“Skyfall” by Adele is a great tune to listen to while reflecting on the many memories I have made here in El Salvador. At the moment laying at the black-colored sandy beach of Playa El Tunco. We’re here for our final excursion, and everyone seems very excited to spend some time in the refreshing warm Pacific Ocean, to surf some waves (or learn to catch waves from the experts in our group–Annie Rouse, Laura Henson, and Amy Kessler), enjoy a drink or two at the beach bars, dive along the shallow sandy shores, or simply relax in the hammocks at our hostel.

IMG_0430This has been the first weekend to truly relax from the long days of work in the Bajo Lempa. After quickly buying some board shorts for $3 we were all off to the beach. Coming from cold Monterey, CA the water here makes you think you’re in paradise. No wet suits needed but swim-goggles would be advised since the water is pretty salty. On one of my many swims I encountered two tiny fish swimming close to the surface, but otherwise, without goggles I couldn’t tell what I was seeing underwater–my vision was very blurry. I tried to surf once, but many of the others from our MIIS group were on their boards non-stop. Besides suffering from board rash, among the list of minor aches and pains people complained about during our 1.5 day-long stay were sunburns, bug-bites, cuts from hitting the rocky bottom, and bruises from getting knocked off surfboards or from getting “surfed-over” by one of the many other surfers. Surfing is a dangerous sport, manly because of the strength of the waves, but also because surfers are very territorial.

One thing that bothered me about Playa el Tunco, was how touristy it was. Most of the restaurants aimed to please their international (mainly American) visitors by imitating American cuisine. I was hoping to find a Pupusa for dinner on Saturday, but ended up settling for a smoothie instead since all I could find were burgers and fries on the menu of the restaurant we picked. However, I did enjoy the yogurt with granola and fruit the next morning since I hadn’t had this in two weeks. For lunch, Arianne, Sarah and I bought sandwiches at a street vendor and yet again I found myself looking forward for some healthy sandwiches in the US. All the ingredients came out of the freezer, were tossed onto the stove and cooked in minutes (I’m sure selecting the vegetarian option did not end up being any healthier due to the way the food was prepared). Plus, the ketchup was definitely not ketchup–more like some liquid-type sauce with red food coloring. Oh well, going back to the beach and enjoying the rest of the day there made up for our disappointing lunch.

IMG_0451My first encounter with a grown Olive Ridley Sea Turtle was today–sadly the turtle was dead.

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