We had a storm last night – INSIDE of the kitchen! I was the only one in the house, but thankfully the dog was with me, so she shared in the excitement. It was getting dark on the walk home from the in-laws, but we expect it to rain at night anyway as its rainy season. I begin cooking the meatball recipe Id planned on, and the wind starts picking up. And it really picked up. So I shut the kitchen door, which opens up onto the patio area. There’s an opening at the top of the wall about 4-6 inches wide along the length of the whole wall for ventilation, and so I could really “feel” the storm building outside. By the time I’d started on the sauce, stray leaves were falling in the kitchen like a blustery autumn day. I had to quickly cover the pots when loose cement crumbs high up the walls from the construction began falling onto the stove. Meanwhile, as it was raining sideways the kitchen started to get really WET. I opened the door onto the patio to check out what was up with the dog, and saw no sign of her, but the entire patio/corredor was soaking wet when it is normally dry as it’s covered. I ran to the sala/family room/sleeping area to see if she was in the house. I found her there under the bed, and terrified. The rain had also been pelting so hard sideways that a stream of water began entering the MAIN part of the house underneath the door. Whoa! Quick, yank out all the suitcases from under the bed, and the two cardboard boxes now in the middle of the shallow “stream” being created. Onto the back patio, I’m sweeping the water away and thinking woops, poor design and how can we re-think/do the cement on this back patio, huh? That done, and back into the kitchen, where our little dog “Sausage” was happy to keep me company. I’m sure glad the sauce was done by then because now the lights went out (they go out a lot in this remote Northern Chalatenango part of El Salvador), and I only had to worry about cooking the noodles in candlelight. It all turned out well, Sausage loved the meatballs, and we had a great meal together. This morning we swept up the aftermath, stray leaves and branches strewn everywhere. My brother in-law Yito’s “milpa” has a lot of flopped cornstalks, but other than that, it’s all good.
Archive for the ‘Chalatenango El Salvador’ Tag
We have now lived in our revamped adobe house together for a total of three full days. Today we start the fourth, and I’m the first one up at 5am. You see a different piece of the world waking up this early. It’s like a private window that opens up to a beautiful view that most people only see from a different angle. The first thing I notice are the “sopes,” or vultures. One or two of them were “parking” for the night in a tree yesterday at the end of my sister-in-law’s visit, and now there are six of them, like a family, in a tall tree that overlooks the river and pasture behind our house. We didn’t have sopes in Los Planes, but that’s because there’s no livestock there. Here there’s livestock and more brush animals like armadillos (“cusuco”), and iguanas. One day a few weeks back on a visit, looking at this same view, my husband noticed a gathering of sopes in the hills just past the pasture. “One of Elmer’s Ganado (cow or steer) must have died.”
It was an amazing site to watch. There must have been 25 or more of them all flying in what was almost a cloud of them. They were in a bunch, and then began to fly in almost a tornado like formation, as members of the flock began descending to the ground.
Then, it’s as if they have radar – we could see vulture after vulture coming from different sides, in the sky – but a line of them were coming almost from the same direction. And they did the same thing each time – form a cloud and then descend after circling in a spiral. The sense of hearing, sight and smell must be immensely powerful for these animals, as the distance they were flying in from was several football fields away from the presumed carcass. Bit I digress, now let’s come back to the back porch where I was sitting, a little past 5am. There are some major differences between “here” (Jicaron, in western Chalatenango, and not the high mountain areas that everyone thinks of as soon as I mention the name) and “there” which is now Los Planes de Renderos, just outside of San Salvador.
The biggest are climate and temperature. It feels like almost a 10 degree difference between the two places. And it’s much more dry here. Which during dry season sucks to be here in Chalate, but during rainy season it’s a nice break from the soggy sog wet days, because in Los Planes it usually rains twice a day versus the one here, but sometimes 3 or 4 times. Certain plants grow better there due to the temperature and humidity difference that just can’t hack it here unless you keep them in the shade, water always, and do massive TLC. The other major difference is a constant presence of flies here. Farms, right? Apparently they wake up early too – 6am and there are 3 or 4 of them dancing around my book “No Ordinary Time” about FDR and Eleanor, and the coffee cup which must now always have something covering it – a postcard works perfect for that. But I began to notice some similarities this morning. One in particular cheered my day – a hummingbird (“colbri”, “gorrión”, “pica flor”) was flitting around a tree out back that has yellow blossoms. The Torogoz is another uplifting sight – this one here is a bit smaller than the one who inhabited our previous locale, and seems to have more yellow/orange on his head and back. He’s a fantastic hunter, and I got to see his talents yesterday. He flew off one tree, and in mid-air caught a flying insect, then glided to another tree with his catch.