Santa Ana is the second largest town in El Salvador. It has a very nice little hostel that we kept coming back to called Casa Verde. It also has a quaint little old town, including an abandoned art school. We did try to inquire why the school was abandoned but people stayed so consistently vague, that we still don’t know the answer. To the best of our understanding the reason it was abandoned is the weather, which begs the question why the rest of the city around it seems to have survived quite well.
The building itself is great to visit however, it has an eery but positive vibe to it, with some art here and there hinting at its old purpose. The rest of the older buildings unfortunately ended up randomly being closed every time we tried to visit. Before 1pm the theater would only open at 2pm. At 2pm we learned that the theater was closed that day and would reopen the next day. The next day, the theater should’ve technically been open, but since there was an event going on we couldn’t go in.. and that’s when we decided that maybe the theater just wasn’t meant to be visited by us.
We did however make it to the Tazumal ruins while they were open. The ruins themselves are quite depressing, as they’ve been covered in concrete, then had it partially removed. The entire concept confused us quite a bit. Tazumal’s saving grace is the little on site museum with artifacts found on the location including local legends surrounding them. They had some lovely artifacts from the crying warrior to some ballsy apes dancing on a cup.
Since we spent so much time there, we ended up getting to know the town and the people in that area. This led to one of the more unique experiences we had on this trip. One of the players of the Santa Ana basketball team was living in our hostel and invited us to a game. Us being four girls that had hardly even heard of basketball. We did know that the ball has to go through the hoop and that was about it. Therefore, we were able to root for our team completely unburdened by rules or objectivity. Any foul supposedly committed by ‘our’ team was clearly a gross error in judgment while all fouls committed by the opponents were clearly a good call by the referees. But the fun didn’t end there, when they called the second half time (and we almost left because we thought the game was over), the kids took over the ball field, meaning any boy or girl between the age of 2 and 18 in the audience ran down with their own ball and starting shooting wildly at the hoops. The official basketball players remained on the field to practice as well, shooting their own hoops and occasionally fighting with a kid for the ball . It was a merry get together with about twenty balls flying in all directions. The afternoon ended perfectly with our acquaintance winning the match by a significant margin and being named player of the match. Overall a great experience and I’d definitely be willing to repeat. Maybe with someone that can explain why the referees keep interrupting the game.
Another, rather improvised activity was our pupusa cooking class. We’ve seriously fallen in love with El Salvador’s culinary pride, the pupusa. So much so, that I’ve been telling people I’ll open a pupusa food-truck once I’m back home. To be able to open a pupusa food truck, I need to be able to make them too. So we asked the lady of one of the local restaurants if she’d be willing to give us a class, to which she happily agreed. From this class we mostly learned that not everything that looks easy, actually is easy and that getting the pupusas to be round, thin and have an evenly distributed filling is basically impossible. But we can’t have been too bad, because we did end up filling a couple of orders for local customers. I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have gotten our kinda square, not very well formed pupusas. I hope they still tasted good! If not, don’t blame us, we didn’t make the filling! 😉