The bad news is that we didn’t have internet again today at the house. It went out last night at 10:00pm right before I posted my blog. The good news is that I wasn’t awakened this morning by loud music or parades. I think I heard one cohete go off but after that I didn’t hear anything. That was surprising because today was the last day of the festival in Berlín. I’m definitely not complaining because no noise meant I slept well.
This morning I got some things ready for school tomorrow and worked on some reports as well. I also went through a few photos. I’m hoping we have internet tomorrow because that’s how I stay in touch with my family. I was really hoping to talk to them today since tomorrow is my first day of school and I’m a little nervous. Thankfully I had put some money on my phone so I could call and talk to Matt for a while. It’s not terribly cheap to call the US but it’s cheaper than him calling me.
Kathy told me that Cecilia was going to Pollo Campero today to get us lunch. I was excited and asked Cecilia if I could go along. Pollo Campero is a really popular fast food restaurant in El Salvador featuring chicken. It’s kind of like KFC but with a Salvadoran twist. I’ve heard lots about it but had never actually been to one. As we walked up to the store a security guard opened the door for us. A lot of stores here have security guards. We ordered 6 pieces of chicken and some french fries. The cashier gave us a receipt that was stamped with the store number and initialed by him. Every business here has its own official stamp, even the Pastoral House. And people here seem to stamp everything. The chicken itself was pretty good. Not something I’d want to eat every day but a nice treat.
Around 1:45pm we could hear someone talking with a megaphone down the street. That meant the parade was going to start soon. The parade was a bunch of trucks full of people from the cantons. The city hall of Berlín arranged for trucks to pick up people from all the different cantons and caseríos. Then they would parade (sort of) down the road. Eventually the parade/procession started around 2:15. It wasn’t very long and we just stood right outside the house to watch. We saw Balmore, Marvin, and Elmer go by in the truck from Alejandría. After they’d gone by Cecilia, Kathy, and I walked to town to see what else was going on.
There were a lot of cars on display that had been set up for everyone to look at. Cecilia went to buy some things while Kathy and I looked at the cars. I’ve never been particularly interested in car so I really had no idea what I was looking at. I just like to see what’s going on. There were a couple of car model ladies that you could have your picture taken with for $1. If the Pastoral House ever has a fundraiser I could put on the little outfit and we could charge for pictures. We were discussing how much money we could get from people for a picture with me.
We looked around for a while at all the little shops set up and the vendors walking around selling things. We eventually made our way to the ice cream store because I thought it’d a good time for ice cream. Kathy got a small coffee ice cream and I got a double of mango and tamarind. Yum! I enjoy seeing the ice cream lady at the store. I have a picture of when I was here in February 2007 at the ice cream store and she’s in the picture! Yes, the ice cream lady and I go way back. We sat and ate for a while and then made our way to the park to see what was going on.
There wasn’t a whole lot happening yet. A couple people from city hall were up on stage talking about various things. A lot of it sounded like campaigning. But they also talked about projects they’ve been working on for the community. Eventually a crowd began to form as we all listened. Kathy said there’d probably be lot of ex-combatants here because the mayor and city hall right now is FMLN controlled which was the guerilla side during the civil war (1980-1992). Plus, this year marks the 30th anniversary that the FMLN has been in existence. I recognized several of the people from city hall who were in the area. The mayor even walked by Kathy and me one point and stopped to say hi. I felt pretty important.
Then some random older man got up on stage to sing something to the crowd. Kathy told me that it wasn’t planned but they just let him go up there and sing. I took a couple pictures and recorded it. After that the band finally took the stage. It was a group called Torogoces de Morazán. The torogoz is the national bird and Morazán is a department in El Salvador. The group is very popular and is known for singing a lot of songs about the war and politics. It was extremely loud because we were close to the speakers but a wonderful group with great music. I recorded them a little bit as well.
We left a little before 4:30 to head back to the house. I didn’t expect to be gone that long but I’m really glad we had the chance to see everything. Soon it was time for church. I had to meet Cecilia and Kathy there because I was talking on the phone to Matt. Tonight the priest was speaking and said that this was the second Sunday of Lent. I didn’t realize we were on the second Sunday already. It feels like Ash Wednesday was just last week. The time does fly. I ran into a couple girls from San Francisco after church. It was great to see them again!! They are such beautiful young ladies! I hope I can get out to San Francisco soon to see the youth group.
We decided to get a pizza after church tonight. Usually we get pupusas but since the festival is in town we thought pizza would be fun. I bought all of us some slush drinks as well. When our pizza was ready we walked back to the house. It was nice to be able to be a part of the festival once again. I’m sad that patron saint week is over because it’s been so much fun. I love the people, music, food, and festivities. Well, most of the time I love it. Around 9pm they set off a bunch of fireworks from downtown. We stood in the backyard at the house and watched. It was a good end to the week.
Idalia with flowers from last night's Saint Joseph float
The roses and lilies were beautiful
There go the cohetes (noisemakers)
The trucks line up
There goes a truck with government officials
I see a queen!
A group from the cantons
I love this banner on the truck
I see Balmore, Elmer, Lola, and Pilar!
Hola a todos!
Going down town
The car models
Yup. That's an engine
Lots of cars
I wonder where these cars came from
They were nice cars
Giant inflatable beer can
Hmmm, that's an interesting sign for that kind of car
I wonder if they know what it means
People from city hall start talking
Stuff for sale
Lots of little shops
So much to buy
Large, plastic guns for sale. Fantastic. That should
definitely be for sale in this country. The country Obama is
visiting tomorrow to talk about drug trafficking and violence.
What to buy, what to buy
It's just like the State Fair
Trophies glued to a jeep
This is the 4x4 club
City hall talking up on stage
The crowd begins to form
Random drunk person up on stage
Here comes the mayor!
The legal guy of city hall
Lots of little FMLN flags
This guy got up to sing a song
Let the music begin!
Torogoces de Morazan
Watching the show
This guy was great
Now lots of people are watching
And Jesus' mom, Lola
The crowd grows
I'll take some cotton candy
P.S. If you haven't heard, President Obama will be in El Salvador March 22 and 23!!