Thursday, December 11, 2008

El Salvador - Swimming

San Salvador, El Salvador

The end of week one, I stepped out from my hotel in San Salvador to have dinner at the Mexican restaurant down the street. Miguel started talking to me when he heard that I was having trouble placing my dinner order. In no time at all I joined the table with his wife and son. Miguel had lived in Canada several years back and spoke English very well. He told me about life there and about his business in San Salvador. Conversation drifted here and there, and then he ask me what I was doing the next day. The family was going two hours west of the city to swimming pools on their last day before the coming holidays would make taking a day off impossible. Always have things to do, but decided to take a day off and take a day trip with them. Sunday morning they picked me up, then loaded up the car with three more kids. A family outing was unfolding.

Miguel took a wrong turn at one point and we detoured up a mountain. The lake in the pictures is actually the top of a volcano. There are lake houses, boats, the works. It's hard to image that this calm setting was once the site of nature's furry.

Soon we arrived at the "Eco Park", a series of river fed swimming pools. One of the pools had warm water from a volcanic source. The pools offered every kind of of swimming pool a kid would want. Wading pools, slides, a pool large enough for water volley ball or swimming contest. The hands down favorite was the jungle gym that sprayed water in all directions. On top was a large barrel that was constantly filling with water. When enough water was accumulated, it was tip over and drench any and everyone below.

You don't have to know Spanish well to play with kids. In the warm pool I showed kids how to squirt water by clasping two hands together. Years ago a friend taught me how to send strong column of water across the surface by cupping you hand just so and pumping arm hard into the water. The kids picked up the technique quickly and were giving each other face fulls of water in no time.
After riding for a few days and working for several days from my hotel room, swimming and hanging out with a family was a treat. The setting could be anywhere, but it had a distinctly Latin feel. We dozed on hammocks by the cabana that was rented for the day. Strolling musician offered to play their guitar for us while we lounged..the kids played catch. Two servers delivered lunch, roasted hen and broth soup with vegetables and egg yolks. Salad and the ever present tostadas rounded out the meal. I bought a couple of water melons on the road for dessert.

At the end of the day the water is diverted from the swimming pools back to a hydro electric generating station. The pools slowly drain until they are empty. This is a sure way to make sure everyone leaves when closing time comes.

We packed up the car and headed back to San Salvador. As we left the swimming pools and drove down the road the we passed a field that we could not see, only smell, the air filled with the smell of celentro. Amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment