Month 4 Top Ten

I can´t believe month 4 is over!! But I think I´m going to feel this way all the time as this year is going by so very fast. Here are my highlights from the month, based in El Salvador and Honduras…

10. Learning to make Tortillas and Baleadas, Honduras

I was privileged to be invited into a home of a family where they were making Baleadas for dinner and wanted to show me how to do it. For some reason this felt pretty nerve wracking to me, maybe because many of the women here are amazing at cooking and I´m reluctant to reveal my lack of skills from my London lifestyle of take aways, pizzas and quick one pot meals.The dough was already made, and I watched her pound a few handfuls into perfect circles ready for the tortillas and then it was my go.I rolled it out, trying to copy her skills and then there is the part where you slap it between 2 hands.


This looks fairly straightforward, but I´d like to confirm that it isn´t! I slapped as hard as I could but the darn thing didn´t get bigger. I felt like such a weak westerner – the people making these must have such strength to get them to their perfect consistency. But the family were incredibly friendly, and we heated the little, fat tortilla anyway and used it for the main meal.


The finished baleada is a tortilla with mantequilla (they call it this in Honduras, but it´s basically sour cream), beans (of course), cheese and meat. It´s delicious, with the right tortilla!



9. Drinking fresh coconut milk in Honduras and seeing pineapples grow

I´ve always wanted a garden of my own, where I can grow lots of nice, fresh things to eat and look at and In Honduras, we stayed with a family who had this dream garden. There were banana trees, papaya trees, sugar cane, palm trees with coconuts, green mango trees  and my favourite of all: Pineapples.


I have drunk fresh coconut milk in many other places, but this was the best because it was from this garden, and I watched it be cut down and hacked with a machete just for me. The inside was at perfect coconut consistency too (for me, where the white bit is hard). The moment was perfect all apart from next time I think I´m going to take some rum!!


Simple things are sometimes the nicest when travelling.

8. Cascada Pulpansak, Honduras

I haven´t seen that many waterfalls in my life, but this was the biggest one so far and it was an incredible sight. I always used to say I wanted to get married under a big waterfall and now I know why people looked at me like I was a crazy person. I still think if you could get behind it, it would be a cool location but it´s pretty noisy. Anyway, I digress. We arrived too late to walk down to swim at the bottom, but just stood watching it for about half an hour feeling stunned by it´s beauty. Anyway, my words don´t do it justice, here is a photo…


8. Kayaking on Lago Coatepeque

The lake is breathtaking and only about 30 minutes out of the city. Towering over it is Volcan Santa Ana, (which I talked about climbing before remembering Nicuragua…). We were the only people there, so it was completely still and peaceful. Words fail me again really, so here is a photo…


5. Jardin Botanico, San Salvador

This feels like a little gem in the middle of the big smoggy city full of malls and massive fast food stores. It´s not that big, but it´s packed with colour, crazy creatures and the tallest bamboo I have ever seen.


We fed the fish (buy the food at the entrance), hunted for Iguanas and watched two turtles making love!


Afterwards I ate a chocolate banana and then just felt naughty.

7. Volcan Boqueron

Not much hiking involved in this volcano journey, so I could enjoy it fully without risk of volcano death. It´s actually just a beautiful ride out of the Santa Tecla on a bus, which passes amazing view points of the city. You can see the smog floating around it, but it is quite stunning. In the small village there are wonderful restaurants, which are filled with colourful flowers and have incredible views and wildlife.


The part of the volcano we visited involves just a short walk around the top to see the crater. On the way up, there are women selling fresh raspberries and strawberries. You can see right down into the crater of this volcano, which erupted not so long ago. Now there are words in the middle of the crater written in white stone by the last people to brave walking down there. We didn´t do that yet, but maybe I will brave another volcano experience one day.


The walk is finished by a cute little display, which gives more information about life on the volcano before the eruption and details of the eruption itself and the damage caused. A beautiful day out.

6. Pupusa challenge

Ahhhhh, Pupusas… my new favourite food. I think they must be really bad for you but I can´t stop eating them. The book said that 4pm was ´Pupusa Hour´and it´s bizzarely true. No one can tell me why 4pm is a good time to eat this circular item bubbling with declicious fillings, but it is true. At 3.30pm, it´s quite difficult to find one.  Recently, I started my very own Pupusa Challenge, which is to eat a Pupusa from every Pupuseria here in Santa Tecla and find out which is the best. This is an impossible challenge because there are so many and I would be the size of a house, but I am embracing it full heartedly. More about this to come soon. For now, here is a picture of some Pupusas. I know, they look horrible, but they are not, they´re so so good!

3. Nights out in Santa Tecla and all the live stuff

I´ve said a lot about this already in this blog post:

But I´ll say it again, it´s a really fun place here and is definitely a highlight of my month. I need extra stamina to keep up with the locals drinking habits and seemingly to me lack of necessity to sleep, but since writing that blog many more crazy fun things have been seen on nights wandering around here and I´m so glad I visited.


2. Lake Jojoa, Honduras


It was a real mission to get to this place from where we were staying before, and I so glad we did it as it was worth every hour sat on a chicken bus listening to people trying to sell us platano or nuts. We stayed in the D&D Brewery, which seems to be the main traveler place there, and it´s a lovely peaceful haven after the journey, not to mention the artisanal beers, which made me very happy.

The best thing we did was to take an early morning (5.30am) boat ride on the lake. We were the only people on the lake, so it was immensely peaceful and the lake boasts a count of 450 different bird species, so there was loads to see.


I think my favourite was the toucan hiding in a tree and the mot mot. A truly incredible way to start the day.


1. Copan Ruins, Honduras


I have to put this at number one because Mayan ruins are awesome. How did they flatten the land so perfectly? How did they build such incredible, massive buildings without any machinery? How did they make the bricks so perfectly even? Where did all their ideas and meanings come from? Where did they go? So many questions. All of which I can´t answer as Copan is very expensive and we couldn´t afford a guide, however, it´s still a totally brilliant place to visit!



The descriptions in Copan admit to much more violent stuff than Monte Alban in Mexico. There, they were adamant that no human sacrifices occurred (despite drawings that suggest the opposite). In Copan, they openly say that many people, animals and children were sacrificed for various Gods. The people there also had a game, which was a bit like football, but if you lost then you had your head chopped off. Nice.


We also visited the smaller, slightly scruffier site called Las Sepulturas. There we had an unofficial guide, who followed us around telling us interesting things about the people who had lived there. In some ways, I found this even more interesting than the main site because it was about the lives of normal people.


Each person had a house based on the job that they did, including things like Doctor (who lived by the hospital of course – where the pregnant women were kept in a room next to the people who were so sick they were dying – clever :-/ ), the Architect (who had slightly fancier bits on his wall), The Scribe (who had lots of tables to write on) etc. The marriages were polygamous and the size of marital bed depended on the status in the city. There would always be a bed for the husband and wives, and then one or two for the children.

Dead family members were buried under the bed (literally) and if it was a dead child, the grave was found just above the bed of the parents – a bit like a bedside shelf!! They can tell the age of the child by the size of the grave, and most houses had at least one. This is a bed with 2 graves underneath and a child´s grave above.


Wow. Anyway, it´s fascinating stuff.




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