Tuesday, November 30, 1999

November 30, 1999 - San Salvador, Guatemala, Ana's Birthday

Hello everyone, our apology for not writing sooner, but it's been quite busy lately.   For those of you who didn't know my birthday was last week on the 25th of November and it was quite an event.  Kris took me out  for lunch and promised dinner with friends at a nice restaurant.  Well what a surprise to find all of our friends at a surprise party at the hotel roof top patio. Kris had arranged the entire event....cake, food, beer and even a piƱata.  It was a wonderful way to turn 28.

This last weekend we finally got the opportunity to take out long awaited trip to Guatemala.  It was great.  We took the public bus system to get there on Friday morning at 7:00 am.  For $45.00 return you get a meal and drinks.  We ended up in Guatemala City, the capital and had lunch at a cute Italian restaurant in Zona Viva...or Zone 10.  It is the tourist area or wealthy area of the city.  Later in the afternoon we met a work friend of Kris who drove us to Antigua.  It is a small tourist village about 40 minutes outside of the city.   It was the highlight of the trip.  We proceeded to look for a place to stay for the night and found this cool hotel.  It use to be a house with several large rooms with cathedral ceilings and a garden in the centre of the house.  After settling in we went for a walk around the town.  It is filled with bars and nice restaurants.  Many foreigns and backpackers have discovered this place, but it's still not commercial.  We give it a few more years before the Mc Donald's and Burger Kings invade. 

Apparently this town was filled with monasteries and many many churches centuries ago.  Then a earthquake destroyed many of the structures and today there lies the haunting memories.

The next day we decided to tour around.  We had breakfast at the most gorgeous and unique hotel I've ever seen.  It is called Santa Domingo and it use to be an old monastery.  They have taken the rooms where the nuns use to live and converted them into hotel rooms.  The wonderful thing about this place is that they have not tinkered with the original architecture but just enhanced it.   The reception is at the alter for example and near the pool is an area of ruins that can be explored during your stay.  It is a popular spot for outdoor weddings.   Apparently they are booked for events years in advance.  I'm not surprised.  

Well after a day of exploring we returned to Guatemala city to have dinner at our friend Eric's home.  He and his wife Rosa fed us well.  We went for a brief drink after dinner at a local bar.   Kris was in shock to know that last call for drinks in Guatemala is an early 12:30 pm!!!  Unusual for Central America. 

The next day was our last day and we took advantage of a local spa we found and I had a massage and our friend Karen also on the trip, was pampered as well.  A perfect end to a perfect weekend.

As our final days in El Salvador approach we are sad.   We have recently met some wonderful friends Jessica and Memo.  I  met on my diving course and they are wonderful.  We are sad we can't spend more time with them.  Hopefully they will visit us on our travels.

Our last week has also been busy with work.   We've been wrapping up last minute business and I've been finishing off some of my websites.  Work in Costa Rica looks promising so I'm happy about that.

That's all for now.  Please e-mail us when you can.


Monday, November 15, 1999

November 15, 1999 - Diving at Lake Llopango

Hello everyone, it's another sunny day in El Salvador and more adventures to tell about.  As our time here in San Salvador slowly comes to an end we are trying to do and see as much as we can before we leave.  This weekend was quite relaxed.  On Saturday we had Spanish classes in the morning and then went to a few book shops in town.   Saturday was a great day...the local pay phone company had a promotion on that so that calling Canada was only $.10 per minute....so we tried to reach as many of you as we could.    It was nice catching up with friend and family.

Sunday we had decided to help out at a local event.   Our friends at El Salvador divers, (who we went diving with a few weeks ago and also who are licensing me this week)....were holding a lake clean up even at Llopango lake.  Llopango is quite close to the city and many people live around the coast, so annually about 50 divers get garbage, tires etc. etc. to keep it clean.  It was a great event.  Coke, Shell and Pizza Hut were major sponsors so it worked out well.   If nothing else we got good tans from being on the boat for a few hours.

Other than that folks, not too eventful...this week with be another busy one.  Me training for my Diving course and Kris at work....keep in touch.


Monday, November 8, 1999

November 8, 1999 - Costa Del Sol, El Salvador

Hello everyone.  All is well here in El Salavdor.  It's been another great weekend.  As I mentioned we had a friend James come into town.  On Friday night, we introduced him to Salvadorian night life and took him to dinner at La Luna.  It was great.  They had a live band that played classic rock and roll...in English.  It was quite a treat.  Later we went to several other local drinking holes.  It was a fun night. 

