Thursday, August 18, 2011

Suchitoto and Ilobasco

Our guide for the day, Ceasar, picked us up at 7:30 a.m. Since our complimentary room at the Marriott didn't include breakfast, we let Caesar pick for us. We stopped about an hour outside of town at a place the locals know and love. It was served cafeteria style, except the cafeteria was really a kitchen, and you met the cook as you went through. We had beans, eggs and potatoes, sausage and fried bananas. This was a hearty breakfast, fortunately for us, as we didn't eat again till 7:30 p.m. We had a few tortillas and some peanuts, but that was it for the day!

Our next stop was Ilobasco, the town that makes pottery and clay objects. We hadn't really been shopping on the trip yet, so we enjoyed indulging ourselves and buying a few pretty things to bring home with us!

When we arrived in Suchitoto we stopped at an indigo shop, where we saw a demonstration of how they make the dye and apply it to the clothes. It was a lot like tie die. The girl wrapped two marbles in the fabric with a rubber band, and this was the result. Indigo was the main crop here for centuries, but eventually lost it's importance to the economy. We stimulated the economy a little with some indigo purchases.

Our hotel, Los Almendros de San Lorenzo is a beautiful colonial building with a bedroom upstairs, as well as one downstairs. We like it a lot! The owner is an artist, and it shows in the decor!

After we freshened up a little, we were off for our horseback ride up Guazapa volcano. We visited with the owner of the business before starting the climb. He was an ex-FMLN guerrilla. Things are going better for him these days. He's no longer fighting, and we caught him enjoying a little siesta in his hammock!

Watching us mount these scrawny little horses was pretty funny. We were on them for about 3 hours as we toured sites where the Salvadoran Civil war took place. We saw bombing craters, bunkers and foundations for a school, a house and a church, that were all destroyed during the war. Our guide was in his 30's, and his mother had been killed early on in the war when he was only 4 years old. It is a sad tale, in which 85,000 people were killed. But, things are better now, and people have hope for a  better future.

We finished the tour with a nice view at a lookout where snipers used to hang out. We took this picture before we started down. We were pretty saddle sore at this time, but we didn't know the meaning of pain yet.  By the time we got down Ed was practically crippled. The saddles were too small, and the stirrups only had one length! But, as sore as we were afterwards, I wonder if those poor horses had it worse. It looks like we should have been the ones carrying them!

We were able to relax in the next part of our adventure, a boat ride on Lake Suchitlan. The lake was loaded with water lilies, which made getting out into open water a bit of a challenge! The skipper had to cut the motor often to make sure the propeller didn't get entangled in plants.

Once we got through the lilies, it was smooth sailing! A light rain made it even more refreshing! We love traveling in the off-season. We had the boat all to ourselves. (We're not really sure if El Salvador has an on season!)

The Bird Island was a real surprise. A lot of different species nest there. There were more birds than we've ever seen at one place. We were glad the boat had a canopy! The island was packed with trees, and every tree was full of birds. This one was full of big black ones!

We got back to our hotel in time for a quick dip in the pool before dinner. We can't wait till tomorrow as the adventure continues!

1 comment:

  1. LOL. Your story with the scrawny horses and the tiny saddles was hilarious. Love the birds, so cool!