Saturday, March 1, 2014

Friday, February 28th, San Salvador, My Birthday

 I woke up to a beautiful birthday card from Pat, with a notice that a new (replacement) Garmin GPS device for our car was home awaiting our return.  A few weeks ago, I had dropped the one we use, and the glass cracked.  As Pat told some friends, it's not hard to buy for me because I inevitably break or lose things periodically.  I'm repaying her generosity by stealing greatly from her journal today.

Our tour took us by bus along the Ruta de las Flores today, along a new highway and then up a mountain with lush cloud-like forests.  This is coffee country, but most seems to be shade-grown so not as chewed up as we saw in Vietnam.

 Our first stop was Nahurzal, a town with many indigenous (not Mayans), but Nahautl-speaking.  We walk through the new market and a square festooned with hearts for Valentine's Day.

Further on, we stop at Garden de Celest, a lovely garden restaurant with orchids, mums, roses, lilies, passion vine, to name a few.  We had large portions of good food , plus Jamaica (!), good coffee, and a birthday cake for Gregory.

Next, we head further up to a coffee processing plant, TACO brand coffee.  We see beans being sorted, skin-removed, dried, milled, sorted, and some roasted (most are brought green to be roasted by the buyers).  They made a point of showing how beans from each source and quality are kept separate.  All are Arabica, but varietals include Bourbon, Paracas, and about three others.  Then, some are gourmet quality, or organic, or of a certain elevation.  We sampled at the end - really not as good as the coffee we had at lunch.

 Next, we visited TACO, a city with colorful murals on dozens of houses.  Originally a project of American artists and local artisans, it proved to be a tourist draw, and has been maintained at local expense by local artists.  Two of our group (Harry and Leonard) stopped to buy new Machetes!

We headed home, stopping in Jauyau, a town with a quaint square and a church with a black Jesus - but it was closed.  Home by 6:30pm.  As I write this, Gregory has gone over to the local Sheraton to visit the site of a 1981 assassination of Mark Pearlman and two others by the death squads for working on land reform.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on: Friday, February 28th, San Salvador.

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