Seeking coconuts in 2017

Happy 2017! For the past few weeks, I have been exploring the country with my best friend and sister, and after they left, hanging out at the beach, attempting to surf as much as possible. I aim, for the remaining 6 months here, to have sand permanently adhered to my scalp from tumbles in the ocean. I am constantly seeking coconuts to sip their electrolyte-laden juices, way better than any bottled proclamation of “coconut water” back in the States.

The row of photos below is a sample of the past weeks, showing sunsets, wall murals in Ataco, our breakfast setting, sunrise, and 12 grapes.

Two of my friends have a tradition where they eat the number of grapes to the corresponding month (so, for December, it was 12). For each grape, we shared or thought of a New Year’s resolution. It was a great way to bring in the new year, with sand between our toes, sipping fresh lemonade, noshing on each grape with wishes to eat more avocados and to accomplish new goals. Here’s to a new year, and to many more days of sunshine and salt-water and dabbling in soil.

 

A baby squirrel, baby gecko, and some avocados

I’ve started “running into people” in El Salvador. That small-town thing where you go out to eat and see someone you know, without even expecting it. On Wednesday, some American friends gathered at Cadejo brewery in the city to watch the show/debate, and our expected table of 5 turned into a table of 11, plus I knew two more people at another table. My feathers felt pretty fluffed.

As I continue to meet more people, I’ve continued to explore the country. The beautiful view you’re about to see below is looking out from The San Salvador Volcano Boquerón. A few friends and I went up for a snack and the sunset. Our view of San Salvador was immense, with dense green foliage leading to a sprawling city (I live close to that blue-ish skyscraper just after the trees end in the center of the first photo).

It was Beethoven’s Birthday (the classic Beethoven dog in the 4th photo) at the volcano, so we passed by to wish him a happy cumple as well!

And as one does here, I’ve experienced, we hopped from the volcano to the beach the next day. Back to El Zonte to a high tide and crashing waves and a rocky beach. Some friends had rescued a baby squirrel so we played with the little furball for a bit, and then tried to surf but the tide and the waves weren’t right. Slurped coconut juice next to its respective tree.

In addition to taking in coconut whenever possible, it’s a necessity to take in as much fresh avocado as we can get, with fresh tortillas (which are smaller and thicker here, in contrast to the thin tortillas you would think of from the States), and some sunny eggs. I could be forever happy with avocado and eggs and tortillas. Except sometimes I might need a pesto supplement. And bananas… ok so maybe the list is growing…

As the house I’m living in feels more and more like a home, we have had friends visit and stay over. We’ve even found some little permanent guests! Introducing our little gecko friend and bug-eater in one! What a great lil squeaker, pictured in the last photo in our the hands of our friend Red.

And the work, yep the work! This week there is a meeting with all of the field techs that work directly with the farmers to implement the sustainable agricultural techniques. They also work to establish experimental plots in the field with different spacings, levels of fertilizer, intercropping, etc. It was great to see some of the field techs I had met in campo again in the city, and to listen to them all come together to relay experiences before I head to the field again next week!