El Salvador – Random Fotos

Things have been hectic at casa López. The niños are back to school and both have music lessons twice a week. Carlos, besides his full time work, is also back to school in the evenings. As for me, you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging as much – and believe me, it isn’t because I don’t want to. I have been so busy with various freelance projects that I haven’t had time. I just want you all to know that even though I haven’t responded in comments or gotten to visit all your Spanish Friday posts yet – that I love that you continue to come here and read and talk to me. Your support and friendship means more than I can say.

Okay, before this gets more mushy than necessary, I will share some random photos from El Salvador to make up for the drastic decrease in posts. Listos? … Here we go.

This is the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. It looks kind of like a really nice residential building. Where is the American flag? How would I find this place in an emergency?

I saw these weird trees at Metrocentro in the plaza outside Mister Donut. Anyone know what they are?

The trees have these long strands that hang down in bunches and they drop purple-ish berries of some sort. I asked the teenage son of Carlos’ friend what they are, thinking that as a native he would know. “I don’t know,” he said in Spanish, “but they stain your shoes.” … And so, until someone tells me otherwise, those are Manchazapatos trees.

This is probably the only Mexican restaurant I saw in El Salvador. I never did get to eat at this place, but the sign made me smile.

My younger son stopped short on a pasarela and pointed. “Take a picture! Look! That’s our name!” It’s no use explaining that “López” is the “Smith” of Latin America, so I took a photo. Then Carlos started with the lies. “That crane belongs to me. That’s my construction company,” he said, completely straight-faced.
“Nuh-uh, Daddy! Tell the truth!” our son said, with a hand on his hip.
“It’s true!” Carlos said, pretending to be indignant. “My company built this whole mall!”

Carlos always makes things like that up, so it’s no wonder the kids have turned into good liars too. A few weeks ago my younger son said a kid at school asked him if he was related to George Lopez.
“What did you say?” I asked.
He smirked. “I said, ‘yeah, he’s my uncle. Uncle George.'”

SIGH. Anyway… moving on.

Ruuuuuuuuuun!!! … There’s a pasarela right there, but these young people decided to risk their lives instead. This photo makes a good writing prompt though. There’s a story here, (feel free to make one up in comments!) … Also, not to make light of something serious, but the trio kind of remind me of that immigration sign along highways near the border here in the U.S.

Want more photos of Salvadorans living dangerously? Sure.

This guy is riding his bicycle while holding onto a bus. We followed behind for quite awhile and at one point the bus went so fast that the bicycle wheels started to wobble and the guy looked like he almost lost control for a second. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when that happened. We had already seen one dead body along the side of the road, (the police were covering it up), and I really didn’t want to watch someone die to top things off.

While riding in the backseat of Carlos’s friend’s car one day, we pulled up behind these guys in the back of a truck. I wanted to take a photo but one of the guys was staring right at me. I voiced my frustration out loud and Carlos’s friend said, “Take his photo! He doesn’t care, he likes it!” … he took my camera and snapped the photo, and it looks like the guy even smiled for us. Maybe he did like it.

Lastly, up close and personal with El Salvador’s “chuchos aguacateros” – (street dogs.)

Each evening in El Salvador, I would hook my camera up to the computer and upload the photos from the day, just in case my camera got stolen. (That way I’d lose the camera, but not the photos.) Well, when that dog nose photo popped up on the screen, the boys and I laughed until we cried and until our sides hurt. Carlos was confused as to what was so funny, which made it even worse. I never thought this accidental canine close-up would be full of such happy memories.

Ya me voy!

I’m currently traveling to El Salvador with limited internet access. If you leave a comment that goes into moderation, please be patient. I’ll approve it when I get a chance.

For those of you still participating in Spanish Friday on the dates of July 29th and August 5th, leave your links in the comments of this post so you can visit each other.


Mi amiga, Margaret over at Cachando Chile has invited me to play a game.

In this game, I am to simply share a post on my blog in each of these seven categories. (I totally cheated and chose more than one in each category though.) Click around as you wish!

