A peek into the personal journal of Mary Kay Dwyer:
Day 1: Thursday, March 21st
Arrival, 1.5 hour drive through hills, 5 tunnels.
Relaxing, taking in views, mas cerveza de suprema, soft touches (rum drinks with a topper of kettle one late night). Ate snacks of steak avocado toast, quesadillas. Walk with Orshi to find beach, hopping along large black rocks. Dinner was el tune, with mashed potatoes. Gigantic full moon rose over Tortuga cliff (tiny mouth shaped crack in side of cliff gives turtle like appearance). Met a cute soft white cat, we wooed with shrimp shells. Curled up next to us with cutest meow. Jim tries to get el gatto to sleep on our porch. She does not follow. Early to bed, sounds of waves right outside our door are a consistent roar to fall asleep too. In another room: Amberly forgets we’re two hours behind and sets a ‘5:30am’ wake up call, gets up brushes teeth, heads to yoga, walks outside to realize it’s actually 3:30.
Day 2: Friday, March 22nd
Early rise today – sun comes up around 6am (we are 2 hours behind Florida time). More relaxation; delicious breakfast quesadilla (eggs, refried beans, cheese) with the most amazing green sauce (lime, cilantro, jalapeño, crema). Drink of the day ‘paperizca’, no sugar. Then a swim down the beach with the ‘beginner waves’ about 4 foot and strong. Took a bit getting in and out without panicking. Hot black volcano sand burning the feet. Lunch was quesadilla and burger with sautéed onions. Then back to the porch for some porch drinks, virgin passion fruit smoothies topped with our own 1800 Silver Tequila (bottle gone in an hour). We lose track of time. Sun sets in 7 minutes, we desperately need cerveza for sprint to top of tortuga cliff. Edwardo accommodates and we’re off. Literally running across the river rocks and up the red dirt path to catch sunset at the top of tortuga cliff, half in the bag. Amazing view lasted about 3 minutes before fear of heights kicked in and back down we went. Checked out hermit crabs and the lot for the house on way back down. Then the papusa walk with chef eric and second guy, Jim is down for count still and doesn’t join. Best papusas yet, way better than belize. Rice flour is used instead of corn maze. Red ‘marinara’ condiment is delicious and also makes for a good mixer with more tequila. Garlic papusas tasted like if fettuccini and a Crunchwrap supreme had a baby; amazing. Walk back along highway (2 lane road) where insane 18 wheelers were charging down narrow dark road at 70 mph. Back at the mizata with 3 extra papusas, two for Jim, one for the local dog, Nipple as we named her. Then one last night cap at the beach bonfire – trying to stoke fire without a stick means throwing rocks at it (it kind of worked).
Day 3: Saturday 3/23
Woke up at 4:30am and hugged jim that he didn’t fall off the cliff the night before. I told him I would jump after him. A bit of a rough feeling from papusas and finishing bottle of vodka and 1800. Slept in til 7:45. Breakfast was another delicious quesadilla and chiquiles (spicy chicken nachos) and always w green sauce. Some laid back lounging before our horse riding session. 12:30 Pm – horseback riding for Amberly and I. We try connecting with our horses. They seem uninterested in this. Finally after what seems like minutes Amberly is up on her horse, Cow, and I’m set to get on mine. However, due to short legs I am unable to ride Rusty. So I am given the dickhead horse with short stirrups (name possibly Delante? Not sure but he’s a sassy asshole). There is no time for connection. Our guide, Senor, speaks not a word of English. We communicate ‘no rapido’ and set off, Senor walking and us on horseback. We walk through the back roads of the village, turkeys gobbling, mangy chicken bobbing. An occasionally yard dog barking. We cross a stream and my horse almost eats shit, slipping on slimy rocks. Not super confident in el dickhead. We end up coming out of the path by tortuga cliff, Senor plays photographer. We walk back past Mizata and Senor gets Rusty, who’s stirrups have been adjusted for him. Off we go to the beach where the 3 horses proceed to go poco rapido. I enjoy this. Amberly does not. We slow it down, heading to walk up a montania. Sketchy walk up to top where we have another photo shoot. No mas and head back down. I don’t look at edge of giant cliff sitting on giant sassy horse. And then we’re back on sandy ground, and mucho rapido we’re off. Amberly is screaming. Senor helps take her reins. We are then attacked by dogs. They’re trying to bite the horses legs. On a final note, I heard these horses were rodeo horses but can not confirm. That was fun. Paul and Egan are up next. Mucho rapido through barb wire and tree. Both are almost killed. Paul comes back shaking. Un disparo de Jose Quervo. They both had fun. Then some lunch. More relaxing, yada yada yada. Dj sets up and starts strong but then devolves into songs to slit your wrist by (Radiohead creep). He leaves. Dinner is served. Jim hits the tequila hard. Highlight of the trip so far is blowing out the candle on our puking unicorn cake while jugs of gasoline being thrown in the bonfire explode in the background. The brave & crazy kitchen staff are pros at outrunning the chasing fire. The fire peaks quickly, so Paul goes in search of a stick for stoking, no rocks today. In the meantime Egan and I move some logs around, causing another explosion resulting in my dress catching fire and his having a stroke. Late night (around 10:30pm) – travel Disco light is on point, lights off lounging at pool. We come to find out that Nipple is actually Booby Macdougal and her daughter is Tits Mcgee. Goodnight.
