Monday, December 27, 2010

Interlude: Around El Tunco, El Salvador (November 23 - December 18, 2010)

El Tunco being small, relatively quiet, not overly touristy, and mostly affordable, we decide to stay for the better part of a month, with our intention to learn how to surf... so we bought four used surf boards for a total of about $300...

...these boards needed some minor repairs so Jason spearheaded this project...
tools and materials for surfboard repair: fiberglass, sandpaper, epoxy-like filler, resin, brush, scissors, alcohol, and WD-40...
waxing the newly-repaired boards

tuna purchased in La Libertad's fish marked for $2/lb.
  yes, that is only the head of what was an enormous fish.

Jesucristo Salvador del Mundo(Jesus Christ Saviour of the world).  This bizarre installation is found at a prominent intersection in the capital of San Salvador, to where we took a weekend sidetrip...

the view from the Jesus sculpture, looking more like New Jersey sprawl than central America.  San Salvador sadly lacks culture, seeming to have copied foot for foot, burger king for burger king,  New Jersey.

seen just near Jesus Saviour of the World, this is Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was brutally murdered on March 24, 1980 in El Salvador.  Romero was a Catholic bishop who defended human rights and organized against the abuses of the then-El Salvadorean government, and his murderers were a death squad who had been trained at the US Army School of the Americas in Georgia, USA.  These military death squads terrorized El Salvador with politically-motivated assassinations, later that same year murdering an American charity worker and three nuns in a case that along with Romero's murder became an international scandal.

we stayed two nights in Santa Tecla, near San Salvador, and above is the street food we located in the Santa Tecla market...

Sunday morning in Santa Tecla

pupusas consumed in a Santa Tecla pupuseria: corn with jalapeƱo, corn with beans, rice with zucchini, plantain with shrimp!

"this business is protected with the blood of Christ- the keys are in heaven"
religion does tend to get bizarre in central America

back in El Tunco, Sonia and Jeff ready to hit the waves

only two days later, Sonia and Jeff tearing it up on La Bocana (ha ha ha, they wish)

El Tunco provided quality time to play music.  Here is Craig with our English friend Tom, who plays ukelele.
footbag on the beach, late in the afternoons

marvelous El Tunco sunset

Sonia's idea for a good birthday (Jason's) time

...the music is gaining momentum on Jeff´s birthday...
by now we have formed a band, called "No Leftovers", featuring the three original guitars, plus two ukeleles (English Tom, Canadian Darrell) and an additional guitar (Australian Michael).  Playing mostly folk music, plus a little reggae and classic rock

two Belgian cyclists passed through El Tunco while we were there; they are going from New York to Buenos Aires

indoor camping? Craig and Mike's mosquito solution at La Sombra hostel, where we were based for the month

Mike returned from San Francisco with a lot of energy, a harmonica, a frisbee, a nerf football, many sets of guitar strings, and a bunch of other stuff

....dusk colors at El Tunco...

No Leftovers celebrated its first public performance at Coco Bar in El Tunco on Wednesday Open Mic night.  We played 6 songs, 45 minutes, to about 75 people, and it was quite a party.

To see videos of the following songs, click on the links below:

"Monkey Wisdom":

"The Jeff Song": we all are (plus Tom), eating a fish tacos dinner organized by Jason...

Jason and Tom chilling on the beach

surfers and bodyboarders in the water at sunset

we hope to surf like this someday

beach bonfire near the end of our stay in El Tunco

a final El Tunco gourmet meal: beerbatter-fried red snapper with guacamole and honey mustard dipping sauces.

At the end of our stay, we were able to sell the four surfboards again for $260, which came to a cost of a little more than $10 a person for the whole month.  This is usually the rental cost of a surfboard for one day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Segment 27: Monterrico, Guatemala to El Tunco, El Salvador (November 16 to November 22, 2010)

Craig showing off a "Sierra" (Pacific Mackerel) that we bought in Monterrico (7 dollars, four pounds).  We are going to cook it on a beach bonfire...
...all ready for the fire, stuffed with red peppers

... to leave Monterrico, we had to take this passenger ferry through a maze of mangrove swamps...
... Sonia amidst the locals...

crossing into El Salvador, our first action was to try authentic pupusas, omnipresent in El Salvador.  They are like stuffed, lightly-fried tortillas, smothered in curtido (see below).  These pupusas are filled with beans.
this jar contains "curtido", which is basically a little like Korean kimchi; fermented cabbage, carrots, jalapeƱos. It is always served with pupusas.

... leaving our stealth campsite from our first night in El Salvador...
for this we had to duck some barbed wire fences

arrived at our first beach in El Salvador: Barra Salada

just near the beach we found this shady, grassy yard

the local kids were amused by us as we broke out the guitars

puffer fish seen at Barra Salada

we bought some cheap local fish, which a local family was kind enough to fry up for us

sunrise at Barra Salada

our campsite, luxury-style.  It turns out that the caretaker of this property, whom we had met while playing guitar earlier, arranged to let us sleep here.  Complete with pool, gardens, etc..  The owners are El Salvadoreans, but are practicing doctors in Houston and rarely come.

Francisco the caretaker, and his grandson

the El Salvadorean coast between Barra Salada and El Tunco...

peregrine falcon seen on this stretch of coast

in El Tunco now, this is a roadside tortilleria...
note the thickness of the tortillas, quite thicker than Guatemalan tortillas, and making Mexican tortillas look like crepes.

this old man is shucking the corn to be used in making tortillas

a fish lunch in nearby La Libertad.  Fried flounder plus rice, salad, and tortillas, for $1.50

sunset in El Tunco

fresh-caught eels in the amazing fish market of La Libertad

... tniy hammerhead sharks on the docks of the fish market...

...the inside of the La Libertad fish market ...
We bought a 6 lb. tuna for $3.  We also bought several other types of fish between $1.25 and $2.50 per pound.  By far the best fish market we have seen on this trip.

seen in La Libertad.  This sign says: "Eating turtle eggs is to eat our future".