Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wednesday, August 31

Language again—here if someone says something and you want to respond that you agree, that what they said was correct, you don’t say “exacto,” or similar words, but “cabal.” Any Spanish speaker, from any country, would understand that—but Salvadorans say it…

More things that have not changed:

The volcán still dominates the landscape, and as I remembered, at least these three days has started clouding over in the morning, to be quite covered by afternoon. No surprise. It’s interesting to remember that twenty years ago, FMLN guerrillas controlled areas of the volcán….

There are still guys with big guns in front of stores, guarding them—a tire store, and interestingly, a lot of the restaurants. But when I went to the bank (Citibank, natch) to cash a check, I went to a sidewalk walk-up teller, and there was no guard in sight—perhaps if I had entered the building….

And trancones (traffic jams). If anything, there are a lot more cars on the streets here (my understanding is that this is because they allowed used cards to be imported). It seems like a major problem. And starting today a lot of buses aren't going to be running, because the government is insisting that bus drivers have a special license, and perhaps half of them don't have it yet, because of the cost and because of bureaucratic obstacles they've encountered in getting the license.

And lunch—comida a la vista. I had nearly forgotten about that—cafeteria-style food—you pick out the dishes you want from various hotplates—this was a small, family place, so there wasn’t much variety, but eating lunch there was also very nostalgic (if too salty).

After lunch, sitting in my room, I heard parrot squawks on the grounds—I could see from my room that there’s a big cage, and went down to give it a look. Two Scarlet Macaws, which with great luck you might also see in Colombia, are in the cage. Nice to see them, though the cage, while it’s plenty big, takes away some of the pleasure. I was also positively identifying some White-winged Doves on the ground, when another bird flew into the cage. A Torogoz! (Turquoise-browed Mot-mot, the national bird of El Salvador)

Now I know for sure I'm in El Salvador.

This morning, after a breakfast work meeting, I was interviewed by El Diario de Hoy about the festival. A photographer came along, took a lot of pictures, and showed me some of them--they looked great! I asked him to send me some, and he said he would--tomorrow I'll look for the article, and hope that I do get some of his pictures...

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