#1. Most Beautiful Post

Fuerza Mineros – A positive message after the rescue of the Chilean miners.
Days Like These – An ordinary day can be the most beautiful day of all.
Te Encontraré – How Carlos and I met, in 5 parts.

#2. Most Popular Post

According to stats, that honor goes to:

Papitas and Escrituras y Diferencias. (Both were featured on the WordPress.com dashboard as “Freshly Pressed”.)

#3. Most Controversial Post

Apparently I like a little controversy because I found quite a few and felt they were all equally controversial in their own way, so you choose:

Is Gringo offensive?
Hablar o No Hablar?
Mexicans vs. Salvadorans
Rick Sanchez on Anglicizing

#4. Most Helpful Post

A step-by-step guide to making a typical Salvadoran breakfast: How to Win a Salvadoreño’s Corazón or … an easy, natural way to repel moscas: Plastic bag of water: Latin American superstition or science?

#5. A Post Whose Success Surprised Me

When I blogged about my favorite telenovela, Herederos del Monte, (Los Herederos del Monte – gossip conmigo!), I had no idea how popular it would be. (It still gets comments!)

…Likewise my own real life telenovela became a phenomenon all its own – (the Clementino saga) – You guys like drama!

#6. A Post that Didn’t Get the Attention I Felt It Deserved

My Most Embarrassing Spanish-Speaking Moment is worth reading, (go ahead! Laugh at my expense!)… and this post about how I Love Lucy shaped my life, (en serio!)

#7. Post I’m Most Proud Of

I’m choosing this post (below) because I almost didn’t hit the “publish” button on it. The stigma of labeling myself a “gringa gordita” married to a Latino cut so deep that I almost let it hold me down. In the end, I did find the courage to hit “publish” … And I’m proud of myself that I did.

Latinos & Gringas Gorditas.


According to the game rules, I’m supposed to tag 7 other people to play. So I’m tagging:

1. (Tara played!)
2. Tú
3. Usted
4. Vos
5. Mi amiga
6. Mi amigo
7. O sea, anyone who wants to play

(If you choose play, leave your link in comments and I’ll add you here!)

Blogger vs. Blogger – Juan of Words vs. Latinaish

All siblings end up fighting eventually – even hermanos del alma. Today mi hermano Juan and I come to blows in the first Blogger vs. Blogger challenge.

Okay, there’s no real fight, but here’s the deal. Juan challenged me to take photos in different categories he chose. Today we’re both posting those photos and you, mi gente, will choose the winner in this friendly game. Check out my photos, leave a comment, and be sure to go check out and comment on Juan’s post, too.


Silly Photo With Your Family

Honestly, we took sillier ones, but I like this one best. I set the timer on my camera and took this at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. in the modern art wing.

Favorite Local Dish in your Area

This was difficult. I didn’t get around to visiting my favorite pupusa place, La Frontera in Gaithersburg, Maryland but here is a different favorite dish at a local place that I would rank in my top 10.

This is “Casuela Mexicana” – Enough shrimp, steak, chicken and chorizo for four people, served with rice, beans, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream and tortillas. Cost is $31.00 at Viva Mexico in Inwood, W.Virginia – 10 minutes from the Virginia border and 30 minutes from the Maryland border.

Favorite Outdoor spot for Brainstorming

The hammock in the backyard, (or “gringo tipper” as my parents call it since they fell out of it a few times.) We’ve gone through a few. One disintegrated, the other broke when the whole family piled into it. We’ll have to buy another one when we go to El Salvador later this month because I love going there to think, relax, nap, or get away from the yelling when Carlos and Suegra are arguing.

Favorite Nook of your House

This category was also difficult because my house is smaller than some apartments. It’s all one floor, no basement, no upstairs, not even an attic or garage. The house itself qualifies as a “nook”! The one spot I have is my “office” which is a corner of our bedroom I carved out for myself. Everyone respects this spot – no one touches it and even neat-freak Carlos doesn’t complain about the creative messes on my desk. It’s the only place that is totally mine.

