Deb in El Salvador

Hair like Brillo

Sometimes words can be be funny when you go between languages. I got a kick out of this hair conditioner which promises smooth hair (suave) but says with (con) brillo. In Spanish brillo means luster/sheen/shine. It is quite befitting as a hair product promise. But the United States Brillo is the brand/product name for a very course, tough steel wool scouring pad to clean baking dishes — the last thing you want your hair associated with.

The best flashlight EVER – survived a Holocaust concentration camp

When I visited my friend Danny in San Salvador and told him about my cherished and much-appreciated Energizer Solar 3 LED Flashlight solar/windup flashlight, he showed me what I believe is THE BEST flashlight and one of THE BEST pieces of technology EVER invented and manufactured. In this sadly disposable world, we can all learn from this well-created piece of technology. The flashlight Danny holds here was his grandfather’s. His grandfather was able to have it with him when imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp and he managed to hold on to it. This amazing piece of technology, manufactured in Holland by Philips, provided much cherished light to his grandfather and those held along with him. It works simply by pressing the lever — and it still works! In fact, I believe it still has the original light bulb! Looking up the model on the web, I see several stories […]

City with a future

Anyone who attended SUNY Oswego with me will understand why I had to stop, smile, and take a photo of this poster as I walked down my street in San Salvador. It says: “San Salvador, una citudad con futuro” That is: “San Salvador, a city with a future” We who drove from lower New York State to our college in Oswego were very familiar with the sign that greeted us in the town before Oswego — Fulton, NY — and the wooden sign that said: “Fulton, city with a future.”

Eye glass repair in San Salvador & Panamá City!

Maybe it is the extreme heat, but the plastic cording must stretch causing the lens to fall out. This is not something I can pop back in and be done with. That is, I’d put the lens back into place, but the lens falls out again.

This happened to me twice. First, in San Salvador at the beginning of September and again in Panama City on December 22 when the glasses are almost exactly a year old. (I believe each lens has now fallen out.)

Luckily in both cities, I have found that there is amazing reciprocity amongst the eyeglass stores. In each city, the first optician shop I walked into repaired my frames free of charge! Each time, with just a few words and a fast look at the situation, the plastic band has been fully replaced.

Hostel recommendation in San Salvador, El Salvador

When I first arrived in San Salvador I stayed at a perfectly nice hostel that was recommended by Lonely Planet. It was nice and breakfast was free, but there was no kitchen, it was low season so it was pretty empty, and I didn’t feel connected to the staff. My local friend had heard a CouchSurfer had liked a hostel — Cumbres del Volcan — and as we found ourselves nearby, we checked it out. I am so glad we did! I loved staying at Cumbres del Volcan! There is no question that this is THE hostel for just about everyone to stay at. Regardless of your age, you will like this home-turned-hostel. Here are a few reasons why I like the location: It is in a terrific, upscale neighborhood — Escalon. There are low-cost Pupuserias right down the block. It is just a short block below the Plaza Futura, […]

Halloween candy sales in Central America?

I wonder if all the Halloween candy that doesn’t get sold goes on sale or half price like it does in the US. In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that would bring the prices down to what we normally pay in the states. In fact, a huge disappoint for me has been the lack of local brands. It is amazing to me that the cacao grows in these places but there is pretty much no candy bar manufacturing. Instead, the stores sell Hershey’s and Cadbury. In Guatemala there is a local brand, a candy bar the size and shape of the Hershey Bar, but it was more expensive than the Hershey Bar. Go figure. Well, I don’t know if they sell Halloween candy in Honduras and Guatemala, and I won’t be there to see what happens to the candy on the large Halloween displays that were up in San Salvador […]

New year 5773

My LA Mac friend Elaine just sent me wishes for a good 5773. My reply: And as I sit on a roadside patio in upscale Escalon, San Salvador fully loving the music of 4 men, a bass and marimba in the fresh rain-washed air taking in the view of the nearby volcano before I head to synagogue here, I wish you the same. I am so loving this weekend!

