Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tales of Greasy and Grubby in Cara Sucia

If you are in Cara Sucia, then you are close to the beach and the opportunity for a beach adventure is always at hand!

Greasy and Grubby were staying with a family in Cara Sucia and were offered just such an adventure - a night at the beach. Our teen-age guide (who is a long-time friend and has actually stayed in both of our homes) suggested that he organize this adventure and his mom thought it was a good idea. Mom took us into town in a moto-taxi (the little red jobs made in Japan) to pick up some sandwich supplies and drinks - soft white bread (think Wonder), processed turkey and cheese, and little juice jugs with foil caps - this is sort of typical beach picnic food.

We packed up our swim suits, towels and beach food and walked up to the main road. There we waited a while, then squeezed into a colorful public bus which took us to the beach road. I sat next to a mom with an adorable little one. I asked if it would be OK if I took a quick photo, and the mom said she would be honored.

At the beach road we met up with a friend of our friend's and so now we were a group of four - a teen boy with two gringa ladies old enough to be his moms and some 40-year-old local guy as our extra chaperone. It was getting dark as we got into another bus which was parked along the side of the road. Apparently the bus waits for a quorum before it runs, so, as we were just sitting there in the dark I decided it would be a good time to call home to let my husband know all was well. We still have the message that I recorded saved on the machine, "Hey, I'm on a bus ... on some road ... headed for the beach ... with our friend and another guy ..." After I hung up I thought perhaps this was not the most reassuring message to leave with my husband, but it did capture the unknown-adventure-nature of the moment.

Eventually the driver got in and we headed down the dirt road to the beach. At the end of the road we got off and walked to our chaperone's uncle's place - but just for a bit. Then, out to the sand and a walk up the beach to a mystery location where we would spend the night. Well, maybe this was not the smartest thing Greasy and Grubby have ever done - walking along a Salvadoran mystery beach to an unknown location in the dark.

It's pretty common to find little places along the Salvadoran beaches where you can rent rooms for the day, or even the night. We stopped at a place like this and our friend made the arrangements to stay. Next it was sandwich time, so we got out our stuff and started to make dinner at a little table outside of the rooms. We were interrupted by a local gentleman who had clearly been enjoying a little too much cerveza. Greasy and Grubby were not up on the latest salty language, but knew enough to know that the gentleman was not being a gentleman (especially when an occasional English word hit the air). Our chaperone sent us to our room and we locked the door, while our friend argued and tried to shoo the pest away. This took a while. Eventually, negotiations led to our escape to the place next door, where a lovely older couple welcomed us and assured us that they would take very good care of us. We got the tour (this way to the beach, this way to the latrine) and it started to rain. We sat on a low wall and finished up our sandwiches. Then it was bedtime. Greasy and Grubby headed into their room, and the guys headed into theirs.

The room had two wood-frame beds strung with rope grids. The first thing we did was shove one bed over to block the door, which did not have a lock. We laughed and wondered what the guys were thinking about the racket we were making. Then we spread out our beach towels over the ropes and got into our beds. Greasy got the wall, I got the bed by the door. Hot, damp, surrounded by the musty smell of wood and rope, uncomfortable ... well, good thing we are best friends and can chat our way through any challenging night.

We got up at 4:45, tossed on our swimsuits, hid our valuables as best we could and headed out to the beach to watch the sunrise. (Packing tip: always bring a ziploc bag for your passport so you can shove it into your swimsuit when you have no other option.) It was drizzly and cold. Our chaperone decided to sleep in, so it was just the three friends sitting on the beach, telling stories and watching a beautiful sunrise...

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