My trip to El Salvador

I had a dream that I went to El Salvador, but I never woke up. When I got back home, my parents told me it was real. El Salvador is an amazing country that I wish I never came back from. To start, here’s some background information about the small tropical country.

 El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and the capital is San Salvador. El Salvador was originally populated by the Pipil, they called the territory Cuscatlán (Land of the Jewel) and the language they used was made primarily by the -ch- sound. Later they were taken by the Spaniards and they melted their national language and Spanish to create a whole new vocabulary! It’s mostly like Spanish but has more -ch-‘s than in most Spanishes. That’s all the background information I will provide today.

So now I will start with my dream trip, so to start my family and I landed in San Salvador and we got picked up by my fantastic family. We went to their house and had the BEST PUPUSAS ever and a great little soft drink, it’s called Kolashampan. When you say it rhymes with champagne, I think it’s fun to say. Our plane arrived later so we went to sleep almost immediately.

The next day we went to Tacuba to visit my abuela. On the way we stopped by a Catholic Church and the best little farmers market. The ladies carried baskets on their heads and the kids ran around with chickens! My abuela lives in an amazing ranch with so much yard you can get lost. She was so happy we came, we haven’t seen her in years. The ranch was like a ranch from a fairy tale. We spent one day there.

The following day, we went to one of the national parks of El Salvador. On the way we stopped at a volcano filled with a lake in the center. The national park that we went to is named Cerro Verde. The trails there were amazingly beautiful. There is also a giant active volcano on the side where you can see smoke coming out of the top. There was also a really fun park. 

The next morning, we went to see the ruins! There were pyramids buried in the hills. We saw some artifacts and got coconut water there. The artifacts were so pretty and had such fascinating details. The coconut water was in bags with straws poking out of the top.

After that, we went to see downtown San Salvador. We saw more churches that were so, so, so magnificent and learned about the one saint of El Salvador, Saint Óscar Romero. We also fed some pigeons. My cousin and I also went to Dollar City, and got junk food and toys. I got a giant coloring map of the world and my family spent the whole night coloring and drawing. It was perfect. 

The day after that, my parents and my tio went shooting and my tia, cousins, brothers and I went around trying to find a soccer jersey. Once we found it we went to a 16 foot pool with a diving board. We spent the rest of the great day there. Once it was late, my tios, mom and I went grocery shopping and we got delicious street food. 

The next day was our second to last, we went to a beach with pitch black sand. We also got a cabana with hammocks and we all fell asleep in them. The ocean there was warm! It was actually quite nice, not like hot icky warm. A good warm. There were also a couple of pools that were fresh water, no chemicals. It was so nice to get all the sand off. We also spent the next morning in the pool.

The last day we went to the mall to get our souvenirs and Spanish churros. They made the churros fresh in front of our faces and put some sweet sauces on it. There was caramel, Nutella and condensed milk. For dinner , we went to eat at a fancy restaurant our family really likes and we had fantastic rich food. At the end of our trip, we went to get -llao llao-. It tastes like Greek yogurt and you got to put on toppings! I put honey and a sort of almond granola.

That was our last day there and the next morning we went to the airport and went home. We had a layover in Guatemala and got some more cool stuff. And that was all.

My trip was perfect. It was so good I wished that our tickets did not work and we had to stay. Even now I wish I was there. For all those people who read the entire story. CONGRATULATIONS 🥳. You are a star. Overall, the trip was just too perfect. I don’t want to visit anywhere else and I just want to live there for the rest of my life. You should definitely visit the mystical place called El Salvador.

Cruising – A Different Type of Vacation

Have you ever gone down a waterslide, ridden a roller coaster, rock climbed or tried walking across a tightrope hundreds of feet above the ocean? Sounds crazy, right? But a vacation cruise allows you to have these sorts of adventures and more! With so many of us planning our next vacation after such a long time dealing with COVID having shut so many things down for so long, I encourage you to take a look at all that cruising has to offer.

With over 50 different cruise lines available with over 320 different ships to choose from in the world currently, there are TONS of options for every type of traveler. There are cruise ships that sail in the ocean and ships that are solely built for cruising along rivers. Cruises can be as short as 2 nights or, currently, the longest cruise is 274 nights and offers its passengers a trip around the world, literally.

