I was rudely awaked this morning a little before 6am by the sounds of a parade going down the street. There was music and people were honking car horns. I remember thinking, “These people are nuts. Who has a parade at six in the morning?!” Apparently people in El Salvador have 6am parades when it’s Patron Saint week. Ugh. I put in some ear plugs, put a pillow over my head, and went back to sleep. I managed to get almost 2 hours of sleep before waking up.
When I walked out of my room everyone was around the table and Idalia greeted me with, “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon). Yeah, yeah, I slept in today and it was wonderful. I had some bread with beans for breakfast. I was still hungry after eating that so I cut up an apple, mandarin orange, and a mango to eat as well. When I walked up to Kathy’s office she informed me that we had no internet. Great. Yes, there are worse things in life, but it’s still a pain in the neck. I had several important emails I needed to get sent off that will have to wait. Such is life, I guess. Hopefully it’ll be back tomorrow otherwise we’ll have to call Tigo, the service provider.
Aminta offered to do my laundry today and I guiltily accepted. This is the first time I’ve ever let someone else here do my laundry. I always do my own laundry because the ladies have so much more to do and I’m perfectly capable of doing laundry. But Aminta insists that she likes doing it. I gave her two pairs of pants and four shirts to wash. And I have to admit, it was really nice to have someone else do my laundry. I crossed laundry off my to-do list and looked at what else I needed to get done.
I spent time organizing things for school and looking through lesson plans. I finished typing up a report that I’ve been meaning to get done and I finished my blog from yesterday. I couldn’t post it but at least it was done. I sorted through pictures which I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I love looking back at all the fun I’ve had over the past week. I guess a little down time from the internet isn’t such a bad thing. It gave me time to focus on other things that I needed to get done.
Chelita continues to get bigger every day. She’s going to outgrow her plastic tub soon. We might have to get chicken wire and make a little place in the back yard for her so she’ll be protected from Barbara but will be able to run around. She escaped from her plastic tub twice today. The first time I moved her to another part of the house and then went to get her fresh food and water. I heard her cheeping and looked back to see her running down the hallway towards me. She followed me into the kitchen where I got her food and water. Then she followed me back to her tub. I picked her up and put her back inside her little home. Naughty Chelita.
I went to wash my hands at the outside pila (cement water basin) as I always do after handling her. Chickens can carry salmonella and I am also allergic to her feathers/skin. I heard her cheeping once again and as I was drying my hands she came running down the hall toward me. So I picked her back up and set her back in the tub. I went outside to rewash my hands and this time she stayed put. “Siempre hay problemas con Chelita” I told Cecilia (There are always problems with Chelita.)
I was feeling especially tired this afternoon and both Aminta and Cecilia told me I should take a nap. Aminta was serious but I’m pretty sure Cecilia was joking. I’d already had three cups of caffeinated tea but that didn’t seem to do the trick. I took it all as a sign that I needed to sleep. So I went into my room and listened to a booktape for while intending only to rest. And rest I did for almost an hour. When I woke up I rewarded my excellent napping skills by indulging myself with ice cream. I tried a new flavor, tamarind, which is absolutely delicious.
Chelita pecking at the ground
Her wings are growing
She's much bigger than last week
Tonight we went with Cecilia’s family to the festival. There are always tons of people out but even more now because it’s Friday. You can definitely tell the difference between the country folk and city people. There are also a lot of out-of-towners who dress even more bizarrely and stick out in a crowd. One lady was wearing short jean shorts, a strapless top, and 4-inch white heels. Yikes! I’ve seen the strapless tops and high heels but most people here do NOT wear shorts. Unless you’re in a big city it’s pretty rare to see shorts and even then the majority of people wear pants or capris.
Marvin, Cecilia’s son, and Freddy, Cecilia’s nephew, went on the little roller coaster that was set up. I took a couple pictures of them as they went around. When the ride was over we went off in search of food. After a short deliberation I got some french fries at a little stand. The woman put ketchup and cheese on them and then stuck a little paper umbrella/flower into the bowl. I’d never had fries with cheese before. It was pretty tasty. Freddy got a bowl of fries as well.
We found a spot to sit and eat. A drunken man came over and started talking to Kathy. He wasn’t really talking but was sort of motioning with his hands. None of us have any idea what he was trying to communicate to us. Thankfully he only stayed a couple minutes and then went on his merry way. I told Cecilia that the crazy people like to talk to Kathy. We continued eating. I decided I needed some Coca-Cola so Kathy and I walked back to the food area. I got my Coke and the lady put it in a bag with a straw (typical here) so they could keep the bottle and return it for 5¢.
When we were walking back I saw Miguel from San Francisco who was talking with Pedro, one of the translators the Pastoral Team uses. We only spent a few minutes chatting because we needed to get back to the group. As soon as we got back some other weird guy came over and started talking to me. He was clearly intoxicated. Nice. We gringos seem to attract the crazos. I played the “I don’t speak Spanish” routine but it didn’t seem to work. Cecilia told Alejandro to take me to the Ferris wheel. I eagerly motioned him toward me and we walked to the Ferris wheel. The intoxicated people aren’t a threat, just annoying. No different than the drunks you’d see in Des Moines.
We bought our tickets for the Ferris wheel (called a ‘chicagua’ in El Salvador) and got in line. Now, I went on this Ferris wheel last year as well. I’ve seen how they put it together. Some guys climb up the Ferris wheel without harnesses putting things together by hand, piece by piece. I’m not afraid of Ferris wheels in the US; they are slow, relaxing, and you can take in the view. But this Ferris wheel is insane. Not only is it very fast, but it’s pretty old and rickety. It’s no wonder you hear people screaming when they’re on it. Plus, there aren’t exactly any safety precautions associated with the ride. People kind of push and shove to get up to the front in order to get on the Ferris wheel. But there aren’t any railings between the wheel itself and the line so if someone pushed you hard you could potentially fall into the path the wheel is on and splat! But all in all it was a fun ride. I told Cecilia and Kathy that I want a shirt that says: “Sobreviví a la chicagua!” (I survived the Ferris wheel).
And now, enjoy this little excerpt from last year’s blog about Kathy’s thoughts regarding the roller coaster in Berlín:
“During dinner we were talking about the rides downtown and the fiesta next week. I asked if Alejandro would like to go on the roller coaster. Kathy said he probably would. I asked if the roller coaster is safe to go on, wondering if I could go on it. Her response, “Well my dear, if it’s your day, it’s your day. Whether it’s on the roller coaster… driving on the canton road… or you could walk outside your house and an airplane wheel could fall on your head.” That was definitely not the response I was expecting. Several minutes later as she was walking outside and I was walking inside I looked up at the sky, raised my arms in terror, and screamed. She immediately looked up and let out a little noise. I started laughing hysterically and she called me a name. I will pay for my little prank. As I sit here writing about what happened I can barely contain my laughter. I had to excuse myself a few times to go laugh in Kathy’s office because I couldn’t control myself. That’s a good way to end the day.” - Alisha, 3-8-10
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” ~E.E. Cummings
The Ferris wheel
Lots of rides
Oooo! Can I go?
A swinging ship
Food and craft vendors
It's getting dark!
Riding the mini roller coaster
The top of the church
Here we go!
Looking down at all the people
Riding the carousel
Lots of fun