What has changed:
· Supermarkets- Granted, they aren’t the supermarkets we have in the US, and they aren’t as big as the supermarkets in San Salvador, Usulután, or San Miguel, but there are two new supermarkets here in Berlin. I decided to take a good look inside the new supermarkets, and I was very surprised by what I saw. There are a bunch of new items that you can now buy in Berlin that you were not able to buy here two years ago. For example, you can now get: soymilk, olive oil, black and green tea, bug spray, Airwick fragrance spray, peanut butter, cappuccino mix, and an obscene amount of liquor and wine. However, all that being said, the new supermarkets do not take credit cards. I admit, I must have looked a little crazy walking around the two stores for a long time and taking pictures of things.
· Yoga class- I saw an advertisement for yoga, karate, and painting classes at one of the school. I’m not sure about painting, but I know I’ve never seen classes for yoga or karate advertised here before.
· Spa- According to the sign they offer massages, facials, exfoliation/scrubs, acrylic nails, and much more. I may have to check this place out.
· New restaurant- I haven’t been there yet, but I’m hoping to make a visit there tomorrow. It’s called Estancia Las Marias. It’s the first restaurant/salon of its kind in Berlin. According to their Facebook page, they have a restaurant, an art gallery, a garden, and a pool.
· Lookout- The lookout was being constructed when I was last here but I never got to see it finished. On a clear day, you can see far across the valley below.
· Western Union- Offering international money transfers. People from the US can send money to their families here in Berlin.
· Kids- All the kids have gotten so much bigger! I can’t believe how much they’ve grown. It has been great to see them again.
The other supermarket
Two kinds of black tea
Air Wick room spray
Lots and lots of booze
Send me some money please!
With a little girl, Jennifer, who I used to
see every day on my way to school in 2011
Misael, Esmerelda, and Damaris
What has stayed the same:
· Obnoxious young men- They are everywhere. I still haven’t figured out a good way to handle them. I’ve learned a few phrases in Spanish that I would like to use, but I decided it probably wasn’t a good idea. (Note: I didn’t take any pictures of obnoxious young men so as not to encourage them).
· Bathrooms- You still can’t flush the toilet paper. This is true for anywhere you go in the country. Most everyone in the cantons uses outhouses. However, some communities only have a certain number of toilets for the entire community. If you’re lucky, you’ll have your own outhouse with lamina around it so no one can see in.
· Water- People from the US can’t drink some of the water here. The only water we should be drinking is bottled, purified or filtered water. Most people don’t have running water in the cantons. They have to either walk to a river to get water or collect water in big tanks during the rainy season.
· Transportation- Crazy driving in El Salvador. Don’t get in the way. Seat belts are often not in use. Use them when in a big town or when you see police. The roads may be made of cement, brick, stone, dirt, other. And pickups or other trucks full of people is a common mode of transportation.
· Animals- Dogs, cows, pigs, horses, roosters roam the street. Slow down but keep moving. There are also many stray dogs, and people have a different attitude about stray dogs here.
· Food- Fresh fruit, fresh bread, fresh vegetables, fresh pan dulce. Corn and beans are still the staple crops. Not a day goes by that I don’t eat something made from corn and beans.
· Flowers- Bigger plants: poinsettia, croton, bougainvillea, hibiscus are all bigger than what we have in the US. The flowers here are amazingly beautiful.
· Poverty- Unfortunately, it still exists even though not everyone wants to admit it. It hasn’t gone away and it never gets easier to see.
Michelle and I in San Francisco
Very nice bathroom at the Pastoral House
Filling a cantaro from water from a tank in San Francisco
A station where you can get water in the cantons
A make shift washing station
A water filter in use in San Francisco
The pila at the Pastoral House. This is where
food and dishes are washed.
Riding on top of bricks
Truck full of people
This is a road
This is also a road
Cows in the road
I gave this dog some French fries
Always with a tortilla