Saturday, October 16, 2010

Summer is here

Living in El Salvador, you quickly realize that there are only two seasons -- invierno (winter) and verano (summer).  Newcomers are always confused, though, because Salvadorans say that October-April is summer.  This all makes sense now.  After having about 4 months of almost daily rain, the weather has now changed to sun & wind.  The wind is incredible.  At night, all of our exterior doors and windows rattle and it sounds like our roof is being ripped off.  It hasn't come off yet, though.

I went on my first serious road ride last weekend with a group of riders from one of the local bike shops.  We rode 50 miles from San Salvador to Santa Ana.  The ride was awesome - there weren't that many cars and, when there were, we had motorcycle police to stop traffic.  Pretty awesome.  It was cool riding through lots of small towns outside of San Salvador.  Every block had a woman on the sidewalk making her pupusas for the day.  After a few hours, we arrived in Santa Ana, where we got a ride back to the bike shop.  The Salvadorans in the car tried to talk to me a bit, but, I found out that my Spanish listening skills aren't very good with normal Salvadoran Spanish.  Lots of new words.

When we got back to San Salvador, we were surrounded by people on their way to the celebration of 30 years of the FMLN, the leftist political group who were the 'rebels' during the civil war.  The celebration was going on at the circle that is close to our place, so, Sophie and I walked down to see what was up.  We tried to listen to the speakers, but, rapidly spoken Spanish heard through a loudspeaker isn't the easiest thing in the world to understand.

This week has been beautiful.  Mid to high 70s with tons of sun every day.  If only I weren't cooped up in my office, hacking away by my lonesome.  hah!  Sophie and I signed up for an adventure race next weekend - a kayak, mountain bike, and run race with teams of 4.  We got paired with some random Salvadorans, so, we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Back to El Salvador

After a great trip to the States, I'm excited to return to San Salvador.  I'm currently sitting in the Atlanta airport.  I arrived here last night and somehow talked Delta into giving me a hotel room for a few hours so I could sleep.  ¡QuĂ© suerte!  As I type, I can hear Spanish being softly spoken around me.  I'm looking forward to going back to speaking Spanish!

I had a great week with my parents in Chattanooga - we kayaked on the Tennessee River and biked on the River Walk and Brainerd Levy.  Since I work from home, I was able to easily transport myself 3000 miles without missing anything, although my coworkers kept asking if I had changed camera angles when I came on the videoconference with a different backdrop.  Ha!

I then spent 3 days in DC where I mostly worked, but, was able to celebrate my birthday in DC with everyone there.  What fun!

Finally, I went to Moab, Utah for a few days for biking.  Highlights of the trip include 'The Whole Enchilada' trail, which started at 10,600' in the La Salle Mountains, climbed to over 11,000' before turning to downhill for most of the next 30 miles.  We rode from the high alpine, through aspen trees with yellow leaves, to the barren desert slickrock that defines Moab.  Pretty amazing.  Karl and I were able to bike another 2 days, after which we did a hike out to Double-O arch in Arches.  We were caught in a fierce rainstorm within a mile of the parking lot and were forced to run through it to keep ourselves warm since the rain was very cold and the wind was strong.  Such is the desert, I guess.  On our drive out from Arches we were treated to... wait for it... a double rainbow all the way(yes, we have video)!  After changing into dry clothes, we went to "Pasta Jay's" in Moab for some pizza.  Everyone around us was foreign, which was surprising.  The table next to us was speaking either Italian or French - I couldn't tell which - and their waiter was trying to speak to them in their native tongue.  They then started talking about his language skills and asked him how he learned it and he started evangelizing Rosetta Stone.  He rattled off all the talking points about what makes Rosetta Stone great.  It was interesting to watch and exciting to see someone using the software that Karl and other Rosetta Stoners have written to interact with someone from another country.  Of course, the diners had some grammatical corrections for him, but, he didn't seem fazed.

Adios, Estados Unidos.  Estoy emocionado para regresar a El Salvador y ver mi esposa!