Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Ho Ho Ho

There have been moments when it felt like Christmas. When we stood in long lines at the grocery store yesterday, when we sang Christmas carols (in English) at the Union Church last night, when we started to open our stockings this morning, then it felt like the holiday we know. But there are still moments of “where am I?”

A few days ago, James and I went to Hyper Paiz to buy some last minute gifts. Hyper Paiz has been purchased by Walmart. Just this month they started stocking “Equate” brand items that are so familiar in the Walmarts at home. They’ve removed the selection of native candy from the check-out line; that made me sad. Now it’s all Snickers and Hershey bars. But the lines were moving quickly and the music was blaring when we were there, so I couldn’t really complain. I looked over at a Salvadoran Santa in a red suit playing a game with some children across from the checkout counters. Then I noticed they were tossing around a giant stuffed ham - never did figure out what that was all about.

Last night was Christmas Eve. We went to church, then over to the Magana’s for Christmas Eve dinner. Maggie and Will had gone on ahead of us. By the time we got there, Maggie could name all the different fireworks in Spanish that they had already shot off. The loudest one translated as “mortar.” Based on the noise it made, thought that was a pretty descriptive name. Dinner was a turkey cooked in some delicious red sauce that I’d never had before. Julio Magana is a master chef, and that was without a doubt the best turkey I’d ever had.

We got home early enough and waited for midnight. And boy did it come. I marvel at a city where everyone waits for midnight and then simultaneously shoots off fireworks - young, old, rich, poor - they all shoot off whatever they can that makes noise. Maggie’s room faces one direction and ours another and we both watched the sky light up for almost an hour. Fireworks may not seem “Christmasy,” but boy do Salvadorans know how to celebrate. It was a magical moment.

We sauteed shrimp tonight instead of the traditional roast beef and a range of casseroles. But the shrimp was fresh from the pier and really good. Getting a sunburn on Christmas Eve did not seem like a typical holiday tradition, but it was nice to get out in the sun yesterday. We’ve taken our family to the beach for seafood, and of course to almost every mall in the city. Tomorrow we’re going to go up to the top of the volcano and look in the big crater. That was on my list of things to do in 2006 - I’ll just get it checked off.

We had a potluck dinner on the 23rd - sort of an “everyone who didn’t go home” party. It was nice to have a house full of people. Now things have settled back down around the complejo. At some point I’ve got to start planning the Dunlap’s Second Annual Grits party that we’ll have the day before school starts back. We want to see how many people this house can really hold. If you can get here, you’re invited. Merry Christmas to all!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year's Eve! So have the fireworks continued through the week or were they only on that one night?

See you in a week!


8:36 AM  

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