Friday, February 16, 2007

the mellower side of an AK-47

Everyone here seems to have a gun. A big gun. On the side of the road, driving in the back of a car, when you stop and ask for directions....there is a gun. I´ve watched men twirl them around like batons, gesture wildly in laughter, arms raised...welcome and open and greeting Los Gringos with one arm holding a gun.

It´s an accessory that takes a bit of getting used to.

We´ve managed to cover a lot of the country - had an incredible night at a coffee plantation/orchid nursery where the coffee was sweet and dark. Nights on empty beaches with no one in site but small children barefoot and gathering dried fish from the tops of corregated roof tops.

It does and does not remind me of Guatemala, of Belize. It does and does not feel like Mexico, with the cowboy hats and the horses. We´ve seen very few foreigners here, it´s not yet a spot perhaps on the top of vacation lists. And the country is just waking up to the revenue of tourism, guesthouses are being built, commercialism expanding.

It´s been 15 years since the end of the civil war. And the guerrilla movement in El Salvador, the FMLA, has become one of the few to be recognized as a legitimate political party. It´s hard to understand what all of that means in a week, but it´s fascinating and scary all at the same time.

Tomorrow our friends leave and J and I will be on our own for the rest of our trip. It´s been sweet so far - long nights of cards and beer, laughing and storytelling. I feel like it´s been forever and also that we´ve just arrived.

No destination past tonight, so we need to decide how to spend the last week of our trip. I miss M, but from the emails home I´ve learned she´s been to both Disneyland and the wild animal park, so I am guessing Her Highness is near impossible right about now and I´ll be happy to let her unwind for a few more days before her own reality settles back in.

Again, connection is spotty - I´ve tried to visit but can´t get to where I want to go. I´ll try again next time we are in a spot that has a connection. It´s good and also strange how much some of you are in my thoughts. I am also still waiting for another bit of news from home, news that still hasn´t come so is ever present on my mind, and once it´s decided, I´ll know if I am swinging to the north or the south, but for now, we´ll play it loose under a lovely thatched roof for one more night, and try to stay in just this moment.

19 comments:

QT said...

Have a sweet time, my friend. Thinking about you and glad your adventures have been fruitful and safe.

Sober Briquette said...

Wonderful to hear about it all & looking forward to the rest there is to know.

Deezee said...

Disneyland and the Wild Animal Park? Is your young lass down in these So Cal parts rummaging around? Will you come pick her up here (and call me and come visit)? One must end such a visit in Venice.

El Salvador...did you see the film Innocent Voices? Set during the country's civil war, it sat with me for months. Everyone - A MUST SEE.

Love your details...

ecm said...

vacationing with guns, huh? enjoy the rest of your trip...have many adventures.

scribbit said...

Have fun and good luck with the connection.

I guess I'd rather have someone waving a gun around me than pointing one at me. But it would, as you say, take some getting used to.

meno said...

It would take me a while to get used to having guns visible everywhere.

The beaches sound like heaven.

crazymumma said...

Rest easy that Queen M is becoming more hideous every day and that you will squish her soon!

As to the guns. jeez you just made me remember that I lent my friend Steev my gold corno (italian good luck charm) forever ago when he travelled in Guatemala. I was happy to hear on his return that it had saved his skin with 'men with guns'. A small price to pay for a friend to return home safe.

This is all so exciting. Keep safe girl.

XO anne

s@bd said...

learn much
enjoy much

(and for the love of all things good, stay SAFE)

flutter said...

Sounds romantic and slightly primitive

kristen said...

Wow, sounds like miss M is having the time of her life and now the 7+ hour drive totally makes sense....

Sounds like a wonderful trip despite the machine guns. I'm always thrown when I see the big guns in force in other countries, especially when they are flipped around like a toy.

I loved the images of night-time on the beach with the kids and the dried fish, love the images of you hanging with your friends playing cards and drinking beer.

I hope you're taking lots of pictures!!

Susanne said...

Who would have known there might be a mellower side to a machine gun? I hope your trip stays pleasant.

ewe are here said...

Sounds like your having a really great adventure, save for the machine gun as the accessory-must have.

Looking forward to hearing more.

Laurie said...

It sounds like your little one is having the time of her life.

I have missed your posts so much, and have thought of you often. You've become a part of my life, a good part, and I'm thankful for that.

Lucia said...

I'm so glad you spent time on the beach. I just love the beach in ES.

Have you been in Guate lately? There are guns all over the place there now too. Once I'm back from Rwanda, I'm doing a quick turnaround (couple days) to Panajachel, Guate.

The weird thing I remember about ES is that we'd go to this amazingly beautiful place, and people would say, this is where they threw the bodies over the cliffs.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your time there.

NotSoSage said...

My brother was (briefly) kidnapped in El Salvador a few years ago and he was able to escape into a bar full of armed people and from there to the home of the sister of a young Salvadoran man who lived with us for a few years.

Canadians rarely feel safer around weapons, but I think that this was one time that he was thankful that they were so prevalent...

Her Bad Mother said...

Cheers to staying in the moment - enjoy it!

Mad Hatter said...

Thank you for that last para. It puts my mind at ease. Now please try to avoid the guns and enjoy the lovin'

Hel said...

We have been without an internet connection for the last two days but it was worth the wait to see something new on your site.

Here is hoping the trip gets better every day and the news you are waiting for is good.

karrie said...

Ah, sounds wonderful! I so miss that kind of on the fly, "let's go here!" travel.