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Lietuviskas aprasymas zemiau

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Day 26: Cabbages in the Sky

March 5, 2006

This morning we have a very exciting thing to do: hike to the peak of El Pital, the highest peak of El Salvador (2730m/ 8957 feet)! OK, must be honest: the summit is so well accessible by car that all you have to hike is the remaining mile or so (assuming you are driving 4WD, otherwise be ready for a longer hike - the road is narrow and very bad, and keeps deteriorating with every meter). Strangely enough, the summit is private property - USD 2 per person to get in. Another thing that looked quite bizarre was the vast cabbage fields all over the slopes of El Pital. The higher up, the more cabbages… One could hardly think of a more inconvenient location for agricultural activities :)

Although in La Palma it was a lovely sunny morning (El Pital is just several miles from La Palma), the higher we climbed, the worse the visibility became. By the time we reached the summit, we could not see much more than a thick layer of clouds all around us. To be completely honest, since there were no signs or indicators of any kind along the road, we could not even guarantee that the point we reached was the highest peak :) However, the trail ended, and all we could do was assume that the end of the road represented the summit :))

Not too impressed with the view (more exactly, the absence of it) from the highest peak of El Salvador we decided to look for Piedra Rajada, another "point of interest" just half hour walk from the summit. Piedra Rajada should be an impressive cloven rock accessed by an old nerve-wracking log bridge over an abyss. Before we even got halfway to the rock, the real fun finally began! :) All of the sudden, we noticed a strange half-naked creature coming out of the woods: hirsute, no shirt, wrinkled pants at half-mast, a cell phone in one hand, a walky-talky in the other, another three behind the belt, and a huge-ass gun across the shoulder… In addition to the not very reassuring appearance, the creature came up close to us and asked an even less comforting question: "Have you seen any more people around here?" We silently started saying our last prayers as we replied: "Oh yes! There is a big group of hikers following us!" … (Who could deny that the "always tell the truth" rule - which in this case would mean answering "No, not a single soul, and actually we are kind of lost here" - may sometimes have justifiable exceptions?.. :)) The creature kept thinking for a minute or two (felt like 2 hours to us!). At times he seemed to have completely forgotten about us… Finally, to eliminate the awkward silence, we decided to remind about ourselves by resuming the conversation: "Would you happen to know where is the trail to Piedra Rajada?". "There", said the creature and pointed to an obscure direction, then slowly turned around and walked back into the woods, right towards Piedra Rajada :) Needless to say that we quickly decided the cloven rock was in fact not that very interesting and marched away to the opposite direction :)) Yet, the question remained: who the heck was that guy?? A guerrilla? A hunter? A robber? Just another lost tourist? Or maybe a cabbage guard who got lost among the endless cabbage fields?… It's a pity we didn't ask him :)

Overwhelmed by the morning adventure, we manage to forget that today is Sunday and head straight toward the El Salvador - Honduras border. The customs territory looks suspiciously quiet… Not a single border guide comes running towards our car, which is completely odd! We finally manage to get a hold of an immigration officer in El Salvador who advises that first we went and checked with Honduras, if they can let us in on Sunday. Leaving El Salvador would be no problem, however, if we got denied entrance to Honduras because their bank is closed (see Formalities and Practicalities below for more info), we would be stuck in the customs area until Monday :)

On the Honduras side there seems to be no people at all… At last we get noticed by a young, good-looking fellow who introduces himself as a customs officer and offers us assistance with whatever we might need. USD50 is the price. This is where the weird part starts… We tell him that we think this price is way too high. He answers that this is exactly the same fee people pay every day, and invites us into the immigration office so he could prove it to us. To our greatest surprise, this guy seems to have the keys from every lock in the building: all the offices, file cabinets, drawers, etc… In addition to being shown the proof - a big book full of receipt copies, we get a private tour of "Aduanas de Honduras" :)

