Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Election Day

Today is Sunday, March 12. It is Election Day in El Salvador. We have been advised to stay close to home today, just in case. James is going out later to the fairgrounds with friends so he can observe the election process. Here's what I've learned. Every mayor in every town runs for election at the same time, making for a lively campaign all over the country. But when voting day comes, you vote for the party and not for the candidate. Specifically, you vote for the flag of the party.

My students gave me a hard time on Friday for wearing a red sweater to school. They wondered if I was making a political statement in support of the FMLN, the Communist party in El Salvador. This area is pro-ARENA, which is akin to the Republican party inthe States. I can almost sing the ARENA theme song because we've heard it so much during the campaign. Besides having to stay home (i.e. no beach today), another noticeable difference is that no alcohol is sold in this country from Friday night at midnight until sometime on Monday. El Salvador is very proud of the political process here. It has been an interesting time to be in this country.

Last Sunday, I took Mags and Will to the 45th birthday party of the Peace Corps. We went to a town called Suchitoto (which I mispronounced in class - my version sounds like a Japanese restaurant). There's supposed to be an incredible lake there, which we never saw. We were in the remains of a very old church for a guitar concert and lots of speeches. The photo is of the Dunlap and Fawcett kids in front of the church bell tower. It was a beautiful part of the country, and I'd like to go back when we have more time. We went to a French restaurant and hotel for desert. I was amazed they let us in wearing Peace Corps t-shirts and covered in dust.

The country roads here are a challenge to navigate, especially in our old Volvo. I always worry that I'll hit a farm animal. I think a chicken wouldn't be so bad, but the pigs and cows and donkeys by the side of the road worry me. I drove to Suchitoto because James and a fellow teacher went to the stadium to see a soccer game. The funniest part was when a vendor tried to sell James a beer. He called James "chelito" which roughly translates as "little white boy." My brother said in a way that's a compliment!

I'm nursing a sunburn today from my carelessness at the pool. I've got lots of papers to grade, and the quarter ends on Friday. Time is flying by. Maggie will be 14 next Sunday. She's out so often with friends that we don't see her much anymore. But hopefully turning 14 in Central America will be memorable for her. She wants a cellphone, which I think we're going to have to give in and buy for her.

Note to Theresa - what would I do without a reminders from you to update the blog? Thanks again! Susan


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