Tuesday, July 26, 2011

River rafting and water park Apuzunga, El Salvador

It took almost a year to organize, but I finally made it out to Apuzunga. It was great. The main purpose of our trip was rafting down Rio El Desague, but we also were able to enjoy the resturant and the water park.
After our arrival we spent some time filling out all the liablitly paperwork. Then we were issued our helmets and PFDs. Since it is August and the rainy season, the water level is pretty high. There wasn't much white water, maybe only one Class 2 rapid, but to make it more interesting they take you through many of the Class 1 rapids backwards or spinning in circles.

Apuzunga runs a very profesional trip. They teach some techniques and within the first few minutes, they run a float test. Everyone gets used to being in the water in small rapids.
At one of our stops we attempted river crossing. This is deceptivly hard to do. Only two of our group of 11 made it. I came just short. The technique is start pulling yourself across, when the pressure of the water starts to pull you under, you take a breath and then continue the rest of the way under water. The hard part is the breath hold and not knowing how ar you have made it. I felt like the current was lettign up and I must be near the end so I tryed to get a second breath. When I did this my one hand slipped and I couldn't get it back on the rope. I only had about ten feet left to go.
River crossing

Then there were a few more rapids before reaching a sketchy bridge to hang and drop from. The bridge was just some sticks, not logs or board, on 3 cables with 2 cables a rails. because of the nature or the hang and drop it was hard to do much more than just fall. It took two attempts but one of the guys was able to do a back flip. Here is the video of failed first attempt.

Back in the boat for a bit then there was a 20 minute PDF float down the boring flat water.
Once back in the boat we quickly reached the take out where Rio Lempa. Then rode in the back of the truck local style back to Apuzunga. We took advantage of the water parks slide and diving board before grabbing some food. We ran out of time so we didn't have a chance to do their zip line course. Over all it was a great day, to bad it is so far from the city.
Pulling the rafts out of the water
Riding back Salvadorian style

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dawn Partol

I am not much of a morning person, especialy since I have been working shift work for the last three years.

However my new board demanded that I go out on dawn partol at least once before I head out of El Salvador. I joined the regular dawn patrol group, which on this day only included one other guy.

At 430 I jumped on my Sector 9 long board and headed off the meet Jake who I had meet durring the surf suffari. About 15 minutes later we had his car loaded up and headed off to the beach.

By 520 we were down at Kayu and ready to hit the water. It was a pretty big day, overhead, and really low tide. I got my ass kicked again. Every time I was almost out to the lineup, I would get smashed by the outside sets that would break all the way across the beach. My big 7-0 turned out to be a little to big to duck dive under all the white wash.

After getting pounded for an hour and not catching anything, I swapped boards with Jake. Now on his longboard I caught a little inside set and rode it into the shore. Unfortunatly I got caught up in the cross shore current and was carried a ways don the beach and had to walk the rocks much further than I would have planed.

On the way back we grabbed some breakfast and a frozen coco for our ride back.

Not a great day a surfing for me, but it was still nice to start the day out on the water.

Eating Adventures, Gourmet Burger Company, San Salvador, El Salvador

When I first arrived in El Salvador, I was tipped off to this great burger place, Gourmet Burger Company. They allow you to build your own burger. You get choice of meat, cheese, toppings and sauce. This makes for almost limitless choice. Even with so many option I have stuck to the perfect burger I ordered my first time there. One pound of ground beef, Colby-jack, avocado, bacon and hot sauce.

After I while I cut the one pound down to a half pound. Then a little later I discovered the lettuce wrap, replace your bun with a whole head of romaine lettuce. This was my got to food twice a week for almost 11 months.

Today I decided to step it up again for a little eating adventure. I wanted to challenge myself so I went for 1.5 pounds. Sadly they were out of avocado, so they doubled up on bacon. I knocked out the first half with no problem. Then I did something I have never done it Gourmet Burger before, I set my burger down. I did manage to pick it back up, but that only lasted a few bites. I had hit the wall. I split it down into a more mouth friendly two halves, then attacked it with a fork. Around the time I everyone else was finishing their 1/2 pounders I ate my last bite pf this delicious beast. I even finished my fries and salad for good measure.
If you find yourself in San Salvador I highly recommend stopping by Gourmet Burger Company.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scout Camp in El Salvador

The best weekend program I have ever experienced at a Scout Camp. The Scout Camp near the Honduras boarder in El Salvador has a great facility and run an amazing program. They organized it so we would share the camp with a similar sized local Scout troop. This provided both troops the opportunity for a cultural and scouting exchange.

The camp had a climbing wall, a C.O.P.E. course, zip lines and the human pendulum. Our scouts and leaders got to take advantage of all these activities. As a bonus the Leaders were invited to do the extreme portion of the zip lines, which the scouts were not. These turned out to be more extreme than I was ready for. On the top zip line which was very steep I failed to slow down enough and there were no safeties. I put out my feet and hit the tree still going fast. I was lucky to have only bruised the bottom of one of my feet, and managed to limp through the rest of the camp.

Getting ready to ice my foot.

When we finished the rest of the zip lines that ended back at the camp all the scouts were working on climbing on their climbing wall. This took them up to dinner. After dinner the camp had a large fire where the scouts preformed skits and sang songs.

The next morning after breakfast it was time for the C.O.P.E. course and the pendulum. The scouts and leaders split up and went through both of these activities. These were both very fun, and I was able to do both of them with my injured foot.The weekend closed with a nice ceremony.

 Giant pendulum 

Hiking around Boquerón

I thought I had already written about this, but it seems not. Back in October was my first time up to the top of the San Salvador volcano. The main point of this trip was to get some photos. One of the guys I work with had just recieved a new SLR, so I was able to convince him to hike around on our day off.

The day was pretty much perfect, a nice clear morning, despite it still being the rainy season. We started taking pictures of the city from the parking lot.

 Then we toured around the park. The park is pretty small and we got some good crater pictures, but this wasn't enough.

We talked to one of the guards and he arranged for a local to give us a tour of the whole crater rim. About a 5 mile hike. The trail wasn't too hard to follow, but it was nice having the local with us to show us the way.