When the car importation docs are finally all set, our new friend insists on going back to El Salvador with us so he could help us finalize the emigration stuff. His behavior in the Salvadorian customs office is no less impressive: he can open all doors, use other people's file cabinets and desks, make photocopies, joke with everybody, etc, etc… Some universal trans-country customs official! :)

During the entire process, which took no less than two hours, Martin (that's his name) kept us entertained by continuously proposing to Dovi and offering to find a pretty Honduran bride to Zee :) At last we managed to get away by promising to post his e-mail address on our web site and this way help him find a Lithuanian bride (no joking!! :)) A promise is a promise, therefore: Dear Lithuanian girls! A friendly, helpful, very good-looking 26-year old fellow from Honduras is looking for a bride of Lithuanian origin. Will go to live to Lithuania or wherever else you want to take him. It would be nice if you could speak at least some Spanish because Martin does not speak any other language :) Please write to Martin Pena Gutierrez, pegumart@gmail.com

Late in the afternoon we were at last in Honduras (thank you for finally letting us go, Martin!), and the first stop was Gracias a Dios (this is the name of the town, not our attitude; yet, coincidentally, it also represents the latter :)). It was getting dark, and the small sleepy town looked like just the right place for a good night sleep.

El Salvador - Honduras Border Formalities and Practicalities: Most importantly, avoid crossing borders on weekends, especially when traveling with your own vehicle. The immigration offices are usually open 7 days a week, so if you are going by bus or crossing on foot, you should not experience any problems either day. However, if you want to bring your vehicle into another country, you will also need to go through customs (aduanas), and all the associated payments will have to be made to the bank, which is closed on Sundays. It is very likely that the same rule applies to all the borders, not just El Salvador-Honduras.

Expenses: USD 3 per person for Hunduras tourist card and USD 50 for the car (This might be the "weekend special" though, regular fee may be lower).

Possibilities: Be prepared to leave the customs engaged or maybe even married :)

Cick on the pictures to enlarge

Cabbages in the sky

cabbages at 2500 meters

Kopustai danguje

On the way to El Pital, while the clouds were still above us.

wiew from el pital

Pakeliui i virsune - kol debesys dar virs musu, ir sis tas matosi.

Daily rice and beans, and... how about some cabbages for a change? :)

cabbages close-up

Is situ turetu gautis nebloga kopustiene :)

At last, the National Park lands started being useful!

more cabbages

Zalia, zalia, kur dairais.... kopustiene vakarais...

Hope it's worth it. One could hardly think of a more inconvenient location for harvesting.

harvesting national treasure

Sunku butu ir sugalvoti nepatogesne vietove derliaus nuemimui. Tikekimes, kopustai to verti.

Nuvesk pelyte virs paveiksliuko, spustelk jos kaire ausele, ir paveiksliukas padides

