Around 1 p.m. on a recent Thursday afternoon. A glance at my neighborhood outside my front door in Cuidad Merliot, El Salvador. There are little trucks that drive around the city every single day, selling potatoes, tomatoes, oranges…they have big speakers rigged on top of the cars and someone uses a microphone to broadcast their special for the day. In this case: “La papa, la papa, la papa, la papa…que rico la papa.”
You can see this all over the country, even in small pueblos. It makes me laugh, it makes me happy and sometimes it annoys me. I know many people living in El Salvador feel the same way…
I’ve been living in the city of Merliot now for about 2 weeks. Merliot is in the departamento of La Libertad. For example, as you are driving through parts of California you see city after city. Well, Merliot is another city neighboring San Salvador. However it is in a different state, or departamento.
I have found a nice haven in the park Café Talón in Santa Tecla, another city next to Merliot. It is about a 10-minute drive from our house. In the evenings I see women walking home from work in their business suits, young boys skate-boarding, people running and walking, school children laughing in groups, and young couples making out in the shade under the trees.
Some people come for serious exercise and some, just to stroll, drink some atol de elote and relax. I do a little of both.
Atol de elote is a very popular drink here. It is a hot drink made with corn, sugar, cinnamon, water and a few more ingredients. Even though it is usually hot here, people drink it year-round. Most evenings it cools down significantly from the high temperature during the day and there is often a nice breeze. So an evening in the park is a good time to drink it.
You will also see in the video elote loco, another typical street food. The corn on the cob is covered with mayo, mustard, ketchup (salsa rojo), a type of Worcestershire sauce (salsa negro) and queso, or cheese. I should mention that the ketchup here in El Salvador tastes sweeter than the ketchup in the U.S. It’s better.
This is a little taste of something I look forward to a few nights of week here…