Saturday morning we ventured off for our all inclusive weekend at Costa Del Sol.  The ride there as very pleasant and a short hour.  When we arrived we were surprised to see the cute little apartments with 3 bedrooms and a jacuzzi in the back.  Just what we were looking for.  To our surprise our first try of the food was amazing.  With an all inclusive package we didn't expect to be getting huge prawns and seafood....that actually taste great.   Well the boys got into the beer and the girls (Karen and I) into the Pina Colada's and Margaritas.  We spent the afternoon and dinner sitting at the very same table by the pool and even convinced the staff to plug in our CD player and speakers for entertainment.  We're not sure what they thought at first, but as soon as Ricky Martin was on, we saw the smiles.  It was truly a great spot.  The beach was long and wide and in the late afternoon we were joined on the beach with a herd of cows.   It was quite a site.  In fact the hotel was filled with strange animals.   They had 6 parrots.  One male named Pedro and the rest his harem.  They were beautiful so we've got photo's to follow.  They also had a bunch of geese and skinny horse.  The geese were beautiful but a bit violent.  No thanks to the boys, Karen saved me from being attacked by a goose.

The evening was beautiful and it turned into a beautiful Sunday as well.  The sky was turquoise blue and not a cloud in it.   Our first adventure for the day was a short boat rise over to a local island.   On the island they has small little stands selling beer, and fish or all sorts.   Being it was an all inclusive package at the hotel none of us had any money.   Us 4 bitter tourists sat in hammocks as we watched the others drink.   Thankfully our ships' captain saved the day.  He must have recognized our dry throats, so he loaned us some money for some drinks. 

The rest of the afternoon we ate and drank and laughed and swam.  Our ride home we stopped for puposas with James.   As we were leaving we realized that the guys couldn't take the bottles of beer in the car...(they need them to get money in exchange). So the puposa lady kindly offered to but the beer in small sandwich bags with straws.  It was quite a site looking at the back seat and seeing James and Kris holding bags of beer with straws in them as they laughed their faces off.....you can just imagine!!! 

Another weekend, more wonderful memories.  James left this morning, back to the Bahamas to do some work for Shell and hopefully sell their boat the Lost Shaker.  We'll miss him, but hopefully see him again soon.

Anyway better go for now....thanks to everyone for all the feedback on the site.  More soon...


Wednesday, November 3, 1999

November 3, 1999 - Antigua, Guatemala

Hello all...so much more to tell you about.   This past weekend was a great time.  We had planned as I said earlier to go to Guatemala.  Well that didn't happen. But we didn't want to stay all cooped up in the hotel so we rented this cute little house at a place called Salinitas.  It is about one and a half hours west of San Salvador.  We first thought about going to a hotel somewhere but a privately owned summer home was highly recommended and available to rent.   Karen was also joining us for the weekend.  Saturday morning we had our interactive Spanish class with out teacher, Hugo.  He took us to this place where there is stall after stall of pupusa vendors.  (Pupusas are a Salvadorian delight...sort of a flat bread pancake with cheese and beans or pork inside.)  The pupusas at this place were made from rice instead of flour.  They were amazing.  Then we met back at the hotel. 

The owner of the house was actually going to take us there.  We  met him and realized that we got a bit of bad information.  We had been told that there were lots of restaurants and things around the house, we were told wrong.  So off grocery shopping we went. 

Secretly, the thought of  actually cooking after all this  eating out was very appealing. Well the drive was as always an adventure unto itself, but with Kris' Central American driving skills, we managed to arrive alive....barely. 

The house, was to our surprise in a secluded private area, just steps from the beach.  It had it's own pool and 3 bedrooms and kitchen of course.  And no summer house is without 3 large hammocks and a butler...Hilberto.   Hilberto and Kris got along great, even thought Kris practiced on Hilberto's   "Spanish and not a stitch of English" qualities.  Well, we BBQ   and sunbathed and sat to candlelight and gossiped.  It was an enchanting place and an enchanting time. Not soon to be forgotten. 

Well after our great weekend retreat we had to return.  But then it was Monday night and Tuesday was All Saints day which means a day off for Kris and another night out on the town.  We did a pubcrawl sort of ...well not quite.  Salvadorians generally go to the beach for the weekend, so the Monday night festivities were weak.  But we did find a new haven. Could be the next "Hammerheads" for those who know it.  It was called La Luna.  An eclectic little place, kind of place the creative minded hang out at...or as our friend Eduardo puts it...a Hippy Hangout.

