It has been a good day indeed! I got up around 7:30, which is early for me. There was running water and it wasn’t too cold so I was able to take a shower. I met Sandy and Kathy downstairs. Kathy had the hammock- darn. So I went on a little quest to find one of the turtles that lives in the little courtyard area of the guest house. And I found her! She had the letters FMLN painted on her shell. FMLN stands for Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. It is a political group that developed from the former left-wing guerrillas during the civil war. I saw her and two other turtles when I was there in September, but didn’t have any luck finding the other two. Breakfast today was bread with eggs, watermelon, and an orange drink. I don’t think it was orange juice. They don’t have a lot of orange juice here. I’m not 100% sure why. I think it’s because the oranges aren’t very sweet. I know they make a drink using juice from the orange, but there’s sugar added to it.
After breakfast we paid the bill and left San Salvador headed for Ilobasco, a town known for its pottery. I sat in the back of the cab (truck) with my luggage. After staring out the windows for a while I began to get sleepy. I rested my head on a hard part of my luggage and fell asleep. When I woke up we were in Ilobasco. Time to look for some pottery. Before heading into the main part of town we stopped at a small store/house along the road. The clay vases there were absolutely gorgeous. They were mostly darker shades of browns, green, and red of many different shapes and sizes. And the prices were unbelievable. I especially like the way the artists made one style of vase. It was formed using clay, then bits of a cement bag were put on top of it. Then they painted over it with shoe glue and some paint. You would never believe the finished product came from such simple materials. The owner let us take a look out back where the pottery was made. It was interesting to see the different steps in making the vases. We made a few purchases and then headed into town, where the more touristy shops were. We browsed through some shops for a while looking at the pottery and other goods. Some of this pottery you’d be able to buy at the artesian market in San Salvador, but it’s cheaper here since you’re buying it from the source. I didn’t buy anything else but it was fun to look around.
It was nearing lunch time so our next stop was lunch. We hopped in the truck and headed toward Berlín looking for a specific restaurant Kathy had in mind. When we arrived it was closed. But another restaurant beside it looked promising. It was called Casa Blanca and the view was breathtaking. The entire restaurant was outside with a large roof over top. We sat down at the table and someone told us what there was to order. After that we looked around. They had a couple pineapple plants which I thought were fantastic since I’d never seen a pineapple growing before. For some reason I always thought they grew in trees. Nope. They grow on little bushes close to the ground. We also climbed up a metal tower next to the restaurant to get a better view of the valley below. I was able to see some of the damage from the mudslide in November 2009. Then our food arrived. I had a salad, rice, tortillas, and pork ribs. It was all delicious.
We set out after lunch for Berlín. Along the way we saw a guy in the back of a truck that was piled high with tires. There were numerous goods being sold alongside the road: plantains, iguanas, pet birds, bean, jacotes (fruit), and more. We arrived in Berlín around 3pm. Cecelia and Miguel were there; it was great to see them again. I got settled in, checked my email, talked to family on Skype, and chatted with Miguel for a bit. Dinner tonight was delicious. Nothing I’ve ever had before. Cecelia cut out the middle part of a tortilla and fried an egg in the middle of it. She put it on a plate and surrounded it with ramen noodles, beans, and avocado pieces. Very tasty. Later that night Sandy and Kathy taught me to play Rummikub. It was an interesting game similar to rummy but using tiles. We played three games and stopped during the second one to make creamsicles, a combination of orange Fanta and vanilla ice cream. I would have never thought to add the two together. They tasted exactly like a creamsicle. Even Cecelia liked it. All in all, another good day.
Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. ~Eddie Cantor