Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rain rain, go away

It's been raining. Like, really raining. Coming back from the states, I had grand plans to kick it into gear and get ready for the Desafio de Lava, a half marathon going up Picaya in Guatemala, but those plans have been put on hold for the week due to the rains. It's been raining basically non-stop since early Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, I don't think I'd quite grasped how much rain was in store for us. I bought tickets for the El Salvador vs. Cayman Islands soccer game even though it was raining during my trip to buy the tickets. The game was postponed for an hour and a half before they started playing on a completely drenched field. I don't think it stopped raining the entire time we were there, yet there were still a good number of fans in the uncovered area - crazy people! El Salvador won 4-0.

Since then, it's just been constant. I keep looking out my window, thinking "ooo, did it let up?" Nope. If it does let up, then it's only for 30 minutes and then another deluge comes. Nuts.

As you can imagine, all this rain has wrecked havoc on many communities in El Salvador that are in higher risk areas – areas prone to landslides or flooding. I've been extremely impressed by the level of involvement that local businesses have had with trying to help those displaced by the storm. My Facebook feed of stores in San Salvador is filled with pictures of small shops, like Bicimania (bike shop) and El Salvador Divers, delivering food to shelters. Super Selectos, the grocery store, has been collecting donations as well. The radio has been advertising where to go to help, etc. I guess all of this is to-be-expected, it's just not something I've experienced in El Salvador so far. We arrived last year during Tropical Storm Agatha, which also dumped a ton of rain, but at that time, we were so new here that we didn't really know what was going on.

If you're interested in learning more about Tropical Depression 12E and its impact, you should check out the recent posts from Tim's El Salvador Blog.

Escaping and Returning

(I wrote this post a week ago, but didn't post it... sorry)

As you can tell, my blog updates are pretty few and far between these days. Things feel normal, so I don't have the itch to tell anyone about my normal life. That being said, sometimes it's disturbing what feels normal.

Our good friend Beth came to visit for the 2nd time. We celebrated her arrival by watching people chuck flaming balls of fire at each other at the annual Bolas de Fuego in Nejapa. She was not disappointed, although she was the first to get hit in the leg with a flaming ball. The participants occasionally throw a flaming ball into the crowd which results in a game of hot potato with feet. The whole experience reminded me of when I was a teenager and participated in bottle rocket wars with my friends (shooting bottle rockets at each other). It's a shame we didn't bump it up a notch back then. Anyway, one of our friends got hit in the face by a flaming ball. Now, I know what you're thinking... "Oh my god, did she get burned?" But, that's the wrong question to ask. Your question should be "Oh my god, how does her face feel after being blindsided by the equivalent of a baseball?" The answer to that is... not so good. It did put a damper on her mood, but she was fine within a day or two.

Beth and I spent the next day at the beach before spending the rest of the weekend in San Salvador. On Friday, we got pupusa making lessons from our maid. I'm not very good at making them, but Beth and Sophie were pretty phenomenal. Beth was visiting as part of her 'last hurrah' before starting a new job in Chicago, so we decided to celebrate. You know it's going to get real when you start your night with double-shot jaiger bombs. We ended the night by seeing a cover band at Cirqo.

The next few weeks were pretty uneventful - working, biking, hiking, beach, etc. Then Sophie went to DC for a week of training, giving me an opportunity to create a whirlwind of a trip to the US.

First, I spent 2 nights in the Miami area, where I got to see my parents, my aunts and uncles, and my 95 year old grandmother. We got Cuban food on Calle Ocho and zipped over to Naples to have dinner at an old restaurant. We had a great time.

On Sunday, I flew into DC and was greeted by what felt like freezing temperatures and rain. It was probably 55 degrees, but my tropical body shuddered when I stepped off the plane. Yeesh. After that Sunday, the weather improved to a perfect week of fall in Virginia. I got to see a ton of people, got to work in a real office with people, and got to drink some great beer.