Sunday, June 5, 2011

One year down

Time flies. I can't believe it's already June! A lot of things have happened since my last post - I'll try to keep it concise.

My employer paid for me to fly back to the States and spend a week in the office. Spending the week in the office made me realize how much I miss the human interaction of the office. I work with some great people. Overall, it was an awesome week. I got to catch up with most of my friends in DC and even got to go mountain biking after work one day. After spending the week in DC, I made a quick trip through Tennessee to see my parents before heading back to El Salvador. It's definitely nice to be posted to a country that is so close to home.

While I was away, a soccer tournament started at the embassy. I play pick-up at the embassy every week, and it's pretty low key and informal, so I expected the tournament to be similar. Boy, was I wrong. Every team but ours has jerseys with matching shorts. (We actually do have jerseys, but only because one of our teammates happens to have a full set of jerseys.) The tournament is 8v8, every player has a 'player card' that they must have on them to enter the game, and there is a ref. The word for referee in Spanish is another gem of a cognate - árbitro. Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to return to the States speaking a weird form of English where I talk about a tranquil arbiter molesting me with his gum mastication. Anyway, our team is not doing very well. We've lost 3 games and won 1.

Sophie and I went on another trip with the mountaineering federation, this time to El Cerro Brujo and El Cerro Limo. This was a beautiful hike in the Chalatenango department, not far from Montecristo National Park. We packed in for two hours on Saturday, camped out, and then did a long day hike on Sunday. It was a really beautiful hike and we got to meet some new people - mainly 4 Spanish women who were on the trip.

We didn't really have any plans for Memorial Day, so we decided to go on a road trip with a friend to León in Nicaragua. It was an 8 hour car ride there. The ride was pretty smooth, considering that we crossed 2 borders. Once we got there, we spent some time in León and then went to the nearby beach, where we spent the night. We woke the next day hoping to go kayaking through the nearby mangrove forest, but we had to settle for a motor boat ride. The reserve is very pretty, and I think we'll return sometime to spend a night or two camped out in the reserve. The beach there is pristine - nobody on the beach, no trash, no big buildings - gorgeous. We had to cut our boat ride short so we could return to León for our volcano boarding trip in the afternoon. We hiked to the top of the Cerro Negro volcano and then road down on either a sled or a board. It was pretty awesome. The only downside is that the soles on my 11 year old Vasque Sundowners came off. Guess I'll have to find some new hiking boots :(
Sleds in tow
May 25th marked the one year mark in our first tour. It's hard to believe that we've already been here for a year! It's sad to think that now we have less than a year left in El Salvador. It's weird that many of our friends have moved on or are going to move on in the next year. Such is the life of the transient FSO.