Thursday, February 21, 2008

Manolo es muy loco

I met some of the same people when I was in Santa Ana and Juayua at Tacuba. So we decided to go on the tours together. The tour is run by the Hostel Mama y Papa's owner Manolo. He just returned from 1.5 month in Europe. Manolo is full of energy all the time despite of the 7 hours jetlag. He is a smoker and a womanizer. First day 4 of us David from Canada, Justin from Cleveland, Evanka from Holland, went to a coffee processing plant and hot spring. It was really nice to see how the coffee is processed and end up in US store. The sorter get paid $1 an hour and the labors whom carry 300 150lb bags a day to the truck earn 0.5 cents an hour. And the best quality coffee goes to Europe and US. After our coffee plant visit, we went to the hot spring. The place is actually a coffee farm where geothermal activity is happening right in the farm. We boiled some eggs at a steam hole! The hot spring and the guest house is used for international buyers who come to inspect and buy. They were cleaning the pool when we were there, despite the mossy growth, it is still a nice trip/dip. At the hot spring, Manolo made his first move on Evanca, by massage her feet, and neck. She returned the favor by massage his neck.

The next day, we went on the Waterfall hike with an overnight beach stay. There was not enough interest in biking. The waterfall hike is actually more of canyoneering where you hike down the valley and follow the river. So if the river drop 3 meters, we need either jump off if it is possible or find a way down. I told Manolo I was not going jump off any waterfalls, so I used overland detours to get down. But at one fall, there were no other way, so they lower me down via a harness, and help me through the deep water. David love the jumps, and attempted every one and sometime twice. Evanka attempted few as well as Manolo. (Justine went on a different tour as he done the waterfalls tour couple days ago, he met us midway through the tour). Overall it was good hike and best done by someone who has insurance - which I don't at this moment :) After the hike 4 of us, plus Manolo and a guide drove to a beach house on the pacific ocean.

Manolo told us the pacific beach house is owned by some jazz musician from New Orleans and the person bought it for $120,000 which Manolo said it is twice the local price. Again the house wasn't for us, they were still cleaning and working on the house when we arrived, but the pool and view were good. When got there, Manolo assigned everyone to their rooms, Justin, David, and I in one room, the guide in another, and he and Evanka in one. David and Justin went for a swim, I decided to go for a shower since it was getting dark. Manolo purchased some mackerels and we had it for dinner around 9PM. After that we put in the pirated American Gangster movie. I was tired (woke up around 6), so I doze off on and off. But did notice Manolo and Evanka disappeared to their room :)

Half way through the movie I decided to go to sleep, and I woke up around 6:30 and took few pictures and decided to go for a walk on the beach toward a rock out crop and may be see some sea creatures. On the way I saw fishing boats coming in with their catches. The rocky outcrops did have some sea creatures, but not the abundant sea life I saw at the west coast of US. There were many kind of crabs, but they hide into the crevices when I approach them, and I did see purple sea urchins which I did not saw in west coast. It was getting late, so I decided to run back. About half way I saw David and Justin and our guide, and we saw bunch rays being skinned, as well one really pretty blue ray.

Once I got back to the house, I saw the love birds Manolo and Evanka in the jeep head out to pick up the others. Manolo purchased a skinned small shark as well. Then the caretaker's fishing boat returned with its catch of red snappers and others. We waited for them to finish processing it before our breakfast being served at 11AM! After brunch, Manolo and Evanka disappeared again into their room, rest of us just hangout either in the ocean or in the hammock.

Manolo mentioned we can go on fishing boat, but he was too busy doing you know what to deliver. He also constantly borrowing money from me, I am sure he earns enough, his family has land and coffee farm as well. From what the other hostel owner (from Denmark), people in El Salvador don't save, they spend everything they earn - sounds like some American. Anyway, Manolo is fun person to hang out with, but when it come to the serious things, I am not sure you can depend on him.

On the way back to the hostel, we dropped off Evanka at Juayua, and we say our goodbyes, and Manolo and Evanka promised to call each other.

Anyway while we were gone, 12 other travelers arrived at the hostel, so we lost our bed, so Justin and I ended up slept in Manolo's room. But apparently there were missing communication, where Justin suppose to sleep in another room and Manolo and I in his room. During the night mama came and call out to Justin that he is in Manolo's bed! Justin got up and went to talk to Manolo and everything was fine, Manolo will sleep in the travelers bunk. And according to David, Manolo stumbled in drunk and almost got into the bed with him, I joked that may Manolo thought he was Evanka :)

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