Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekend Excursion

Geoff and I spent the weekend by ourselves, because the rest of the new international teachers were busy settling into their apartments. In El Salvador, we have thus far met a lot of really nice locals, but because of the disparity in income, we think that many of them would not be able to afford the lifestyle that we want to have, ie. going out regularly. To give you an idea of what a "regular Salvadorean" makes in income, Geoff and I could go out and have a FULL meal -- with two pupusas and a drink for each of us -- and the total for BOTH of our meals would be around $2.50. And many "restaurants" and snack stores are holes-in-the-wall that are run literally out of someone's home or front yard. You can get a chocolanana, or frozen chocolate banana, for around 35 cents. Clearly, that's not a very high profit margin; the vendors make those right at home and sell them through a little window that faces the street, in order to keep their costs low.

International school teachers are considered upper-middle class here. In truth, my salary here is far lower than my salary back in NYC, but because the cost of living is so much lower here, our life is much more luxurious than what we once had back in NYC. Geoff and I could afford a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom apartment here, with a pool and 24-hour security, in a nice neighborhood. In NYC, for the same amount of money, we couldn't even get a single room in a shared apartment in Manhattan!

Anyway, on Friday, we had gone out in Zona Rosa, which is a posh partying district here in the city. After having a delicious steak dinner and drinking in an outdoor bar typical of this area, we checked out another indoors bar, Riconcitos, which had an awesome vibe and a cover band. The band's music was upbeat and diverse -- I think they started out with some electronica and ska, and then wrapped up with some reggaeton and salsa. The crowd was young; here in San Salvador, high-schoolers can go out and drink and party as well, and you definitely can spot their young faces in the hip bars around town. Afterwards, Geoff and I went and danced in another cool little spot across the street, where they were playing some American music, mixed with a lot of merengue. --All in all, a really fun night. :)

We ran some errands on Saturday, and then headed down to the beach. We had our minds set on going to el Tunco, which is a beach named for its giant pig-shaped rock. (Actually, the rock looked awesome, but it also looked more like a whale to us than a pig.) This beach is a famous surf spot, but we didn't get to surf this weekend. Instead, we swam in the ocean and had some delicious pupusas and seafood. We also stayed with a semi-creepy artist at his guesthouse, and that was very interesting. While we were hanging out with him on his porch, the electricity went out for the whole village, and momentarily we were sitting in complete darkness -- with a creepy guy who had already demonstrated his prowess with his machete and had reiterated his love for Asian women! Yikes. ...Fortunately, everything was OK in the end, and we even ran into our friends Alison and José the next day at the beach! :)

On Sunday night, we drove our rental car back to the city and went to a barbeque at the school's complejo, where the rest of the international hires live. That was fun, because teachers are almost always a social bunch. I'm hopeful that once they are settled in, they'll be up for going out and exploring the neighborhoods with us. :)


A pictoral illustration of a crazy bus that went into the lane of on-coming traffic in order to pass cars in our lane; it eventually gave up and came back into our lane. (Taken on the way back from the beach.)


As you might have read, the swine flu has been in full-swing in El Salvador for 4 months. Well, the ministry is closing schools for two weeks -- this week and next week. What that means is that we are not allowed to go into the school itself, and all of the paperwork and professional development meetings we were supposed to have this week have been moved to another location. School will be delayed at least one day in opening, which I'm certainly not complaining about. Other teachers are keeping their fingers crossed that the school will be delayed even further, to allow us a last long weekend before school re-opens.
We'll see about that, I guess. I'm not too worried.

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