UBC REC Storms El Salvador (Days 6-8)

More updates from Andrea and the team in El Salvador plus special guest appearances by the Thunderbirds crew! Here’s days 6-8, read on:
Ready For The Weekend
Before you begin reading this post, anything in square brackets [ ] is said on an hourly basis with some kind of reference to… literally… anything…
Day 6: Friday, May 3rd, 2013 
6:45 alarm, snooze. 6:50 alarm, snooze. 6:55 alarm, snooze. 7:00 alarm, roll out of bed while everyone is probably already on their way to breaky. That’s Josie and I’s wake up style. Oopsies.
Too be honest, I don’t remember what we had for breakfast (which is technically at 7:00 by the way), but it probably included avocados. Lenox and I go ape-crazy for those green things because “it’s good fat.” Fact. Anyway, Friday was a typical full work-day where we arrive at the work site around 8:30 (if everyone gets to the van by 7:30), take a break around 10:30 for 30 minutes (which is way too long), lunch at 12:30 for an hour (also way too long), another break around 2:30 for 30 minutes (again, too long), clean up and head home around 4:00. Ohh, and between those times, we build a hausss.
At this point of time (famous Lindsay saying), we were laying rows of bricks on top of each other [bricksonbricksonbricks]. Where each row and crack between each brick was solidified by mescla, pronounced “mes-kla.” Mescla was made of sifted sand, cement powder, and water. And within every so often brick, the holes that had a rebar coming out of it was filled with “cheese-pa” (sp). This guy was made of non-sifted sand, cement powder, some kind of rock, and water. Everyone would be doing their on thing; filling cracks or holes, getting water, passing bricks, or moving a load-ton of sand/rock. This is how some of us got our nicknames, which I will not disclose on this blog. Sorry folks! Another thing to mention is The Outhouse. The Outhouse is so important that it needs a paragraph on its own.
I’d like to mention that I do not like being around spiders. Who does? They’re terrifying creatures that are just naturally unattractive. Anyway, this outhouse had rectangular metal block sticking out of the ground with a whole in it. It happened to be placed right the middle of the outhouse so when you… go… the door is about a finger long away from your face. Now, that’s REAL close and REAL uncomfortable when you’re already doing some exercise. Gentlemen, this does not apply to you for obvious reasons. Ohh, and not to mention that you can get locked from the OUTSIDE!! Oh golly. Apparently, a “yay” sized (hand gesturing the size of a) spider was spotted by Alyssa where the TP was located. I’ve only ventured to that part of town twice in 11 days and I swear to you, you have to mentally prepare yourself, pep talk yourself, and remind yourself not to look around for any insects of such kind. Ana and Janille are there with me but we do have some brave female souls who dare go to The Outhouse. Moving on…
We get back to the hotel after a quick nap on the van or at least try to with Ana, Janille, and my sing-a-long session…  shower, eat something edible, and sleep. That’s Day 6.
Day 7: Saturday, May 6th, 2013
Saturday was the first day we got to sleep-in!! A whopping 30 minutes. AKA, on-time for Josie and I. It was also the first time we got to explore the area around us and look like those annoying tourists that take photos of everything. And I mean, EVERYTHING. For Ana, it would be cows, horses and chickens. Things you typically don’t see in Canada.
Our itinerary consisted of hitting up the local market and going to the beach. We split into 2 groups because our translator slash guide (Jesus) always said “2 is not a group, 3 is, but 4 is even better). I was with Ana, Janille, and Lindsay where the rest of them followed Jesus. Literally. The 4 of us wore dresses and got some weird noises and looks, which were clearly directed at Ana. But it was hilarious to watch people’s reaction when they saw us walking down the market. What I mean by this is that they’d see a Latina, a Trinidadian, a European, and a Chinese decent group of girls. The idea seemed so strange to them that it was noticeable in their faces. They were probably thinking, how is this even happening and what language COULD they all communicate in?! English of course. The girls got some jewelry and I got some granadillas. It was my favourite fruit when I worked in Colombia as a summer work term and devoured 4 of them on the spot. I could eat those all day, [ALL DAY WINSTON, ALL DAY].
Next up, we kicked it to Paya El Espino where we had Pollo Comprestre. Not to be confused with Pollo Comprestro as that is the national “KFC” of El Salvador, whereas Pollo Comprestre is only located in Eastern El Salvador. Lenox and I split 6 pieces of fried chicken and fries for under $5 each. We were happy campers. I spent most of the day with Lindsay walking along the beach and through the streets having a solid heart-to-heart moment. She’s pretty cool, I guess. The rest of the crew played with a frisbee, a volleyball, walked around, tanned, while Lenox and Joei started a game of beach soccer with the locals. It was pretty adorbs.
By the time we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted from being in the sun all day so we ate some food and went to bed. That’s Day 7.
Day 8: Sunday, May 7th, 2013
Sunday was even better in terms of sleeping-in as we got an extra hour!! Our plan started off with going to the orphanage to give back to the community, then to Alegria for some culture learning, and finally to the sulphur lagoon for some scenic views.
San Vicente de Paul had 9 boys ranging from age 4 to a couple of teenagers. The facility wasn’t in the best shape but it was so awesome to see how happy the boys were with so little they had. Donations were given, thanks to the T-Birds crew and a game of basketball started. After about 20 minutes, half of us were sweating like crazy and decided to take a break and play with the little ones. Israel was the youngest and was quite shy at first, but eventually warmed up. Jefferson, however, was a little bit of a disturber and bit me on the arm for not giving him my point-n-shoot (aka camera). That guy.
Next up was Alegria, the tourist town next to a volcano. (The concept of Banff to The Rockies, or Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu). But it wasn’t just any volcano, it was a stratovolcano where the lava melted its path to formed a sulphur lagoon. Lunch (either grilled chicken or fajitas) was served at a restaurant in the on a mountain top and this is where we met up with the other T-Birds varsity crew. Right as everyone sat down, we had live Mariachi musicians playing the genre of village cubia for us. We exchanged experiences with the varsity athletes and learnt that they were in a location where locals were often seen (we were in a pretty isolated location), or that they had just finished the foundation of the 6 bedroom house (we were nearly to the roof), or that they had to deal with the heat and sun (we were situated on the mountain so it was cooler and had more shade from the clouds). The view from the restaurant was amazing and we took some group photos and bought some authentic coffee beans to bring back home!

We finished off the day with a visit to lagoon where the clouds rolled-in, temperature dropped, and the use of the REC jackets finally happened. There was a small island that seemed reachable from the mainland, but people were shouting at us not to go in because it was dangerous. We then learned of a myth where a mermaid would seduce men and bring them underwater, eventually drowning them. Group shots, jumping shots, koaling shots [Ellen DeGeneres], and any type of shot you can think of probably happened. Last but not least, Janille taught us Shakira’s Waka Waka dance moves. I’d say we’re pretty good at it at this point.
Homeward bound, we pulled our typical sing-a-long routine or asked random questions to get to know each other a bit more, ate something called food, and passed out. That’s Day 8.
Day 6-8: That’s all for now! Ciao amigos!
xoxo, Andrea.

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