February 6-7, 2005

In a cruel twist of irony, we both ended up getting really sick on something we ate at Pizza Hut in San Miguel, which is quite funny since we have not been sick before or since.   At about 5am on Sunday morning, Ruthie woke up with a terrible stomach ache.  She ended up puking before we got on the bus to Perquin, and then about 8 times after that on the bus ride, in two different intervals.  The first time, she made the bus driver pull over, and puked her gutts out on the side of the road in front of the entire bus (prime photo opportunity for Pat McGee had he been there).  The second time, she puked on the bus, in a black plastic bag that the driver had given to her when she got back on the bus after the first incident.  The bag smelled like tamales and burnt clutch - actually, the bus smell like burnt clutch, but both contributed to the second round of puking and fits of fever!

After a very beautiful, but very twisty and turny bus ride (which certainly did not help Ruthie's stomach condition any), we arrived in Perquin.  The bus driver took pity on us and dropped us off directly at Casa Gigante, just below the tiny sleepy town of Perquin.  Casa Gigante is truly Gigante.  It is a huge barnlike building with numerous partitions creating the rooms.  If it had been crowded it might have been very noisy, but alas, it was just us and a few others in there, and it was very quiet. Moreover, it was very clean, had nice big and clean bathrooms, a fan, two twin beds, and the two women running it were really nice.  Plus, it was only $12 a night, which is always nice.

It is hard to believe Perquin was a war torn Guerilla capital during El Salvador's civil war not even 20 years ago.  Now, it is a sleepy town set in the side of the mountain, very peaceful and beautiful, and everyone was really warm and friendly.  We visited the former guerilla headquarters now turned museum, where they still have remnants of a US marine helicopter that had been shot down, some very interesting other relics from the war, as well as photographs and posters, and a large crater where a big bomb had fallen during the war.   Just above the museum is a beautiful mirador overlooking the town. 

After this outing, Ruthie did not feel well and went down for a two hour nap, after which she felt much better and went to meet Mike who was watching the superbowl at the fancy hotel with satellite TV just below our hotel.  There were just a few of us watching the game (the owners, the bartender, us, and Andy, a peace corp volunteer).  The hotel managed to get the Superbowl broadcast in English, which was great, and they also fed Ruthie some Consome de Pollo (chicken soup), which helped her on the road to recovery, as did a very good night's sleep! 
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