Day 7 – In Suchitoto

22 Mar

Boat, birds, hiking and police, local food and listening to a lot of Spanish.

Had a few comments that the blog was mostly the same every day, so to give you the highlights only actually makes it easier for me.

There are certain things that I can’t post online, but will let you all know when I get back, if you are interested. Mention auto hotels, and we’ll see where the conversation goes (the gutter mostly).

Anyway, the morning started off with a standard breakfast of scrambled egg and refried beans. Hotel trying to be posh, but not succeeding. It is the most attractive hotel in the whole of El Salvador, run by the former ambassador to France and his (male) partner.

We just missed the public bus and had to wait another hour for the next one. Whilst waiting, we managed to absorb the local community spirit, and witnessed a school children parade advertising tuberculosis jabs. Some were dressed as soldiers, beating drums whilst others were cheerleaders, butterflies, fairies, rabbits or assorted animals. (I think there was a lion). We also met the local drunk, and a helpful woman from the local tourist board.

Eventually the bus arrived
and we had a very interesting journey with the locals. One old woman seemed a bit forgetful and tried to take someone else’s luggage off the bus, to much hilarity of the locals. Door to door service for everyone meant we got to know where everyone lived.

We were dropped at Lake Suchitlan for a spot of bird watching. There were two boats – one for the birders and one for the majority of us. We had a pleasant hour and a half on the lake – some people even converted to the dark side. A lot of cows were spotted from our boat. And the subject of marriage for cows also cropped up.  We did see a Crested Caracara before the birder boat, which annoyed them slightly! Helped by Freddie (our boatman).

The public bus turned up just as we finished and we headed back to town for a spot of “bandero y magneto” shopping. Translation services were required again by Barry as everything was less than a dollar, hence not the low, recognizable numbers. He left his water in the shop – highly unlike him!

Lunch was overlooking the town square, in what must have been the only tourist trap in the place. $10 for a tuna sandwich, fries and a drink.

After a brief respite in the hotel, we headed to the next door police station to ask them to accompany us on a walk to a dried up waterfall.

Two of them drew the short straw, and we headed off down a dusty road. Walked for over an hour past several men / families who would have extorted money from us if it had not been for the police presence.

We arrived at a smaller version of the giants causeway and peered carefully over the edge. Some brave people also headed down to the bottom of the “falls” for some ankle breaking photos. Thankfully we all made it back in one piece, but a vulture was not so lucky. I thought the policeman was going to shoot it, as there is no RSPCA here, but he left it for a slow death. Wonder if vultures are cannibals?

We arrived back at the road, and a police pickup truck arrived to take us back to town. Trying to fit 16 people in did not work, so whilst four bailed out, the rest of us hung on for dear life in the back. I think they went back for them. Lou paid the entire police station in ice cream (because they are not corrupt here at all).

Arriving back at the hotel, I realised how hot and dusty it really was and a shower was most welcome. Also managed to persuade the barman that a fresh orange and 7up was a good idea. Retired to my room to freshen up and type yesterdays blog. CNN still a pile of rubbish, but I had to put the 50″ plasma to some use!

Unfortunately the optional cooking classes didn’t get enough people signed up, but Lou took myself,  Philip and Anne to a local street pupuseria, which sold pupusas – a filled tortilla style mix. We ended up having 2 each, and together with a drink of tamerind, the whole meal cost $1.45 – about 90p! We also got to see how they are made. They have a lot of cheese and refried beans in them, so were very filling. They are the local fast food, and orders were being taken all over the place. We sat in the street (at tables) to eat.

Not quite full enough, and wanting some meat, Lou and I headed off to Harlequins for a prawn cocktail. Long story short, Lou’s friends Wilfredo and Freda (looks about 50, actually 74!) joined us and they spoke a lot of Spanish. I managed to pick up about a third of it, but it was easy enough to follow the gist if it, as I had already heard most of it earlier on in the evening. Learnt that “cock” (gallo) has the same double meaning in Spanish but that that didn’t stop Guatemala naming the national beer after it. Also discussed a macho chicken advertising electrical equipment – “gallo mas gallo”. I’ll let you work out what that means.

Great night was tempered only slightly by arriving back at the hotel to discover that the bar had closed at 10pm. Ah well. Great local interaction day! El Salvadorians are great. Would like to come back here!

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