October in Playa El Cuco
This is one of my favorite months in El Salvador. The land is lush and green after months of rain… we wake to overcast mornings and glassy surf. The sun is softened by the clouds and the heat is calmed by the midday winds that lull you to sleep at siesta time. We have some of our biggest swells in October.
MITUR decided to host a latin american pro competition. Surfers from around the world flew in to take part in the activities. The winds stayed off it, and the ALAS Pro Surf event was blessed with overhead to double overhead swells almost everyday, all day. It was fun to take in the energy of the event, watching the locals take pride in their beach, enjoying some action on a normally sleepy coast. There were far too many Redbulls drank, a little too much Troica, some dancing in the sand and much needed sleep in hammocks.
The event was timed to overlap with our yearly festival, the day of the fisherman…
Day of the Fisherman
The celebration is in honor of the patron saint of the fisherman, San Rafael. The day begins with atol (a warm drink made out of white beans) as preparation for the drunkin’ affairs to come.
You have to see it to believe it, but some of the manliest men in town put on mini skirts and heels and dance in the streets… kids wear costumes, large puppets take over the land, and Cumbia blasts out of stereos and onto the streets as masks take the shame away from even the shyest and the comes alive in all its glory.
The events continue with catching the greased pig, climbing the greased pole, bike races and drunk man races…(not a typo, we get the town drunks together and have them race:)… there are beauty queens and floats with foil covered dolphins, girls throwing out candy and dancing in the center square…. Bragging rights for the following year are won by the winner of the boat races. One year Chepe made me drive to San Miguel just to get him premium gas for his motor… It worked and we won!
For the past 8 years we have handed out hundreds of chicken sandwiches to all the kids on October 24th. This year the sandwiches were preceded by a lecture about going to college and taking care of our environment.
There is something to be said for living in a little town where once a year you have permission to put a mask on and act crazy.
And they say they don’t celebrate Halloween?