Well it was still interesting.  If not for a play going on, we would have staying.  But this weekend La Luna awaits and we get to see the local Rock and Roll band.  Also this weekend out friend James is coming to visit us.  He worked with Kris in the Bahamas and is now in Guatemala.  We are going to a place called Bahia Del Sol in Costa Del Sol.  We have a cottage booked there for the weekend.  All the reviews have been good so I look forward to sending some more notes when we get back.  For now....adios amigos.


Sunday, October 24, 1999

October 24,1999 - San Salvador

Well another week and finally some work for me.   I'm working on the diving site I mention earlier and as well a local bakeries website.  As well I may have a lead to work at the American Language institute.   I'm not sure what I'll be doing or even if it will happen, but it looks like it maybe a good lead.  Last weekend on Saturday we went to the local mall to see what things San Salvador has to offer.  Nice stuff, but definitely no deals.  On Sunday, we went with our friend Eduardo to see some of the Mayan ruins called Joya de Ceron, and San Andres.  It was really beautiful.

This weekend was a slow one.  Kris worked on Saturday morning and the rest of the time we just sat by the pool.  I think that this coming weekend we are going to go to Guatemala.  Our destination there is a place called Antigua.  Its a little town that is apparently filled with culture...lots of old buildings and a great wildlife. 

Well, it's Monday and we are back to the grind...Ok maybe not.  The weather is still gorgeous and apparently only gets better.  It looks like we are going to be here until the first week of December and them off to Costa Rica.


Tuesday, October 12, 1999

October 12, 1999 - San Salvador

Well a successful week here in San Salvador.  I am by no means an authority after only being here for one week, but it seems not at all like the place I had been described or read about.  It is truly a jewel, and the people the gems around it.  I have been to few placed where people are so nice and genuine.  Already we are making friends.  This weekend, Kris' boss took us to his beach house in an area called La Libertad.  Although there is certainly poverty hear, this was not it.  It was a 3 bedroom house with a pool, a jacuzzi and a private beach.  Needless to say we had a wonderful time.

On Sunday, Kris, Karen and myself when on a volcano crater diving trip.  I don't dive but Kris and Karen said it was spectacular.  As they were diving I was negotiating an exchange with the owner (Alex).  I build his website, and he teaches me to dive.  A fair deal, I think.

Actually Alex turned out to be a great guy and we are hoping to have Papusas (a Salvadorian food) with him this week.

Well the gym awaits so more another day.


Thursday, October 7, 1999

October 7, 1999 - San Salvador, El Salvador

Well last night we had out first real taste of Salvadorian night life.  We first went with some of Kris' friends from work (Luis and Eric) to dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Guadalajara.  I was excellent food, but most interesting was the waiters that spent most of their time going around holding the patrons down and force feeding them tequila shots.  Needless to say Kris didn't resist too much.  For us non-tequila drinkers they just went around and pretended to spill assorted drinks and scare the shit out of us....ok just me!!

Later on Kris' boss Rafael and another Shell person, Eduardo came and we proceeded to the bar next door called Senhor Frog's.  Anyone who has been to Mexico will know this name well.  Same concept....shots, shots and more shots and lots of good Latin music.  Not bad for a Wednesday!!!  Can't wait to hear about the hang-overs at Shell tomorrow.

Adios for now,


Tuesday, October 5, 1999

October 5, 1999 - San Salvador, El Salvador

Well, this is our third day and so far things have been great.  The weather here has been a bit damp.  But apparently it is the end of the rainy season so there is good weather to come.  The hotel we are staying at is very nice.  It is a Marriott and it has great service so far.  Not to mention a wonderful pool.  The restaurant is also quite nice, but not much of a menu. 

I sent my first resume out today.  The language barrier is going to be a little of an issue getting work.  Not many people speak English.   Hopefully we will be getting a tutor. 

Yesterday for dinner Kris, and I had dinner with a girl that is on this project as well named Karen.  We went to this Sushi place...it was quite good.  Today I went grocery shopping...no lack of food here, they have more brands than we do in Canada!!!  I also went to the Canadian Embassy and registered Kris and I.  Heavy, heavy security, and the people who work there are Salvadorian!!

Anyway, other than that not much else going on but a tropical shower...more soon.