5 BUSES FROM LAGO COATEPEQUE
Getting to the coast took all day. I had podcasts downloaded and a backup battery ready for the long trip, but most of the journey involved standing in chicken bus aisles, squeezed between sweaty Salvadoreños and trying to find something to hold on to. Most chicken buses are just old American school buses, and I know from arranging field trips that they typically hold 44 high school students, 2 in a seat. On the bus from La Libertad to El Tunco, I counted 83 people, and the driver proceeded to pick up more passengers!
El Zonte is no more than a few blocks of expat surf camps and makeshift shops left fairly vacant by the rainy season. And there weren't even any surfers to watch from the classy Covana Seaside Kitchen - where we spent most of our two days ordering drinks and food often enough to justify our loitering - since the waves were 'suicidal,' as we overheard one surfer say at the delicioso Pupusería Guisy (20-ish varieties of pupusas!).
EL RAYO EN EL PATIO
Peggy and I stayed at an Airbnb 2 blocks from the water, in a room above
El Taller, a shop that sells bikinis, smoothies, and local honey, but it was closed for the season. The hosts' home is about 30 feet away on the same property, but they were out of town.
At around 8:30 on our second night, we were reading and watching the sky light up through the glass doors that overlook the hosts' home when there was a thunderclap powerful enough for us to turn to each other with wide eyes. I remember saying boy was that loud, but there was still a short gap between the light and the sound, and sure enough, a minute later there was another flash with no sound delay. The yard exploded in electrical discharge as a power line and other flaming debris fell into the pool area.
From the floor we could smell smoke from an electrical fire. We thought there was a downed power line so we were stuck inside until the rain stopped enough for someone to hear us. Our power was out but the neighbors' lights were still on. Eventually I yelled to the neighbors, who called the hosts. We were both fine, and it was pointless to even ask if
Switches, casements, and bulbs were blown apart. We were pretty lucky!
the local power company could come fix it, so there wasn't much else to do but go to sleep with the windows open.
In the morning we surveyed the damage. The gutter on the main house was torn off and several terra cotta shingles were broken where the lightning struck. The outlets and light bulbs in our room were fried, and plastic conduits were blown to bits. One light switch had shot across the room and was charred black. Luckily we hadn't had our phones plugged in.
So I can add that to my list of crazy rainy season adventures. While the town itself was pretty boring, we found plenty of excitement in El Zonte!
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