el Tunco * 04.12.2016 - 07.01.2017

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December 19th 2016
Published: December 19th 2016
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After Bryan and Emma left, I made friends with some people at the hostel. We formed a real nice group. We went to watch the sunset every evening. The sunsets are spectacular over here. Especially because of the big rock forming in the front. I have been told that the place got it's name because of that rock forming. If you stand on the left side of it, it looks like a pig, laying on his back. I looked up the word in spanish but it doesn't exist, so it must be a local word for pig.

One of the days we all went with a local guide (Guayo) to the waterfalls in Tamanique. We had to walk down for about 30-45 minutes through the forest on a pretty steep path.
When we reached the waterfalls, we took a few jumps from the rocks. There was a naturally formed waterslide as well. It was great fun! After that, we went a little further down to reach the big waterfall. There we swam at the little lake and relaxed before we headed back up.
Because it was so steep, it was more difficult to get back.

In the meantime I was looking for a job but without any success. I almost decided to go somewhere else to look for a job and then I found one! I started working in a bar called Munchies. I'm so glad I got a job!

Luke, an Australian guy that stays at the same hostel, stays for 5 weeks here. We managed to get a private room with separate beds for $175 each, which is cheaper than staying in the dorm. He is a cool guy and he told me he would help me to learn how to surf.

On saturday, we went to a party at la Libertad (the next, bigger town). There were a lot of people and about 4 stages with live bands. The streets were full with people who sold food, drinks, merchandise, handcrafts and other things. It was really nice!

At some point, people started running away from the streets while screaming. I didn't know what was going on at first and being in el Salvador, I somehow expected the worst and got scared. We came with some locals from el Tunco and they ran to the sidewalks as well so we ran behind them. There they told us the fireworks were coming. "Thank god, no guns" I thought. But I still didn't really understand what was going on. Then, a few guys with something that looked like a bull on their heads, were running down the street, shooting firework at the people. Liz couldn't stop laughing and thought it was hilarious. I didn't really understood how this could be something fun. I saw a girl getting hit by one of them and she had a big burning spot on her leg.

This "fun" tradition was going on for a while, but you never knew when they were coming. So after they passed by, everyone started walking on the streets again. You just had to make sure to run as fast as you could to the sidewalks and hide behind objects or other people. Crazy tradition..

After a while it stopped and we went to see some bands on the stages. We danced, had some beer and great fun. We got back to el Tunco in a pick-up truck. It's something absolutely normal here, but I really enjoy hitchhiking in the back of a pick-up.

The next day I went with some people from the hostel to la Libertad again. It looked so quiet in compare to the night before. We went to buy some food from the supermarket and some fruits and veggies from the local market. It's cheaper over there because el Tunco is a bit touristy so everything is a bit more expensive. I'm going to stay for a month here so it's time to start cooking myself. Although the pupusas are only $0,50, you get a little tired from eating them every day for lunch AND dinner.

That same evening we had dinner with everyone at the hostel. Everyone helped out with cutting and cooking the food. After the meal we played a card game that's called bullshit. It's a funny game and it gets funnier the more you drink! ;D

The next day I started working at 17:00. I was told I would have 2 days off a week, it's the 19th today and I had only 2 days off in total until now. I mean, it's ok because I'll earn more money, but It's too bad I can't watch the sunset anymore (which starts around 17:30) and Luke loves rubbing that in almost everyday. Grrr haha!

My first sunday off, I went to the cinema again with some people from the hostel. This time we went to see the movie "fantastic beasts and where to find them". I really liked that movie (as a Harry Potter fan it is almost impossible to not like that movie I think)

Also, Jennifer came to el Tunco for a few days. We went to el Sunzal (a beach you can reach by walking west over the beach). Another day we went with Luke, Angel and Sam to el Zonte (a beach you can reach by car).

Before yesterday (saturday) I finally got on a board. I didn't get on one before because renting one over here is $10 a day. I earn $15 a days so I don't want to spend that much. I noticed a board at the hostel that was there since the beginning. Except for Luke, anyone else who was there in the beginning already left. I figured someone must have left it there. It looked like an old board, but usable. Luke's brother Jake arrived about a week ago and I'm helping him out with his Spanish. We thought it was a great exchange if I taught him more Spanish, he would teach me how to surf.
So we went out for a little while in the front. I caught a few waves on my knees but the board is very difficult for me because it's a shortboard. It's free though so I wanted to keep trying.

