When I was in Yoloaiquin, El Salvador I had a daily routine of going down the mountain in the morning to town. I’d use the “ciber”, pronounced “see-bear”, or internet café.
There were only two to chose from. One only had three computers, had no wireless, and was constantly full with little kids playing games. The other had five computers, wireless (so I could use my own computer), and cost only $0.10 more per hour. Deal.
The first couple times I went everything was normal. The speed was good and the environment was quiet. Perfect for me to get things done.
Three days before I left Yoloaiquin I was sitting in the internet cafe that morning craving a snack of some kind. Luckily the family operating the internet café had a store right next door that sold snacks, pastries, clothes, cleaning products, etc. I considered what to buy. I wanted to try some local pastries, but they’d taste best with coffee.
They had a hard time understanding my Spanish. I explained that I wanted a pastry, but I was buying a bag of nachos instead because I’d need coffee with a pastry. They told me not to worry. The mom pulled out a sachet of Nescafe and told me to pick out a pastry. She’d heat up some water and bring me the cup of coffee next door. Nice!
I decided on a pastry. I think it cost $0.20. She was going to charge me $0.20 for the pastry and a cup of coffee together. While awesome, I knew the going rate for a cup of coffee here in El Salvador is $0.25, so I added that on and paid $0.45.
This continued the rest of the mornings I had in El Salvador. I tried several different kinds of pastries, using each morning as an opportunity to experiment.
For lunch I would go to the only restaurant in town. For $1 you could fill your plate with whatever she cooked that day, plus a tortilla and a drink/coffee.
For my last day, I packed up my things as usual to head to lunch, but the girl/daughter working at the internet café stopped me. She asked me where I was going to go eat. I told her the restaurant in town. She told me she would bring me some food if that was ok. Yes, of course!
So she brought this plate of chicharron, beans, fried plantains, tortillas, jalapeños, and cream. They didn’t know that I’m lactose intolerant, but luckily the cream was kept off to the side. How nice of them to prepare all this for me! I was extremely grateful!
She knew it was my last day as I had told her the day before. I guess they wanted to extend a token of gratitude for being, probably, the client of the year. I spent several hours per day in there working on articles for the website, planning for Nicaragua/Costa Rica, and researching for the projects I was helping Comencemos with.
I didn’t talk much to the family in the lead up to this awesomely nice gesture. Yet their gesture speaks volumes about the Salvadoran people and their wonderful, genuine hospitality and warmth. What a kind gesture and unexpected way to close things out in El Salvador!
Gracias El Salvador; Voy a extrañarte! / Thanks El Salvador; I’m going to miss you!