I made it. Más o menos 20 hours in a bus and voila! Whole other country. Whole other world would probably be a better description. I am again finding that my vacations from my Peace Corps life seem more like what I thought my Peace Corps life would be like. It's kinda throwing me into a quandry.
Hope everyone had a good Christmas. Mine was very, very mellow. Carlos' family really doesn't celebrate x-mas with much fanfare, so we didn't do much of anything. They do their family thing on New Years so will have more to report later. We did distribute toys to the kids in the neighborhood so that was pretty cool. I got some pictures I will try to get posted soon. It was much harder to snap candids as they don't tend to get a lot of gringos here so I stuck out and the weird thing I kept pointing at people got a couple looks to. When I showed the kids the photos of themselves they burst into giggles, which was actually more foto worthy than the actual picture. The kids also loved the toys of course. Without a doubt they were the only ones they got this year.
Other than that I have been running around with my friend Carlos. The first night I was in town I helped him and some of his friends coordinate a romantic dinner to help him win back his girlfriend. Poor guy needed all the help he could get. It was looking to be hit or miss there for a while, but she was no match for the Mariachis. It was quite a show. Mission accomplished.
Last night I hung out with another friend, Alejandro, that I actually met on the bus ride the last time I came up here. He is actually one of the very, very few small business owners in El Salvador. He showed me around the city. San Salvador is a very interesting city. There are a number of architectually beautiful buildings and parks in the center but extroaordinarily bad government has buried them behind poverty and delinquincy. It's really a shame. There are also an incredible amount of Gringo stores. All the fast food, of course, but also a lot of malls and big name American stores. I actually saw a 9 West store. It is a very interesting place. The contrast between the haves and have nots is overwhelming. Hopefully one day El Sal will be able to reclaim their cultural landmarks and heritage.
Anyhoo... that's all I have to report for now. I am here until the 3rd. I am not sure I will be able to write before then. Internet is definately more challenging here. Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!