28.11.2016 - 01.12.2016 35 °C
Well rested and up early Jim finds us a Burger King breakfast as it is the only place we have found at 7am and being unsure as to how long the bus ride will be, it is sufficient to hold us over. We have become blasé about the bus pick up times and duration because it is usually later and longer than we’re told but we are still there early just in case. Jim and I found a cute little bar for our “date night” as Emily calls it, called the Snug Irish Pub to have a bite and a beer, Mom and Chelan you would have loved the Shepherd’s pie and Irish stew, the fiddle and banjo players and of course Guinness. We made friends with the owners and had an after dinner shot of tequila at their neighboring dive bar then back to check on Emily and get a good night’s sleep. It is nice when we are in a place where we all feel safe enough to have an hour or two of separation and Wi-Fi good enough that Emily can chat with her friends and watch uTube in peace. As it turns out the bus to El Tunco is not so bad and we arrive to our hotel in time to take a walk around, (the entire town is a 4 block radius, one block in each direction including the beachfront hotels) grab a bite for Emily and take a swim in the ocean. Emily is not interested despite our promise that it will be fun, she is nervous and a bit grumpy so we leave her to cool off in the air conditioning and go play in the waves. The undertow is quite strong and the waves big at high tide but during low tide its good fun and we decide we should definitely take a surf lesson while we’re here. Dinner is an adventure and Emily has decided that we should all take turns choosing a restaurant and tonight is her turn. She chose a rooftop deck along the ocean that specializes in seafood and ordered the fried fish, Jim the seafood pasta and I seafood soup. The look on her face when the waiter brings over the biggest, ugliest whole fish you ever saw is priceless. We manage to deconstruct it enough that she agrees to give it a go but her appetite wans when she sees the whole baby squid, crabs and clams that appear to be trying to climb out of our bowls. Jim is no help, playing with his food and teasing her. Even I am a little daunted... Hamburgesa and papas fritas tomorrow night, Lol! It is very inexpensive in El Salvador and we pay ~$35 for all this with a bucket of 6 beers. After dinner we take another walk around the town and down the beach, it is an odd little place made up of about 1/3 locals, 1/3 Salvadorians on holiday and 1/3 surfers with a small smattering of tourists like us mixed in. The stars are out in full force, the sound of the crashing waves and with the breeze off the ocean it is our favorite place so far. We have a big room with air conditioning feet from the pool and meters from the beach. Life is good! In the morning we take advantage of the included breakfast, get caught up on our communications and head out in search of a local named Negro (pronounced Naygro–roll the r) you definitely want to get this right, who gives surf lessons for $20 a person and you can keep the board for the day. We book for tomorrow morning at low tide and go in search of a Pupusaria as we’ve heard that this is the place to find it. Negro recommends a place just up the street with a bar counter to sit at but not much else besides a small fan that is inadequate to help with the heat of the day and the spice of the food. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupusa Two local women make us yummy Pupusa from scratch and we eat and drink water for $5 including a tip, best meal I’ve had so far, it just doesn’t seem right… We finally convince Emily to come play in the waves and even though she got knocked down and turned around she came up laughing and we spent most of the afternoon jumping waves and teaching her to body surf. So fun! We all clean up and watch the sunset and surfers from the deck in our hotel, so incredibly beautiful you will have to see the pictures to understand. Jims dinner choice is a local place filled up with noisy surfers and loud music but proves to be a good choice. I am getting quite tired of eating out but even the hostels here don’t provide selfserve kitchens, fortunately you can have fruit at almost every meal and sometimes I even risk salad although more often than not I pay for it later. Fish, rice and beans are a staple so when in Rome… We have decided to stay another night to give Emily a chance to do some schoolwork and because we really like the vibe of this place, also it is nice to actually unpack a bit and be messy. In the morning we arrive early to our surf lesson to be told that it is delayed a half hour so we spend some time looking through the local shops, there are 5 clothing/surf shops, 1 souvenir shop and 2 groceries. One that several middle age locals gather at to play cards and drink beer. Finally, we set out with Negro and 3 Spanish speaking instructors to hit the waves. We are all on long boards for the stability and having been watching surfing for a couple of days, I think “How hard can this be?” It’s really f%*&ing hard! They gave us instruction on shore as to body position and how and when to “jump” into a standing position, that didn’t seem to bad but in the water the best I could do was hold on not moving a muscle, then gradually get to my knees and twice to my feet but in the process broke a board completely in half. My instructor kept saying “Jump up! Jump Up!” and I really was trying. Jim did pretty good, I even got a video while I was waiting for a new surfboard and Emily got up and standing at least once. I have to say that she took it all like a trouper, learning to dive through the big waves on the way out and rolling with them when she fell off. We were all pretty banged up with skinned elbows and knees after an hour and with high tide coming in, the waves looking scarier by the minute we had had enough for the day. We came away with an appreciation for what we had witnessed over the last couple days and pride at having made some progress. We agreed we would definitely try it again but can see why surfers are so lean and fit and young… Emily spent the afternoon working on Math while Jim and I sat by the pool and arranged our transportation to El Cuco in the morning. Another beautiful sunset, relaxing dinner and early morning walk up the beach to watch the surfers on the big waves and we sadly say goodbye to El Tunco.