I had my "usual" -- two pupusas (they're small). Claudia, the woman who has made pupusas every day since I've been here saw me (there was a crowd around the eggs and pupusas. She waved me over and pulled out the ones she knew I'd like (meat, beans and cheese -- but browned on the outside a bit more). Today is her last day for one week -- so I'll have to befriend the new pupusa maker in the morning.
Edgar Mendoza and his wife Rosa met us at the hotel, and at 9:30 we were off for our day. Of note is the fact that Edgar was elected the Secretary of Next year's Diocesan convention for the Diocese of El Salvador. That convention always happens on the Friday and Saturday before Trinity Sunday. I believe that will be the 13th and 14th of June next year. At that meeting, the slate of nominees for Bishop will be presented, with the election taking place at a special election later that year, date to be announced. Edgar is seated at the table and is wearing the red shirt. He had just been elected and was up with this year's secretary of convention.
I had a splitting headache -- so I took some tylenol, but not before the headache had affected my stomach. Not good.
I was scheduled to preach and celebrate at 5:00 at San Marcos. On the way, we decided to stop at Tazumal and take the Ruta de las Flores.
Tazumal is an amazing archeological site of Mayan ruins. It is thought that there are 5 pyramids built on top of each other. The oldest dates from the 400 AD the newest about 1200 AD. What was most interesting was listening to our own Julie Bryant describe how the Mayans maintained the structures (she learned this during her many trips to Belize). In this particular case, there were bodies excavated, which were assumed to be human sacrifices. The grounds were immaculate -- well cared for. Apparently when this site was initially excavated cement was used to cover the steps and facade to secure it. Archaeologists have since learned that this is not a way to protect the ruins, and adjustments have been/are being made.
We then got into the van and headed to Ataco, Ahuachapan. It is a beautiful town. There were many people in the town square, and food and other vendors were all around. What I loved about this town is that many of the buildings are painted in bright colors or with murals. It started to rain just a bit, but stopped quickly. I had my umbrella up for less than a minute! We walked around the town -- Shelley had been there before and remembered a shop that she had liked. We stopped there -- lots of great items to purchase.
We walked around a bit more and stopped for lunch. We found the most interesting restaurant -- RESTAURANTE SIBARITAS -- it has an outside seating area as well as an dining room. I was immediately attracted to it because of the ornate iron work and the beautiful flowers on the patio. The picture here is of Shelley admiring these hanging vines -- the flowers were beautiful! I had a bowl of soup which was, as stated in the menu, "gentle on the stomach". Others had either pork or chicken -- everything was reported to be delicious -- certainly my soup was!
We made our way back to the car, and by the time I got there I had lost most of the color in my face, and the headache was back. A "pow wow" among my fellow travelers resulted in a call to Bishop Barahona to tell him we weren't going to make it to San Marcos. A call was placed to the Church in San Marcos as well. The service was scheduled for 5:00, it was 3:00 -- and I knew I wouldn't make it. I was grateful, very grateful to Edgar for his help with this. Also, Arcielo, our driver, was wonderful. Shelley Denney kept saying to me, "there is NO color in your face". She gave me more tylenol and we began the trip back to San Salvador.
I asked to stop along the way back to San Salvador to get some fresh air and to move a bit. The group was great about supporting my need not to talk. I didn't mind if others did, but I didn't have enough energy to do so myself. Me not talking -- wow, you know that doesn't happen often! I was very sleepy once the second headache started to subside.
We stopped at a little town called Apaneca - also with pretty painted buildings. The town square was smaller -- just a five minute walk around the square and we were back on the van ready to go.
We did go into Juayua, and walked around a bit. Shelley wanted me to see the Black Jesus in the Church, which was a lovely building. You climbed steps that took you up behind the cross. It was powerful to stand up there behind the cross, and be able to see down to the chancel and nave floors. It was also amazing to see the different statues from that vantage point. I spent a few minutes in quiet prayer for family and friends.
As we left the church we walked along the town square -- again filled with people and food booths. According to Shelley and George, this is a Sunday thing to do in El Salvador -- everyone comes out into the square. There were also lots of side streets with ample shopping in the street and in side alleys. It was in the square that we discovered the city was hosting a "get to know reptiles" day. George decided to participate. I think it looks good with his purple shirt!
We got back into the car and continued our trip back to El Salvador. I fell asleep for a bit, something I never do. I was getting some color back in my face.
On the way back we went through Nahuizalco -- the furniture vendors along the side of the road had all KINDS of furniture for sale. It was amazing to see stall after stall along the roadside. We ended up back at the hotel around the same time mass would have been ending had I been able to be there -- and as San Marcos is about 1.5 hours away, well, I am glad to be sitting quietly blogging. I do miss not being with the people of San Marcos, though -- I was looking forward to that!
I'm ending this blog post with some other pictures of our day. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep!
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