The $73.50 Weekend

Now you may think I’m going to say I did about 2 things for $73.50. That seems to be the trend while you are studying abroad. But boy oh boy was I in for a treat.

It breaks down like this:

$18 for Casa affiliated transportation via micro to and from Juayua.

$11 for a large dorm-style 5 person room complete with eclectic art at Hotel Anahuac.

$15 for dinner with an appetizer, entree, dessert, and 2 drinks.

$3.50 for a typical home cooked breakfast of plantains, beans, eggs, and a half of an avocado at the hotel

$20 for a 7 hour hiking tour, including lunch, that went through 7 waterfalls including repelling down one and swimming in another

$5 for a dinner of 2 pupusas, a zapote smoothie, and a chocobanana

$1 for a cup of coffee and a coconut galleta (cookie).

Travel Channel has nothing on this.

I couldn’t imagine a better weekend if I tried to be quite honest. We stayed at a rather hip and artsy hotel. The walls were covered with some obscure art, there were painting of windows, some that looked like they came out of nightmare before christmas, and of course one naked woman sitting on a stool with her bare but cheeks visible. Laughs were had over this one.

After checking in the hunger status of everybody was determined to be, or close to being, substantially hungry. It is important to note at this time that street names in El Salvador are pretty much never used. This is my kind of system usually. However, when you are in a new town, in a new country, things can get tricky.

And by tricky I mean walking around the streets in a pack of 8 gringos searching for a restaurant whose name was something like, but not necessarily, El Cadero. It turned out to be El Cadejo Cafe. So we were pretty close. Drinks were shared, laughs were had, the gringos made a spectacle, you get the gist.

The following morning we woke up to the hotel owner or manager and another woman who worked at the hotel cooking our breakfasts in the small hotel kitchen that we were allowed to use at any time. After eating the delicious breakfast and drinking some french-pressed organic coffee (sold by none other than El Cadejo Cafe) we began our trek towards the hike of 7 waterfalls.

The hike was breathtaking. We went up through coffee plants, down towards the waterfalls, through a few of the waterfalls, took some group pictures, repelled down yet another waterfall, stopped for veggie sandwiches for lunch (Hardboiled eggs, avocado, tomato, cucumber, onions, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper), then continued to visit 2 more waterfalls that were open for swimming. We were told that one of these waterfalls had a tunnel that went to another waterfall…

Neat! Cool! Sounds awesome!

Were our first thoughts.

We arrive at the waterfall, see a sort of aqueduct/large water pipe-thing but no tunnel.

No…that’s not it….it can’t be…

It was.

I would say it was the single event in my life that most resembled a horror movie.

Our guide assured us that it went through and was short but when you are in a single file line holding onto the person ahead of you for dear life in a small tunnel whose losing light to gaining water ratio makes you very uncomfortable, things can get a little panicked. But we made it. So no worries.

We got back from the hike, walked through the market in the middle of town through aisles of fresh produce, fried goodies, plates, shoes, clothes, and plenty of other trinkets before we grabbed some coffee and pan dulce to go.

Since nobody really felt like coking after such a long day we went to Senkali (a classy pupuseria) for dinner. I ordered 2 pupusas and one zapote smoothie (possibly one of my new favorites), making my total $4. Then for dessert we walked down the street to the center square that also has a giant tree-of-life sort of thing going on to a small vendor that sells chocobananas aka frozen bananas covered with chocolate.

Chocolate covered frozen fruit is a pretty big deal here, I’m not exactly sure why…but I assume the whole tropical heat thing is a big factor.

Anyways.

So at this particualr stand they sell chocobananas, chocouvas (grapes), chocofresas (strawnerries), and chocosandia (watermelon). What’s special about this stand is that you can pick TWO toppings, say whattt?

So I picked oreos and granola. In retrospect, my original thought process of granola being the ultimate package because it had oats and nuts was a poor one because the granola ended up being stale. But it didn’t really matter once we sat down at an outside table and got to talking. I’m already going to miss these nights once 3 more months is up.

But enough getting too far ahead of myself. This weekend will be spent with one of our lovely becarios. I have been placed with Norelby, a student at the UCA whose English is fairly good. Me and 2 other girls will be accompanying her to Gurajilla, a small campo in the northernmost part of the country. So be looking out for that post when I return.

PS If you are thinking to yourself “dang, how does this girl have free time to do anything?” Then we are on the same track. I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 weeks here. I also can’t believe that I only have 2 more weekends free of Casa-planned events. Plans on plans on plans.

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