Favorite Family Spot

We have a few places we like to go, but I think everyone’s favorite is the National Mall. We go to the museums a lot, even though we’ve seen them a million times, and sometimes we just walk around.

Best Kept Secret in your Area

Can you even tell what this is? It’s a pedestrian tunnel connecting the East and West wings of the National Gallery of Art museums. There’s a 200 foot long moving walkway and 41,000 LEDs. The tunnel is actually an art installation by Leo Villareal called “Multiverse.” I suspect that many people who have been to the museums “a million times” like we have don’t even know it’s down there, because I only recently discovered it myself. (You can see video of it in motion HERE.)

Most Random Item in your House

Okay, fair warning, this is kind of offensive… but then again, there are plenty of statues, both modern and ancient that are naked, so let’s pretend to be mature and intellectual for a moment…

Okay, not exactly Michelangelo’s David. Why do we even own this ugly ass keychain? … It belonged to Carlos’s father, so it’s kind of special to him. Thankfully Carlos keeps it in a drawer and doesn’t carry it around.

If the sky were falling, first thing you would grab after people

I don’t know about the sky falling, but if there was some reason we needed to evacuate, I’ve always said I would grab our photo albums.

Favorite Piece of Art in the House

This is from a children’s book called “El Canto de las Palomas” by Juan Felipe Herrera. The book was damaged so I recycled some of the beautiful illustrations by Elly Simmons into framed art.

Favorite Pair of Shoes

Carlos should count his lucky stars he married a girl like me. Not only do I put up with his mother, but I don’t like fancy jewelery or expensive shoes. My favorite pair of shoes?

A cheap pair of black chanclas. I have several similar pairs but these are my new ones to wear to El Salvador so they’re my favorites right now.

Okay – ya estuvo! Leave a comment, let me know what you liked, and then visit Juan!

Being Social@Telemundo

As you know, I recently went down to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. What you probably don’t know is that it wasn’t just to attend the Latin Billboard Awards or tour their studios.

Myself and nine other blogueros, were fortunate enough to participate in Telemundo’s very first Digital Influencers Summit. Telemundo’s new digital initiative is called Social@Telemundo.

From the Press Release:

Social@Telemundo will focus on delivering its fans across Facebook & Twitter interactive experiences tied to TV programming. With dedicated Social Media resources tied to each of Telemundo’s shows and novelas the Social@Telemundo aims to take the entire TV viewing process to a more engaging level. Building of the success of its Interactive Broadband Series “Telemundo Live” and Mobile social initiatives Telemundo plans to expand its focus on sharing more access to its Studios, Shows and Talent in Spanish and English.

Borja Perez, Vice President of Digital Media and Integrated Solutions

I wrote about this experience from a more business-minded perspective on LatinaBloggersConnect.com – but here I’ll share some of the more personal chisme.

As you might expect, the room where the meeting was held contained a long conference table surrounded by chairs and a screen on the opposite wall to give presentations. Large framed posters of Telemundo shows hung on the other walls. I knew that I wouldn’t be meeting the cast of my favorite telenovela, Los Herederos del Monte, since the show is filmed in Colombia, but I wanted my photo taken with the next best thing.

(For the record, I didn’t intentionally style my hair like Paula’s. It was a happy accident… Do you think Juan del Monte might mistake me for her? …Okay, maybe not.)

During the meeting, one of the executives asked which one of us was the novelera – I raised my hand and they asked what attracted me to Los Herederos del Monte. Now, to answer this professionally or honestly? I went with honesty, responding, “Okay, at first it was because the guys are hot…” But I did explain that I later came to appreciate the complexity of the storyline and the quality of filming.

Admitting that I began watching Herederos for the eye candy made it a little hypocritical of me to ask the question I asked later – which was if Telemundo was actively trying to step away from portraying women as sex objects in their programming. (Spanish language TV in general has a reputation for this and I know it’s something that bothers a lot of Latinas.)

