtyard in the rain with what looked like a plastic bin lid on her head. Not a hand on it, but a good limp going on. Who needs umbrellas when you´re clever enough to do that?
Anyway, this weekend here is the feria gastronomica, so I´ll be back to let you know about that. We´re meeting so many lovely friendly people here and we´re really enjoying El Salvador!
There are more photos below