I recently had the opportunity to take a short cruise out of the nearby port in Long Beach, CA and visited Catalina, CA and Ensenada, Mexico. It was a great adventure, as I had never been on a cruise before. Before your cruise even starts, you decide what type of cabin you want, and there are lots to choose from, everything from an inside cabin, an ocean view, a balcony or different types of suites. What you choose depends on your preference and also on how much money you want to spend. Many people think cruising would never be an option because it’s too expensive, but there are cruises available for less than the cost of a hotel per night, if you really look for them. You might have to be flexible on your accommodations, however.

Once you are on the cruise there are so many things to do. Whether you like sitting around relaxing by the pool, playing Bingo or trivia for fun prizes, watching a show, or even playing basketball or miniature golf, there will always be something fun for you to do. There are special areas just for kids and teens, broken up by age group so you can meet others on board your age. The rooms have activities geared towards the specific age group including games, activities and video games and special parties. There’s also a variety of restaurants on board including a buffet, a main dining room or even special fine dining restaurants where you pay an additional fee, otherwise most food is included, which may result in you eating way more than you normally do in a day.

Sometimes you choose a cruise just for the cruise itself, and sometimes you choose a cruise for the ports you will visit. My family chose our destination just as a fun getaway right before school started back up, so it was a little bit of both, just to experience what a cruise was like and to visit a few places. Once in port, you can explore the town on your own or take a tour to a location that interests you. Every person who goes on a cruise will have a different experience based upon your likes and dislikes, so next time you don’t know where you should head out on vacation, check out all of the available cruising options as a different kind of vacation, especially if you’ve never experienced one before. You won’t be disappointed!

A Trip Around Lake Erie

Summer has just begun and now that Covid is clearing up many people are taking their long-due vacations. For vacation this summer, my family and I decided to go for a trip around Lake Erie which is one of the 5 great lakes in the northeastern part of the United States. During our time there we drove through 4 different states and a different country.

We decided to start by taking a four hour flight over to Cleveland, Ohio and from there we took a short drive to Cedar Point. Cedar Point is an amusement park in Ohio that my dad has been wanting to go to for years. We spent a couple days there, then went on a ferry to a little island called Put-in-Bay. Put-in-Bay is a village on South Bass Island in the middle of Lake Erie about a mile from Sandusky, Ohio. We spent a day there driving around in a golf cart and exploring the island. While the island is very small, it houses a US National Park called Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial which is a memorial to those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.  After we got back to the mainland, we went to another amusement park called Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, and we spent another 2 days there.

After fully exploring these fun places in Ohio, we packed up and took about an 8 hour car ride towards Toronto, Canada. At the US/Canadian border we were stopped by border agents who asked us many questions about where we had come from and where we were going. They also made sure we had properly completed the ArriveCan app information which is an app required to enter Canada now due to COVID. We stayed in a small suburb of Toronto called Vaughan where Canada’ Wonderland is located.

All 3 of these amusement parks are owned by the same company that owns Knott’s Berry Farm here in Orange County. While the idea is the same, ride rides and eat lots of food, the environments and the experiences at each park were quite different. I enjoyed them all in different ways. When we were done with our amusement park thrills we headed over to Niagara Falls where we went on the Maid of the Mist which is a boat that takes you right up to the bottom of the falls. While they do provide you with ponchos our entire family still ended up getting soaked.  After Niagara Falls, we drove all the way back to the Cleveland airport through Pennsylvania and back to Ohio, then flew all the way back to California. It was a great adventure with a lot of new experiences including the theme parks and multiple thunderstorms unlike anything we have in California. While I enjoyed it greatly, it’s nice to be home.

Summer Adventures

When it comes to summer vacation, all I can think of is relaxing, traveling, lots of road trips, and just couple of months without having to worry about anything school related. Summer is a time to go out and have fun with family and friends. It’s to go explore and go on some adventures. I am one of those people who can’t just stay in my house during the summer. I love to go on adventures and to explore and see the some of the wonders of the world we live in. And of course with every adventure comes in food. I love to taste different types of food each country has to offer.