The President, Don Browne, welcomed the question and answered that yes, they are producing programs that portray both real and fictional women as strong, intelligent and independent. (Examples – Kate del Castillo in Reina del Sur, Dra. Ana María Polo on Caso Cerrado, Jenni Rivera, and Maria Celeste of Rojo Vivo.) They really want to break a lot of the stereotypes about Spanish language television and consciously work social issues that affect, not just women, but other segments of the viewing audience, into their programming.

We got a lot of great insight into just what Telemundo, and mun2, are about from various executives who attended the meeting, and just as importantly, we had the opportunity to give them feedback, advice and ideas. Mutual respect flowed between Telemundo and the bloggers and the atmosphere was fun yet intellectually stimulating. Telemundo has a rare chemistry, passion, creativity and positivity there which has to be experienced to really be understood. I definitely felt like I was with mi gente. (Did you know that some of the Telemundo staff, including the President himself, are “Latinos de corazón” like me?)

For lunch, we were joined by Telemundo talent; Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Vanessa Hauc, Enrique Acevedo, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovik, and Jessi Losada.

Left to right: Vanessa Hauc, Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovnik

We all introduced ourselves and explained a little about our background. This conversation centered around the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. They had a few questions (such as “What is a good tweet?”) for the bloggers, and they shared with us how they use the websites to connect to fans, etc.

All of them were really down-to-earth. While we chatted in real life, we were also tweeting each other – and those tweets were being projected onto the wall for everyone in the room to see, which was a fun idea.

As you can see, I thought Jorge Bernal was especially funny. After lunch he gave me a big kiss on the cheek and said, “Adios, gringa!”

Me and Jorge Bernal of Al Rojo Vivo

Me and Karim Mendiburu, of Titulares y Más and Ritmo Deportivo

Disclosure: I was invited to the Digital Influencers Summit at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.

I’m in Miami, trick!

(Title from a LMFAO song feat. Pitbull)

I’ve been in Miami since Tuesday morning and have been going non-stop since the plane touched down. I should be in bed right now because mañana is the big day (Latin Billboard Awards!) … but I have too much I want to share.

First, the hotel. Okay, gente, this place is so chic and exclusive – and yet the design of it is … well, let me show you.

Chandeliers inside of bronze bells.

The decor reminds me of chess and Alice and Wonderland… pero, when we arrived, our rooms weren’t quite ready yet, so Carrie, (from TikiTikiBlog.com) – and I, waited out by the pool. (I was also waiting for Carlos to arrive since he took a different flight.)

Carrie offered to buy me a [very expensive] drink. When she asked me what I wanted, the first thing I thought of was a Cuba Libre, never mind that it was still before noon and I hadn’t eaten since 4 am.

A Cuba Libre is basically a rum and Coke with lime. (Gracias for getting me half-borracha, Carrie!)

Soon enough our rooms were ready except I had a small problem. I had been told my debit card would suffice for check-in, but it wasn’t working for some reason. I didn’t have a credit card to offer them so I called up my little sister and thankfully she gave them her card instead. I felt totally naca, but I got my room key.

(View from the room.)

(Mini-bar treats I can’t touch or my sister’s credit card will be charged.)

Really – The Mondrian is amazing in every way, but I do have one complaint and it’s this…

This carita loca is in every hotel room and she’s seriously freaking me out. She stares right at the bed… which is where I need to go now. More soon! Besos from Miami!

Disclosure: I’m in Miami for the Latin Billboard Awards at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.


My cumple is at the end of the month, but Carlos wanted to give me his gift un poco temprano.

This is Carlos’s first and only tattoo… y lo amo!

Suegra still doesn’t know about it. When she finds out, she will probably threaten to disown him, (otra vez.) She believes tattoos are a pecado and that only “mala gente” like pandilleros get them. When Carlos told me this I said, “Wait, doesn’t your older brother have tattoos?”

“Yeah,” Carlos said, “but when my mother found out, she slapped him.”

So Carlos’s birthday present to me? A permanent reminder of his love, and the promise of mucho drama to blog about in the coming days.

(Thanks, nene!)