I think I’ve been making too many excuses not to write. I’m busy, work is busy. I’m tired, let me just take a nap – or my favourite one, I’ve been in front of the computer all day, I don’t want to do it at night. While not untrue, I wanted to do a bit more.
So here I am, on the computer. I figured I should do something productive.
In October, I went back to El Salvador for a wedding. I used the wedding as an excuse to be able to go back and make a massive trip out of it. I wanted to do something I had not done before and make the most of the little time I had there. My father came with me, and I convinced him to go on a road trip with me. One of his friends joined us on the road trips – it’s always good to have a local with you (we didn’t consider ourselves locals, a lot has changed in 21 years).
I will try not to focus too much on the details but I’ll explain as much as I can. We stayed with my aunt in the capital, and the aim was to not be home during the day, or anywhere near the capital – to be outside and to see the country. To be honest, my real goal was to see the country that I had missed out on in 21 years. And I feel I got to do that.
In 7 days, we managed to get in a few places, places I’ve only ever heard my parents and extended family speak of; I got to see beautiful birds and of course, I got to spend time with my family – which is always the highlight to a trip.
We arrived at night the first night, so we didn’t really do anything, just went home to catch up with family and rest. But the next morning to start the trip, the first stop was Suchitoto. Suchitoto is a little town in the department (or state) of Cuscatlan. It’s a very old town, pre-colombian settlement, and its architecture has been well preserved. It’s a beautiful spot, very calm and lively. It’s very popular for the tourists, and I had only seen photos of it. So it was on the list. It wasn’t a long drive, I think it took us around 40 minutes with some traffic.
Many of the houses are brightly coloured, painted in different colours or with some local art on the walls. I felt that the locals were really proud of their little village, even if it’s not the biggest or most attractive, it had a sense of home and a lot of culture.
I think my favourite spot was the central park, you had the stores around the park, with a church at the end. There was a fountain there too. We walked around for a bit, went into some artisan shops and got some souvenirs too. The local church is immaculate, painted white on the outside, and with its wooden pillars inside. It is beautifully kept by the local team. We went inside for a few minutes and sat and admired the handiwork. I don’t know how old this church is, but definitely has its years. Check out the photo below.
One thing I noticed was that there were a lot of stencil paintings of the torogoz, which is the national bird. We ended up asking what this was about, why does every house have a stencil painted on it? It turns out, the torogoz is also the symbol for ending violence against women. For a fairly misogynist culture, I think it’s a step forward.
This little stone road town has a lot of character. The locals were sitting at the park relaxing, we got there mid-morning and relaxed for a while. There a house that belongs to Alejandro Cotto, who was a cinematographer, a local boy. His house I believe is now a museum. We didn’t go there, instead we went to Port of San Juan, Suchitoto, a 15 minute drive further north. It’s not a real port, it is the ferry point, where one can cross the Rio Lempa. It looks like a massive lake, filled with lily pads. I overheard that many years ago, the government decided to make some sort of water reserve in that area, but it didn’t work out the way they wanted. I’m not too familiar with the story and I’d rather not make something up!
By midday, we had a delicious lunch at the Port. It was fried yuca with pepescas. It’s a small fish. I had not had this since I was a little girl and it was absolutely amazing. It was a hot day, so it went perfectly with a beer. I don’t actually have a photo of this!
At the end of our lunch, we packed up and left back to the city to run some errands before the longer drives and days start. Hope you enjoy the photos!