One of the best summer vacation that I’ve been to is going to Mexico. Recently for my birthday my parents gifted me a cruise to Mexico. Though the cruise was only there for less than 8 hours. We got to go explore different places and book an excursion in Mexico. It was the BEST! And the excursion that we book involves food. Actually it is all you do all day your Mexico. We get to try different authentic food from Mexico and explore at the same time. And of course we also get to buy souvenirs to bring home to remember the trip. Once back on cruise, again all you mostly do in a cruise is eat! For 4 days straight I had no chores, nothing to worry, other than to eat and have fun by enjoying all the cruise has to offer! Food in the cruise I was in was amazing. Especially “Guys Burger.” And then comes the disembarking process. The process I’m pretty sure a lot of people hate the most. Don’t you just hate it when vacation is over and you get back to normal? Yeah well me too!

Another best vacation that I’ve been to is traveling around Europe for 2 weeks. Me and my mom love to travel. It’s out goal to travel all the countries someday. When we went to Europe first thing we landed on London. There we visited family and we got to go around London. Funny thing is we actually got to see some of the Royal family because it was when HRH Kate and William were visiting a local hospital/charity where my godmother works. We didn’t get to meet then but we saw them. And next to our trip was Paris. It was short one because we tried to fit 5 different places/4 countries in the span of 9 days. We explored the city of Paris and got some yummy croissant and the best hot chocolate for breakfast. Then our next stop Brussels, Belgium. Where again we explored for a days and went to Amsterdam the next day. In Amsterdam we get to explore the city and the history of Anne Frank.

Up next was our trip to Italy. First up was Milan. In Milan we got treated with an amazing homemade Italian pasta. The pasta is made in front of you and it was amazing. Then next to our trip was Lake Como. In Lake Como we got to see the beautiful Lake and its beautiful view by taking a boat around it. Ended the night with an amazing street pizza. Yes it was pizza that they sell on the streets with their little cart. It was delicious. We have a family in Milan that told us about this trick. We spent not even half of the price you pay in a restaurant and the pizza was so much more delicious. And last to out our trip was Rome. We climbed up to the top of the St. Peters Basilica for a total of 551 steps.

Our Europe trip is definitely an adventurous one. I was hoping someday to visit all these places with a little more time than usual. And explore it more. I advised if your an adventures type of person is to go to Europe and explore the cities. Because in every corner especially in Italy you see something different. Most likely something exciting. With awestruck views. And the food. We cannot forget about food. The food that I really enjoyed the most was in Italy and London. And if your a cheese lover Amsterdam has a lot of really great and delicious cheese. It was a really good experience.

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself”-Danny Kaye

-Marielle E.

The Galactic Starcruiser Hotel

I recently got back from a family vacation, where we visited the Disney parks in Orlando, Florida. As a grand finale for our trip, we stayed at the Galactic Starcruiser.

For those who don’t know, the Galactic Starcruiser is a Star Wars themed hotel where you can role play as either a rebel, a scoundrel, a First Order supporter, or a Jedi Knight. The more you interact with the characters in the hotel, the more plot is revealed to you. The main plot that everyone knows is that you are all on a space vacation ship called the Halcyon. Everything seems normal onboard, but a First Order lieutenant is commanded to join the passenger on the Halcyon to monitor it for rebel activity.

From there you can either choose to join the side of the Resistance or the side of the First Order. You can also play both sides and be a double agent, leaking information to the other side. In addition to your initial choice, you can train with the Saja to become a Jedi, join Raithe Cole’s gang of scoundrels, join Sandro’s musical group, or help two mystery characters make a love connection.

While I loved this experience very much, there are a few things that I would change about it.

First of all, the plot is too centered around the Rebellion. What I mean by this is that most of the activities onboard are for the rebels; like secret meetings, a heist, and defending the ship from the First Order. There are also two surprise rebel guests that come about, who you won’t want to miss.

Secondly, it’s too hard to join the First Order. There are only three First Order characters you can interact with; Lieutenant Croy and two Stormtroopers. Only Lieutenant Croy is able to give you missions, and he is incredibly hard to contact. Over the course of a full day where I was actively looking for him, I only saw him roaming the hotel about three or four times.

Finally, I think that there should be less big plot lines and more small ones. By this, I mean that there should be more side quests to fill time. On the Starcruiser, there was one main plot that moved very quickly and was really hard to keep up with, so I think it would be better if there were small chunks of plot that intersected towards the end.

Though I would have changed a little bit about the Starcruiser, it was definitely an unforgettable experience. The characters were all great and friendly, the decorations were amazing, the food was very creative, and it had really impressive modern technology. If I have the chance, I’ll definitely go back again to try another path, but in the meantime I’d highly recommend it for you all!