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EL Salvador 10

Sun, 27 Jan 2008

Hi to all from sunny El Salvador- I know, I know, I heard about the 4 day storm with very low wind chills that is headed for Saskatchewan! I guess that means that I should enjoy the last few days here all the more. Anyway, I hope it isn't too too bad. Let me know how you all fare.

So the first order of the day was to attend the church service at the church where Bishop Oscar Romero conducted his last mass. To me, the building has an amazing feeling, and just staring at the alter where it happened certainly gives one pause. I kept having visions of the last scene of the film where the gunman bursts into the church just as he was lifting the chalice. I guess it didn't happen that way exactly and was done that way partly for dramatic effect. Anyway, the service felt quite serene on the whole and it was a good thing to be able to attend. The priest was an American that spoke Spanish. There is a sign behind the alter that says something like....'at this alter, Monsignor Oscar Romero offered himself to God and his people' His heart is apparently buried under a shrine in his house that is nearby.

After the service, we headed out to a nearby volcano to walk around and have lunch. On the way, we stopped at a little coffee plantation where we looked at coffee beans still on the branches. On the plantation we were on a few days ago, most of the harvest had been completed. The beans seem to grow close to the main braches all the way along the branch in huge amounts. They seemed to be at all stages of development, from green , to red, to we ooohed and aaaahed and took lots of pictures.

Next stop, the volcano. We were expecting to see your typical crater and apparently there are craters to be seen, but not by us today. The road was not passable. I was not clear as to whether it was the condition of the road or because of bandits that seem to be prevalent on the roads in some areas. The police and our friends with the sawed off shotguns can be seen patrolling these roads because of them. So we did go to a restaurant that was quite high up this volcano but it was so overgrown with vegetation by now that it could have been just a mountain. It was nice nonetheless, and of course had an amazing panoramic view with walking paths and lots of tropical vegetation. So we dined and chatted and just enjoyed the view and being able to be outdoors. It has been a tough last couple of days! On our way back into town, we decided to stop at one of the very high end malls, just to have a look. It was definitely designed in a much more glitzy way than the mall down the road (lots of polished tile, glass, etc.) but the shops were not any more interesting to me. In fact the most interesting place was a car dealership that sold Ferraris,

Maseratis and Porsches.....remember that these are worlds of contrasts! So obviously, there are rich people here but only about 20% of the people would shop in such a mall.

The rest of the afternoon was spent looking around a small artisans market, a small art gallery, and then another cafe overlooking the city. Do we eat and drink a lot?....absolutely....well on an off day like this anyway.

So it is 'back to work Monday' with a trip to an orphanage.

I just got a whiff of cigarette smoke and realized that I have never seen anyone smoking here. I would have expected quite the opposite but in any case it's a plus!

So that's it for today....

Stay warm!

V & C