A traveler’s language challenges

Tonight’s plan was for me and two friends to hear a woman from Argentina perform at the bar in the Crowne Plaza two short blocks from where I am staying. I’d walked over there this afternoon to learn the times and even find out that her performance coincided with the last half hour of happy hour so we’d enjoy two-for-one draft beer in the warm evening’s air. I was happy that I’d gone over there and inquired in Spanish, gotten the information, and relayed it to my two local friends. However, we arrived to find she is not performing tonight. One of my friends’ response to me: “So your Spanish is not so good.” (Not meant in a bad way.) Really, I didn’t understand what I’d done wrong. I am certainly not fluent in Spanish. I lack many, many words. But I knew how to ask about a female singer […]

My first El Salvador earthquakes

Last week there was a quake here in San Salvador. Ironically, I was sitting at the dining table at my guest house, working on a Mac there when the all-too familiar shaking started. Sitting at a Mac just like I was during most of the shakes I have felt in Los Angeles for the past many years. Seriously, over 5 months of not sitting at a Mac and here I was – same combo. So here I was relaxing and doing some casual work, when the ground shook. Not rocked. Shook. Sharper than what I felt most in LA. In LA I lived 2 floors up, too high to exit through a window, and always wondered if it was best to stay inside or go out. Here, I was in a single home, but up some stairs. And immediately outside are major electric wires. I wasn’t sure of the building […]

I miss(ed) Dove soap

If you haven’t used Dove, you simply won’t understand this post. But someday you might… Dove has been my body and face soap of choice since I was 16 and the dermatologist who treated my (second-degree) burned face and hands recommended it. I’m not one to recommend you pack a year’s worth of your favorite soap. I had two bars of Dove left when I packed so, happily, I was able to fit them into my backpack/suitcase. After that, I knew I would simply use what I can find. I’d done that before, each time I’d traveled. The thing is, despite claims, no other soap in the US or elsewhere, is a creamy, soft, and residue-less as Dove. So when I ran out I missed Dove. I found some in Walmart in San Salvador. They were the smaller sized bars, but the price wasn’t too horrible. However, they didn’t last […]

Matador FlatPak with a new 135g bar of Dove soap vs a used bar of Dove.

Power outage in San Salvador

Last night’s rain and lightening storm brought more than the usual light storm beauty. Around 10pm it brought an extra loud pop and with it, darkness for some seconds, followed by another pop and some hours of darkness. I unplugged the house Mac, made sure any PCs here were unplugged. The owner opted to leave the wifi routers plugged in. (I also unplugged my TV and AC.) Around midnight the other women here and I went to bed. I wondered if the power would come on in the morning and If the routers would be back to normal. At 3:30am I had my answer when my roommate turned on the light. I am impressed with the electrical infrastructure here that withstands the rainy season so well.

Batman movie at Gran Villa

I was invited by my local friend Frida to join her and a family seeing the new Batman movie at the Gran Villa, the nicest of the malls in San Salvador. In Los Angeles I would not have gone to see this film, but here there was no question of not going as I have not yet been to a movie in El Salvador. I loved this film. It started out with so much action that I was lost, and I was trying very hard to catch it all and remember it to tell Adrain as he was joining us. But after that first scene it got easier, and soon Adrian arrived. Good story, great mix of emotion and action and humor, great use of action. The theater was beautiful as well. It was very much like the one at The Grove in Los Angeles in every way. The only […]

Batteries in Honduras & Guatemala

I was worried about being able to buy batteries in Central America, especially AAA batteries so here’s a report  as of June 2012 in case you wonder the same.   Batteries in Honduras In an upscale department store in Honduras, I easily found Maxell AAA that are dated January 2016 in a 2-pack for just 29, which is US$1.50. In a same-mall electronics store batteries were 39L or $2. I forgot to check the price of AA batteries. Batteries in Guatemala In Guatemala the AA were a bit over US$3 wherever I saw them. Batteries in El Salvador San Salvador, the capitol city, has plenty of upscale stores and I am sure you can trust the batteries you buy there. But when I needed batteries I was in a small, out of the way beach town. There, the batteries were a brand I hadn’t ever seen and the AA batteries didn’t […]