26-oji diena: Kopustai danguje

2006 m. kovo 5

Siandien planuojam lipti I auksciausia El Salvadoro kalna - El Pital (2730 m). Teatleidzia mums TJ'us, kuris, be jokios abejones, sportinio intereso vardan, lipima I virsune butu iveikes pesciomis ir mus dabar negailestingai pasmerks… Mes pasinaudojom galimybe didziaja dali kelio nuvaziuoti masina :) Keliukas gana prastas - 4 varomi ratai butinai reikalingi - bet imanoma privaziuoti beveik iki pat virsunes. Paskutine nepravaziuojama 20 minuciu atkarpa iveikiame pestute. Idomu pasirode tai, kad pati kalno virsune - privati nuosavybe, "bilietas" praeiti - $2. Hmmm… Taip pat idomu ir tai, kad visos pakeles (gana status slaitai) link virsunes buvo apsodintos kopustais - kur pazvelgsi, visur kopustu laukai :) Paciam auksciausiam kalno taske, deja, nepamatom beveik nieko. Kadangi isiropstem I auksti gerokai virs debesu, viskas aplink mus - paskende tirstam ruke. Linksmoji dalis prasideda beieskant "Piedra Rajada" (Perskeltas akmuo), I kuri veda siauras medinis tiltelis per praraja (taip pasiskaitem knygoj). Vos prasidejusias tilto paieskas nutraukia "kaimo durnius" (veliau ji taip ivardinom). O buvo taip: mums bebandant per ruka/ debesis iziureti krypti link Piedra Rajada, staiga is misko islenda labai itartinos isvaizdos butybe: ilgais, susivelusiais plaukais, kelnes nusmukusios beveik iki keliu, apsikarstes racijomis, per peti persimetes didziuli sautuva… Pasirode siek tiek panasus I partizana, tik labai apskretes ir suvarges :) Itariai apsizvalges aplinkui, musu klausia - "ar nematete cia daugiau zmoniu?". Teisybe, kad mes cia vieni, o kelis kopustu surinkejus matem gal uz poros kilometru zemyn, nutylim :) Atsakom jam "O taip! Ateina visas didziulis burys turistautoju, jie jau visai netoli!" :) Zmogysta kazko delsia, galvoja.... Mes nutraukiame nejaukia tyla, uzklausdami jo "kur kelias I Piedra Rajada?". Butybe pamoja ranka gilyn I miska, ir, atsisveikines, pats pasuka ta kryptimi... Turbut nereikia nei sakyti, kad mes pasukome I priesinga puse :) Kas is tikruju buvo musu sutiktoji zmogysta - partizanas, plesikas, kaimo durnius, o gal kopustu sargas - taip ir liko paslaptimi :)

Viskas, su El Salvadoru baigta! Nuo kalno nusileidziame be nuotykiu, ir uz poros valandu - uzmirse, kad siandien sekmadienis!! - kertame Honduro siena. Kad siandien sekmadienis, prisimename tik ivaziave I pasienio teritorija: visos pasienio institucijos uzdarytos, smirineja vos vienas kitas apsnudes pasienietis… Teoriskai, turistams sienos kirsti siandien negalima - iseigine diena, bet gal mums ir vel tiesiog pasiseka - prie musu prieina jaunas simpatiskas vaikinukas, ir pasisiulo sutvarkyti visus masinos ivezimo I Hondura formalumus uz $50. Pareiskiame, kad labai brangu. Tada jis parodo kitu zmoniu ivaziavimo dokumentu kopijas - visi susimokeje po tiek pat, nepriklausomai nuo dienos. Manome, kad tokia kaina yra plesikavimas, bet netiketi kaip ir nebeturime pagrindo - kopiju susnis ant pasieniecio stalo byloja, kad ivaziavimas I Hondura atsieis nepigiai.

Betvarkant Nissano dokumentus, musu pagalbininkas pastebimai isdraseja, daug klausineja apie Lietuva ir galimybes vesti lietuvaite :) Pokalbis, kurio metu pasienio pareigunas bent 20 kartu pasipersa Dovilei, bei pasiulo surasti honduriete nuotaka Zilvinui, tesiasi gal pora valandu :) Galiausiai, nebeapsikente, prizadam kaip galima greiciau surasti jam lietuvaite nuotaka.
Mielosios merginos! - 26 metu simpatiskas hondurietis iesko gyvenimo drauges, pageidautu gyventi Lietuvoje. Vienintelis reikalavimas - sirdies dama privalo kalbeti ispaniskai, nes jaunikis jokia kita kalba nekalba. Turbut sunkoka patiketi, bet nejuokaujam nei kiek! Vyrukas prase paviesinti jo e-maila, taigi: Martin Pena Gutierrez, pegumart@gmail.com Lietuvaites, rasykite! :)

Uzsitesusiu Martino pirslybu deka pasienyje praleidziam smarkiai per daug laiko, ir pirmaji miestely Hondure - Gracias a Dios (Aciu Dievui - toks miestelio pavadinimas) privaziuojam jau temstant.

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