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We left the the war torn hills of south eastern El Salvador to meet up with family of friends in a small town just outside of San Salvador, the capital city.  Mayte and Luis are the aunt and uncle of a former co-worker of mine back in my Henkel days.  Mayte is a professor of English at the University in the capital, and her husband Luis is a retired chemistry teacher.  They insisted that we meet them and stay the weekend in their country house in San Jose Guayabal, the town where Luis grew up.  As with any chance encounter with new friends we were unsure how well we would hit it off.  It didn’t take us long to quell any doubts when we discovered they fill their time at their country home playing pool, preparing big meals and taking long naps.

When we entered the courtyard of their home we were greeted by Mayte and Luis’ five children, Messi, Obama, Euro, Taliban, and Pecutrin all named after events that occurred on or around the days of their birth.  We were given a tour of their beautiful home, which is a continually growing.  Luis and Mayte built it themselves and are constantly making little additions.  It’s a beautiful space which includes no unnecessary amenities and relishes in the simplicity of a country home.  No TV but lots of hammocks, no washing machine but an 8 foot pool table, no hot water shower but a circulating fish tank with the sole purpose of ensuring the freshest food possible.  We had late dinners that lasted for hours and afternoon naps that lasted even longer.  Our time flew by and before we knew it we had to say our goodbyes.

Some of our drives along the coast or in the hills ofCentral Americahave taken us by some extravagant and beautiful vacation homes owned by expats.  This causes me to dream of some day being lucky enough to own a second home in some exotic local.  However I quickly remind myself of the beauty of the situation Mayte and Luis have created for themselves.  Their country home is a mere 45 minute drive from their apartment inSan Salvador, allowing them to spend nearly every weekend there.  They truly get to take advantage of the best of both worlds.  They enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city during the week and the calm of country living on the weekends. We felt extremely welcome in their home and it served as the perfect place to recharge.
Our first lunch was a duck stew, awesome
Enough hammocks to sleep an army, they surrounded their terrace.
4 of their 5 children, all German shepards
Their outside garden was full of tropical fruit.  The heat made drying our laundry a sinch
Luis gave us a tour of the town he grew up in
A woman washing the dishes from her little food stand in town
This was his childhood home
A group shot before we left.
On our way out the four of us stopped at the small town of Suchitoto
A cool little town where we would check on a few things before a big picnic lunch
On the scale you can see the El Salvadorian's version of guns or butter, tortillas or bombs.
Another balancing act.  Practice, practice
A little pupuseria, what they call their little cafes.
A shot of us with Mayte at an overlook on the edge of town.
Luis and Mayte
We stopped by a small museum in town.
This piece was made completely out of denim
As we drove by we spotted Paula and Jeremy's van and invited them to lunch
More than enough for everyone
Making use of our tortilla napkin we got in Guatemala
Pesto, grilled chicken and tortillas.  The pesto was really frickin' good.
In this house we wish for a life free of violence against women.