Yesterday was my day off so we went to el Sunzal to catch some "better" waves. It was hard to keep my balance and you have to paddle for a long time to get to the waves. Once I was there, I got pitched over many times. I kind of panicked and swallowed a lot of water. Jake had to come save me because it was wave after wave after wave and I couldn't catch my breath. After that I got a little scared to come too close to the point where the wave breaks. I kept trying but my arms were tired so I didn't have enough strength. Plus the board isn't good for beginners. I ended up laying on my board, talking to other people who didn't catch waves and watch the turtles that swam around us (that was really cool and they came pretty close too!)
Later, I told the local girl Jake is seeing about my experience that day. She told me I could join them the next day at 9:00 and she could get me a longboard.

So this morning I got up to surf with Jake and Erika. I caught the very first wave standing up! I was so happy! Then a few ones I didn't catch any, but soon I caught one again. This time I fell off quickly and got caught into the waves again. I tried to get up and paddle away, but the waves kept coming. Jake had told me to stay calm whenever this would happen, but after the board hit me on the head I just panicked. This time even worst than the day before. I tried to swim underneath the waves that came towards me, but the board kept pulling me back. I was out of breath and had to be saved again. Jake and Erika were really nice and told me not to worry about it and that it happens to all beginners, but I felt shit about the fact I had to be saved. I was absolutely exhausted so we went back to the shore. On our way back I caught one more wave on my knees. It gave me a boost again to want to learn. I won't give up! (Jake told me dead bodies float as well! hahaha)

At the job everything is fine. The colleges are nice and it's not too busy so it's a relaxing job. I get dinner as well when I'm working. Usually rice and beans with something (fried platanos or cheese), but I can't complain about getting free food right?!

Christmas and New year I will celebrate over here. Luckily I'm not alone, but I will miss my family, decorating the christmas tree with my mum and my dad's delicious dinner (with cwembewwie saus 😉 )

to be continued..

So.. It's been a while..

I've been a little bit lazy lately. The bar I worked at closed, so I didn't work for 2 weeks or so. I did already pay my room so I just tried to live from as less money as possible. I did a pretty good job if I say so myself.

When it comes to surfing, I noticed I got scared of the waves, even when I just go for a little swim. I feel very stupid about it, but I guess that my experience had a bigger impact on me than I thought it would. I didn't go for a surf for a while. One day I thought I was ready again. I got on the board (I only had access to the shortboard again) and went with Luke to Sunzal. Once I was out there I still didn't feel ready to get too close, so I stayed at the shoulder of the waves. I did try to catch a few waves, but also because of the board I wasn't able to catch any. Luke kept motivating me but I think I should try again when I can get a longboard and when I feel a bit more ready to get closer to the waves. I still really want to learn it, but I'm ok with taking it slow. There are plenty of places where I can try again.

For Christmas (which they celebrate the 24th here), two guys from Norway, who are traveling by bike from Alaska to Argentina (Check them out: Chasingboarders), came up with the idea to bring gifts to kids in an orphan house nearby. One of them even got a santa suit. We stayed there for a while to play soccer and basketball with the kids after Santa had given them the gifts and the kids had destroyed their piñata.
It was such a great experience and it was so nice to see all those happy children!

In the evening we went to a friends' house to make some food and drink some beer and rum. We had a good time but we couldn't stay too long because Luke had to DJ in Thekla bar. It was a fun night with lots of firecrackers. Jake even threw one at Luke while he was behind the DJ table. That wasn't a great idea but luckily nothing happened so we could laugh about it. Guys and firecrackers become little boys! haha

Another day I went to visit Alexandra in el Zonte. It was nice to spend a day at the pool doing nothing. She also showed me a few things for making bracelets.
Later we went with everyone who hung out at her house that day to the beach to watch the sunset.
That same evening I caught a ride back to el Tunco because it was Greg's birthday. He got a very special gift that evening: We went for a drink at la Guitarra, when suddenly someone noticed a light ball in the sky. Devon's first reaction was "It's a burning airplane!" but soon enough we noticed it was a meteor. I don't think I've ever seen something so cool in the sky. It took several minutes for it to pass, so everyone from the bar went out on the beach to make pictures and videos. One of us tried to make one as well, but you couldn't really see it, so we just watched and enjoyed. It had a really long tail with "stars" in it and the front part turned from red/orange into white and then green. It was amazing!

