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Protected: You Know Me, Always Following Instructions   4 comments

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Posted August 13, 2011 by El Salvador from the Inside in Living in El Salvador, ODD

Don’t heat Cashew Shells on the Stove / No cocine Pepas por la Estufa   2 comments

My husband had a cooking adventure today.  But not the kind he was looking for.  We have a bag of hard-as-a-rock shells from the Marañon fruit, which have cashew nuts inside of them.  In order to eat the cashew, you have to heat up the shell to the point where its slightly charred, so you can crack it open and get the cashew out from the inside.

You cannot heat the Pepa (shell) too much or you’ll char the cashew inside of it.  It’s something you learn with time.

So today, instead of putting the Pepas into a little fire in the bowl of the grill, my husband decided he’d cook them on the stove, in a plate made out of ‘barra’ which is a type of earthenware made in El Salvador.

All began well, but within moments a haze began to develop in the kitchen.  The haze grew into a cloud, with a nasty aroma that makes you cough.  I exited the kitchen.   The smoke became so thick I had to move around the corner, as the patio outside the kitchen became engulfed in the toxic fumes.

I peeked around the corner just in time to see flames coming off the barra plate (they ignited!), which my husband quickly doused with water.   In the end, it still turned out well, and we had a couple of tasty handfuls of freshly toasted cashew.  Yum yum.

Giggling, after dousing the fire

Smoke everywhere, Pepas smoldering

Posted August 1, 2011 by El Salvador from the Inside in Food, ODD

Hair Cut at the Grocery and fresh brewed Coffee from a Backpack   Leave a comment

I’d like to share with you two funny and odd sights I saw today, within 30 minutes of each other.

Coffeewalkers & backpacks here look like the guy on the left

On our way into the grocery store parking lot in San Jacinto, a “coffee walker” crossed the street in front of us.  Usually selling Nescafe brand, coffeewalkers are ambulatory vendors who carry your favorite morning beverage and its accoutrements strapped to them in a square-shaped backpack.  I had not seen this before coming to El Salvador, and it’s a curious site the first time you see it.  Coffeewalkers, or ambulatory coffee vendors, are also often seen in the “colonia medica” where I bought a cup of fresh brewed there once.

After we’d bagged the grocery loot, and were walking out the door, quite literally AT the door – there was a woman sitting in a barbershop stool getting her recently cut hair blown out.  There is no separate room or even a partition – the hairdressers and clients are sitting right there in the open, in the exit area of the grocery store, just outside of the path of exiting customers.  Super Selectos has improvised a small hair salon right at the exit of the store.  It’s hysterical!  I have seen up to two clients attended to at a time, recalling a woman getting makeup put on in the “salon” on a recent grocery trip.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures, but I hope you can imagine it.   The stuff you see here sometimes is such a hoot!

How to Power a 220V Tool without an Outlet   2 comments

We see new things every day in El Salvador.   Today’s lesson was on how to connect powerful 220v (volt) tools without using an outlet!    This “How To” is for HUMOR ONLY so please DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!!!

A welding/soldering team came by and cut a piece out of the large metal garage door (“puerton”).  They fashioned a smaller door out of it, and needed power to weld it into the main door.   Our house isn’t outfitted with a 220v outlet, but even if it were they would not have used it.   The “jefe” asked ‘Where is the electrical box?’    When he took the entire FACE off the box, I began unplugging things in the house, quickly.

Here is the pictorial:

Connect 220v tool without an electric outlet - welding machine

1. Bring machine to job

Extra Long cord for welding machine

2. Have extra long cord attached

3. Remove face of electric panel

How to connect 220v power tool to live electric panel

4. Connect exposed part of each metal wire to one of the two openings available in the live electric panel

This is all tongue-in-cheek here folks, so again, DO NOT try this at home!     Oh, one more tricky detail – there is NO main cut-off switch in or to the service box – all wire connects/disconnects happened l-i-v-e.

Apparently this practice is common for welders throughout El Salvador. The gentleman who worked on the Puerton (large gate/door) at my in-laws house in Chalatenango did an interesting variation: he scaled the utility pole and connected wires from his welding machine directly to the live wires on it!

Life is exciting in very odd ways here. These crazy risk-taking welders are up there with extreme skiers in my book.

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