Typically I sleep much later than many other people, but on this trip in El Salvador I have been forced to rise at the ungodly early hour of 7:00 a.m. This adjustment has been tough for me to get used to (as evidenced by my frequent napping on many of the bus rides), but the experiences I have had made the abnormally early rise more than worth it.
The day started out at the guesthouse where my fellow travelers and I overcame our exhaustion with a meal of eggs, fruit, bread, and juice. After our meal we boarded the bus and drove to the gallery of the renowned artist, Fernando Llort. Everyone found something that spoke to them in his work. He has been a huge part of the revival of the arts after the civil war that gripped the country from 1980 to 1992. Even after having his huge mural for the front of a cathedral destroyed despite a year and a half of work, Mr. Llort still preaches a message of â€œhope and joy.â€ It is truly inspiring how he can maintain his positive outlook despite the wrongs done to him.
After the gallery we went to a Mexican restaurant where we continued to bond and grow closer as a group. Following our meal we went to an artisan market where local vendors were displaying their artistic wares. This was a perfect opportunity for me to get gifts for my friends and family, as well as gain a sense of the rich culture that is present in El Salvador. It was difficult to walk past the people running the stalls because I could sense how badly they wanted you to come make a purchase from them, but my own resources were limited so I knew I couldnâ€™t help them all.
After our time at the market we went to get dinner at a pupuserÃaÂ high on a hill and once again got to experience the national dish. It was at this meal that I consulted the group about the direction that I should take this post. I received many tips that ranged from Tony poking fun at me for sleeping to the most helpful tip that I got from Anna. She told me to write what I saw and how I felt, which is what I made an effort to do here.