The 30th, I went with Jake, Luke and Lynn to the mall in San Salvador. I tried to find a bikini, but it's impossible to find one. Salvadorian women don't really swim in bikini, they keep their clothes on when they go to the beach. In el Tunco there are some, but you pay more because it's a touristic place so I thought I would find cheaper ones in San Salvador.
When we wanted to go to another mall, Lynn suggested to go to the city center. She told us it was supposed to have a nice, historical center. I told her, that all I heard about it was that it wasn't nice, just dangerous and that I should not go there. And this is several Salvadorian people who told me. Luke and Jake didn't really want to go either, but she insisted. So we got into a taxi.. The more we got into the center, the more dodgy it became. When we got out at the main square, all we could see was an ugly palace and an even uglier church (no windows or decorations, just a white building that wasn't white anymore with a cross on it) The 3 of us said we wanted to go back, but Lynn kept insisting to walk around a bit, so we did.. There were no tourists around and it was really just dodgy streets, so I just felt like the longer I'd stay, the more chance I had on being robbed. When finally we told Lynn that she could either go back with us or stay (I wouldn't have felt good about leaving her but she just kept whining about staying) she eventually gave in and came with us.
When we arrived at the mall, she insisted on eating out on the streets. We ate street food every day at el Tunco so we left her there and went to get some subway's. When she found us again we went to see a movie at the cinema. Every other time that I went to the movies, they were English spoken with Spanish subtitles. This time it was just in Spanish. The boys left to drink at a bar while Lynn and I watched the movie "porque el?!"
At the end we spent all day in San Salvador. It was nice to have an "escape-day" from the beach.

the 31st was a great day as well. We watched the beautiful sunset from Monkey La La, then went out for dinner with everyone from the hostel. Then we played some drinking games. Greg came up with the funniest game ever: Anyone at the table can say "boogies up, boogies up" (or something like that) and everyone has to put their hands in front of their eyes as if they were glasses. The person who said it then goes "pok" (sound of a chicken) and points the hand in which direction the game goes to the person next to him/her. That person has to either go on in he same direction with the same movement and sound, or say "pokaaaaaa" (sound of a crazy chicken) while lifting both hands and puts them back in front of his/her eyes to change the direction. It sounds complicated when I write it down, but it is so easy and soooo much fun! If you understand my description, please consider this game the next time you are drinking with friends.
Around 23:30, we went to the beach to light the fireworks some of us bought. Ofcourse there were many firecrackers involved and the guys turned into little boys again. Afterwards we moved to the bars where we did the count down on the beach. We danced, drank, had fun and stayed up until the next morning to see the first sunset of the year, which was totally worth it.

The rest of the week I just chilled, made (and sold) some bracelets, watched the sunset (I just can't get enough of that one), went to el Zonte, celebrated ladies night with the girls...

Luke and I were leaving el Tunco the same day, so we saved our last night to go for dinner at a pizza restaurant that just opened. The pizza's are a little expensive but we heard so much about it. After eating rice and beans every day to keep the costs as low as possible, we thought we deserved it. The pizza's were indeed very nice and the people around us as well.

I have met so many amazing people during this month and I'm gonna miss every single one of them. I will also miss the beautiful sunset of el Tunco that I enjoyed almost every single day. There are so many other things and persons I could mention, but the list would be too long. It's time to get in the shuttle and move on to the next place. I do hope I can come back and visit el Tunco again in the future.


24th March 2017

We saw that Santa!
Hey nice article about your experience in El Tunco, it was fun to read about the Toritos (fireworks in La Libertad) hahaha We´re are sharing your story with our online community :D We hope you are doing great wherever you are at right now. Come back to El Tunco asap, sunsets are getting prettier every day :D http://playaeltunco.com/hotels-in-el-tunco/

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