Day 4: Sunday, March 24th
Awake without hangover at a leisurely 6:30am. Have a shower and breakfast (quesadillas for life) and caffe negro (my Spanish is growing). Out of nowhere an abuela appears with tamales on her head. We ask for cuatro. She gives me a big hug out of nowhere her silver teeth gleaming in the sunlight. She is soft and doughy. The tamales hit the spot. Back to the porch for a hammock lay. Cow, Rusty and Senor come to say hi. We give Cow and Rusty some grass. They still don’t really like us. Who knew the sass horses had. Our next adventure is to the waterfalls, tamerique falls. Depart at 10am El Salvador time. Egan is nowhere to be found. We drive by the hostel he’s at down the road and out he stumbles into the sunlight, still drunk from the night before. Dance party with edwardo and Kate til 4am. On the road, about an hour journey on the highway. Stop at gas station with macho machine gun guy and strawberry cheese ice cream. Then Mango flower sticks on side of road. Back on the road and then this sketchy dirt / rock road downhill. We come to a stop upon a slightly wider section of dirt to a shack bodega and large work truck where workers are shoveling gray gravel. After the workers finish shoveling the gravel they dig an enormous boulder out of the dusty brown earth, roll it across the road and casually chuck it down the steep cliff all leaning over to see. The sound of clonking and cackling ensue. Their job is complete, the giant truck now starts it’s 10 minute uturn. Forward, backward, forward, backward, until the truck slams into the short barbwire fence, which is the only thing separating it from the steep cliff dropping off behind it. Shovels come out to break the wires or detach the truck, we’re unsure of how this helps. Finally they make their turn and are on their way up the dusty dirt road. Rocks and pebbles kicking back down the hill as we finally set off off on our hike down the steep dusty cliff. The first 15 minutes are hot and rough on the knees, which seemed pretty tough. Little did we know what was to come next. Our guide Carlos recommends no phones, bottles, nothing in your hands, basically so you don’t die since the second part of the climb down showcased a telephone wire repurposed as a guide rope down the deathly cliff. One slip and you fall hundreds of feet (well maybe not hundreds, but point is you die). Carlos waits to help everyone down the initial step and then we’re on our own, Jim leading the way, followed by me, the two people most terrified of heights in the group. We man up, keep our tears to ourselves and put one foot in front of the other. Jim is having a panic attack but somehow managed to keep moving. Another fun moment includes when anyone behind / above you slips, a dust avalanche begins. We finally make it to the stick ladder and climb down to the rock valley below. A few more steps and we’re all face to face with a hundred foot waterfall. Overall an 846 ft descent, and 932 ft ascent – according to the Jade. Quesadilla lunch. Back up the mountain. Jim and I lead the way again. On to the second waterfall where I proceed to almost kill children jumping off the 20ft cliff, and Thomas saves a kid that jumps off and then realizes he can’t swim. LJ murders life by jumping off the cliff after only one chicken out. The boys all jump off even bigger cliff and then have to scale 30 ft vertical rock soaking wet to get out. Many pale Europeans and Wisconsions surround us. One of which was wearing fluorescent white shorts that somehow had not a spect of dirt on them. I on the other hand look like I have been living on the streets of San Salvador for 5 years. We head back to the van, this sounds easy enough until we start our 80 degree vertical ascent for a half hour. Butts are on fire. Jim sprinting up the hill, so he could drink a beer and smoke a cigarette. We finally get back to dirt road, where we climb some more. Gloriously reaching the bodega where we chug some agua e el Gatorade. We pile back into van. Conversations about robots and CIA. Many naps without headrests. Back in the tunnels turn us all into nocturnal slothes. Back at Mizata, eat cheeseburgers pour vodka. More hammock. Then one final peach colored sunset, best of the trip. We head to cabanas for cards and tequila, starting with a game of strfkr rattlesnake. Then some more chilaquiles and fish tacos. Being the only people at the resort, we now take over the spotify for some Steely Dan to ease into the last evening. As I leave the florescently lit kitchen where the Spotify sits, the chef is sautéing and dancing to our new musical selection. We then head into an ‘easy’ game of bullshit, which disintegrates into Paul and I drunkenly and aggressively shouting at each other about the rules until we throw the cards and say we’re not playing anymore. Better to go look at the Milky Way and get back to being friends. And off to a final intoxicated slumber.
Day 5: Monday, March 25th.
Awake at 5:30am and one final sunrise. A breakfast tipico; scrambled eggs, refried beans, plantains, 2 giant rolls. Mid breakfast the power goes down, no more majestic covers of Katy Perry.
On the drive back to the San Salvador airport we whip back and forth on the swerving two lane road, dodging potholes back and forth. Orshi sitting middle in the back starts looking pale and el bano is requested. No el bano in sight, we pull over abruptly so she can get out. She loses her breakfast. All back in the van again we head off. Paul realizes he’s flying back on the Boeing 777 Max, we all have a laugh and oh shit. We get on our plane after a second extensive security check, me carrying thomas’ 4 foot backpack so we can use the carryon. The bag is almost my size and weighs about as much. Filled with all dirty men’s clothes, the security woman doesn’t seem to notice or care. We finally get on the plane and the pilot comes on the loudspeaker – he seems drunk, slurring worse than me our first night. We give each other concerned glancing looks and then start laughing. Time for a glass of wine! Due to our big seats we get served first.
Ahh, wine and a cup-o-noodle salt bomb ease the nerves.