The transportation strike is worse than I thought. I got the story from a few different people here but I researched it after returning from today's excursion and found an online article with a picture of the bus of a murdered bus driver that I drove right passed the crime scene of yesterday on my way here.
So, long story short and without the bloody details, bus drivers are on strike. In order to get to my destination today I asked the centro de turismo what I should do and they called a shuttle service for me. It was 15x the price of a bus but since my choices were limited I took advantage of what I could get.
While I waited for the transportation to arrive I ate a pupusa at a pupuseria. It was so good. I got the maiz filled with beans and cheese; it comes with salsa and some kind of pickled lettuce. They are 50 cents each.
Ciuatán is an archaeological site just 40 minutes away, the first and largest post-Maya, pre-Hispanic civilization in the country. At its peak there were 25,000 inhabitants. It was destroyed and burnt by rivals around 1200. The site is currently being excavated. The term 'currently' is used loosely as there is no money to fund the project.
The fruit above is called morro.
There are two ball courts; this is the larger one.
The nice thing about the bus strike is that Ciuatán was completely empty.
The main excavated pyramid is climbable, and only partially excavated.
The view from the top.
This fruit is called anona.
Until the strike ends people's only real option are pickas, bicicletas, y los pies (those are feet in Spanish, not dessert). And for me, a foreigner, I guess it is shuttles, taxis, or nada.
What a time to be traveling in Central America. Don't worry about me though.
I am not worried (I don't drive a bus).
Local political satire (no Spanish necessary).
Just a few blocks away from my hotel is el Centro Arte para la Paz. The mission of the association is to create a culture of peace through the arts, promoting creativity and imagination, and through curtural exchange.
It is located in what used to be a Dominican convent (from 1917-1980), until the civil war forced the nuns to leave. Now it is a community center and museum. Students come here for art, music, dancing, English and yoga classes, and foreigners come here to get involved in nonprofit organizations. Ironically (considering the bus strike) there is an entire exhibit about violence in Latin America and the entire world, and a public outreach project intended to educate citizens about what they can do.
All around the city this stencil is found on houses, 'in this house we want a life free of violence towards women'. I figured it was a project by the Centro Arte para la Paz, but in actuality it was a project started by a women's group in the 1990s. The group (a collaboration of 5 different women's groups) agreed that they all were against violence against women and so went door to door asking if they wanted the stencil painted on their house. In the end it ended up putting a political stamp on houses, versus exposing those who were for or against violence against women.
I walked down to el lago Suchitlán. The map was definitely not to scale, it took much longer than I imagined to arrive. But the walk was pretty and I had the road to myself.
Lago Suchitlán is the largest artificial lake in the country, and is full of rare migratory birds. Bird tours on the lake are popular (and pricey).
I returned to el centro in time to enjoy the ambiance. Locals sit near the church and talk, and stare. They do more of the former than the latter. It is quiet.
For dinner I ate pupusas at the same pupuseria. (They are so good and so cheap! My dinner cost 1.50$.) This time I got espinaca (spinach) y queso, y chipilín (some kind of legume) y queso.
Which means I ate my vegetables for the day...