Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mel's Day 3, 4, and 5!

Sorry for the lack of entries for the last couple of days but as you may have gathered from Mike and Sean's posts, I have not been feeling quite myself. Well, that might be an understatement. If it is Montezuma's revenge in Mexico what is it in El Salvador? Well, whatever it is, it is pissed!... I mean angry!.... It's not revenge but abject hatred.... vengeance! For the last two days I have eaten nothing except a few saltine crackers that Mike managed to find for me (thank you to the best husband ever) and drank only gatorade while sleeping practically all day immediately in front of a fan. I have also had more conversations about my digestive system with both friends and strangers alike than I have had in all of my life!

But I will leave this lovely topic for now and try to describe the rest of the last three days. Wednesday was quite good. Mike and I hung out at Es Artes most of the day. Sean went home mid-morning as this was the day he started feeling ill. Shortly before lunch, Mike and I found ourselves involved in a production meeting of sorts but minus the director or designer. There were concerns from the local crew about authenticity in design and the issue of live animals and all I could do was keep saying that I couldn't make any decisions but that I would broach their concerns to Ed and Sean. We then planned to have a production meeting the next morning with everyone there.

Mike, myself, Tatiana, and Capitan Roca (the website designer - I haven't gotten the story on the Capitan part of the name yet) headed over to Villa Balanza for lunch. It was Chiles Rellanos today and they were YUMMY! It's basically green peppers stuffed with potatoes and meat with a breading all around it and a bit of tomato sauce too. We tried to get Sean to join us but due to the lack of phone access it became a bit of an adventure. One of the waitresses was sent up the road to check on him. This meant that poor Sean, who was in the throes of intestinal agony, opened his door to find a woman with gold teeth and wearing the traditional garb that all the waitresses at Villa Balanza wear who spoke only Spanish and was frantically trying to communicate something to him. Eventually they got him to a phone in the house where he was able to speak to Tatiana and sort the whole thing out.

In the afternoon we had quite a wonderful experience with checking out the market and some of the smaller stores in Suchitoto. Tatiana had arranged for a young woman name Ohenia (I am sure I spelled that incorrectly) to accompany us to the market. Thank goodness she was with us! I can’t imagine having to navigate all of the shops and stalls asking for prices and availability with my pathetic amount of Spanish! The goal of this trip was to price out different items so that Sean or I would know what our options are in Suchitoto and could go and pick them up quickly another day. Everyone was so pleasant even if they did look questioningly at these foreigners running around with a notebook and camera just asking what price everything was. Thank goodness for Ojenia as I am very good with the 'Quanto questa?' part of the transaction but terrible with the flurry of Spanish that usually follows that question. We had a leisurely evening where we met up with Ed and Trevor for some pupusas. They were tasty. And then off to bed we went.

It was Thurs. morning that I woke up with my intestinal issues. I managed to make it to Es Artes for the production meeting but soon after that I went home to be - where I then stayed for the next 30 odd hours. In the meantime, Sean and Mike puttered around at Es Artes. The container had still not arrived and so there wasn't much for them to do. It was again a leisurely day for them which, from what I hear, ended in a wicked game of crazy eights!

Friday morning dawned with the chirping of the geckos. This was the day of the big trip to the huge marked in San Salvador. As much as I wanted to go, my body had other ideas, and so I stayed in bed. Apparently it was quite an adventure and a very successful shopping trip but I will let Mike and Sean tell you about that. By Friday night I was going stir crazy (I was tired of having long intense conversations with the gecko that lives in our room) so out we ventured. The President was coming to town and they were setting up a reception for him in the town square. Also, it was Friday and that means Stations of the Cross day. (not sure if this is only during lent or all year long) What a moving and at the same time strange ritual. It starts at the large church in the town square and processes all around town. Alter boys, a priest and a nun are in the lead with a huge Christ carrying the cross immediately following. Then, directly behind that are all of the men. The women walk in a line on either side of the whole procession. There is singing and praying led by the priest who is 'piped' through a 'MASH' like loudspeaker mounted on a pole and this whole system is run off of a car battery which is carried by one of the other men. (there are pictures to follow) We then watched them finishing setting up and slowly made our way back to our hostel for an intense game of travel Scrabble.

We went to bed but were soon awakened by what I was sure were bombs going off just outside our room. Turns out they were fireworks being set off a couple of blocks away! Wow they were loud! Apparently we are having similar fireworks at the launch celebration. I think I need to find some earplugs before then. Suchitoto is becoming known for its fireworks displays. The story is that one of the more prominent bomb makers for the guerilla army during the war has now opened a fireworks factory in town. I suppose its a great example of taking your skills and using them for good.

Today we have not only words of the day but travel tips as well.

Words of the day:

Ferreteria = hardware store (the first 2 r's are rolled - something which I am incapable of doing and which Ojenia and the rest of the staff at Es Artes teased me about all Wed. afternoon. Try it! It's not easy!)

Cuche Monte = wild boar (we have one of these in the show - although thankfully not a live one - read Sean's post about the rabbits and chicken)

La quenta = the bill (as in the bill in a restaurant)

Travel tips:
Items you should be sure to bring with you...
1. Saltine crackers. The only things I wanted when lying there in agony and not something you want to have to try to find when in that state.
2. A Thermometer. We brought a whole kit of medicinal supplies but not one thermometer!
3. Baby Wipes. Self-explanatory!


  1. Dear self,

    Make an appointment with the doctor to see how I can avoid this, (because your illness is all about me :)

    I'm glad you are feeling better. I hope your container gets there soon. I'll see you on the 25th. I'll bring crackers.

  2. Who would have predicted the ravage on your system Mel? Given the timelines with the container I guess if it had to happen, it chose the best time for it - if there ever is a "best time" for something as awful as this.

    Glad to hear that you were able to see the Presidental visit and all of the spledor that goes with it. I am eager to hear and see more about the stations of the cross. A Catholic ritual that is completely foreign to a person who was raised Catholic...

    I hope you return to full health soon.