Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Antigua, Guatemala - Beautiful, Enchanting, Charming and Alluring

  A quick overnight visit to Antigua brought us much joy.  Filled with history, and now with tourists.  Where locals are called “panza verde” (green stomachs) for the avocados they eat.  Where everywhere you look you see some facet of beauty.  A place I wouldn’t mind returning to one day. 

Antigua scenes:

Quinta de las Flores is a LOVELY hotel with beautiful gardens.  
It wasn’t our honeymoon, but the place made us feel like it was.

Just off the main square, we happened upon Café Flor, 
where we had very good Thai food that satisfied our need for something different.

Friday, July 20, 2012

El Carmen Estate and Café Ataco – Coffee Tour in the town of Ataco

Photos from a coffee tour I took with my sister when she was here in May.  
It was a rainy day, which made the coffee they served us at the end all the better. 

Coffee beans in storage, waiting to be roasted.

Where workers inspect the beans for quality.  
At the height of the season there are over 40 women sitting on these benches.

The little gift shop where they served us coffee.  
The Estate is filled with beautiful flowers, plants, and trees.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fisherman’s Beach Club, La Libertad – Top Reasons to Go, Buenas Razones Para Ir

The place has charm
Easy to get to from San Salvador
Great service and good food
Three pools to relax and swim in
Ocean breeze and access to San Diego Beach
You can take a nap in a hammock

Fácil de llegar desde San Salvador
El lugar es encantador
Servicio fantástico y comida buena
Hay tres piscinas
Brisas del oceano y accesso a la playa San Diego
Puede tomar una siesta en una hamaca

Piscina de Amantes

Frozen de Naranja

Mariscada con Crema

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lake Coatepeque - Lunch at the lake: the breeze, the views, divine!

  Coatepeque is a splendid and tranquil crater lake surrounded by private vacation homes.  On a Saturday afternoon, we practically had the place to ourselves. Next time I think we’ll just stop and have lunch at one of the restaurants at the top, avoiding the bumpy dirt road our little car had to traverse to get to the few restaurants at the base, (though it was worth the drive for our first visit!).
Coatepeque means “cerro de culebras” or “snake hill” in Nahuatl.  
We didn’t see any snakes in case you’re wondering.

Hotel Torremolinos and its restaurant Calderon de la Barca

We sat as close to the lake as we could.  
The part on stilts moved when we walked and swayed with the wind.

“Mojarra” a la plancha, grilled tilapia, fished from the lake

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Joya de Ceren and San Andres Mayan Ruins, Superate, and the strength of the human spirit, Las Ruinas de Joya de Cerén y San Andrés, Supérate, y la fuerza del espíritu humano

  El Salvador has various archeological ruins where you can see how people lived during the Mayan and Colonial times.  Recently I went to  Joya de Ceren and San Andres, two ruins located between San Salvador and Santa Ana.  Joya de Ceren was a Mayan village unearthed in 1976.  San Andres was a regional Mayan capital.  Both were destroyed by volcanic eruptions and both were remade and transformed into working villages once again. 
  They each have museums and guides to explain the different time periods and how the places changed.  For me, it was interesting to see how people lived, and how through the centuries, people left, returned, and reconstructed or reinvented the place.  Both places have many trees, flowers, and plants.  San Andres, especially, has lots of green spaces and walking paths.  If you go, I recommend bringing a picnic to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
  Very close to San Andres is a school called Superate, connected to Hilasal, a factory and business that makes towels.  There are six Superate schools in the country, all connected and supported by different Salvadoran businesses.  Superate is designed for underprivileged students in the surrounding community who excel in their studies.  The school teaches English, Computer skills, and Values, and is taught in conjunction with their high school.  My husband and I met with the English teachers and a group of students.  It was incredible to see the students’ high level of English and motivation for learning.  They have plenty of obstacles to overcome and they are doing it.  By participating in this program, they have more possibilities with their future education and employment.  The teachers are clearly proud of their students and greatly enjoy working with them.
  The combination of seeing two ruins and Superate in the same day was very inspiring.  It’s amazing how humans are able to change and adapt.  Natural catastrophes and economic changes are par for the course in our lives, but the human spirit is incredibly strong and can surmount more than is imaginable.
  El Salvador tiene ruinas arqueológicas donde puede visitar y aprender cómo la gente vivía en la epoca Maya y Colonial.  Recientemente fui a Joya de Cerén y San Andrés, dos ruinas ubicadas dentro de San Salvador y Santa Ana.  Joya de Cerén era un pueblo de indígenas mayas descubierto en 1976.  San Andrés era una capital regional del Mundo Maya con un centro ceremonial.  Las dos fueron destrozadas por erupciones de volcanes y las dos fueron rehechas varias veces. 
  Hay museos y guías para ver y oír como ha pasado el tiempo, que había en diferentes épocas, y como los lugares han cambiado.  Para mí, fue muy interesante ver como la gente vivía, y más, como la gente salía, regresaba, y reconstruía sobre el mismo sitio a través de los siglos. 
  Los dos lugares tienen muchos árboles, flores, y plantas.  San Andrés especialmente tiene mucho espacio para caminar y disfrutar el aire libre.  Les recomiendo traer lo necesario para hacer un picnic y quedarse un rato.
  Muy cerca de San Andrés está una escuela que se llama Supérate.  Está al lado de Hilasal, la cual es empresa y fabrica de toallas.  Supérate tiene seis escuelas dentro del país, todas conectadas y apoyadas con empresas salvadoreñas.  Supérate es un proyecto para jóvenes talentosos quienes vienen de lugares y familias sin muchos recursos.  Es una escuela donde los estudiantes tienen clases de computación, valores, e inglés.  La escuela dura tres años y es en conjunción con su bachillerato.  Mi esposo y yo conocimos a los profesores de inglés y algunos estudiantes.  Fue increíble ver el nivel de motivación de los estudiantes.  Ellos tienen muchas dificultades a superar y están haciéndolo.  Con este programa, tienen más posibilidades de empleo y educación.  Los profesores están tan orgullosos de sus estudiantes y es claro que disfrutan su trabajo.
  La combinación de ver las ruinas y una escuela de Supérate en el mismo día fue muy inspiradora.  Reflexioné sobre los seres humanos y como son capaces de sobrevivir catástrofes naturales y cambios económicos.  El espíritu humano es muy fuerte y puede superar más que lo pudiera imaginar.

Images from Joya de Ceren, Imagenes de Joya de Cerén

A torogoz, the national bird, Un torogoz, ave nacional del país
Cashew Tree, Arbol de Marañon 

Images from San Andres, Imagenes de San Andrés

Cacao trees Arbol de cacao