One of the perks of following Ben and J.P. to El Salvador was Mickey and I being able to support our baseball addiction. The Giants were in the playoffs, we weren't ready to give up Papa's huge flatscreen t.v., and we had much more American food to consume before departure (clearly proven by the 10 lbs. I gained over the summer). One morning we left the house on a mission to have some good, old gringo breakfast, turning on KNBR hoping to hear some of the Marty Lurie Show for pregame. Realizing it had already started, Mickey commanded we turn around and go back home. Since we were now in downtown San Mateo, I suggested a Sport's Grill which had wall to wall flatscreens. The addicts were looking for their next score.
We parked the car and ran (yes, we did indeed run) down 4th Avenue in San Mateo. As we approached it was confirmed that we picked our venue correctly. The crowd was decked out in Giant's gear and were cheering loudly about a Giant's base hit. A table opened up and we settled in to eat some pub grub and watched our team open up a can of whoop ass on the Cincinnati Reds. Only after an older man turned to Mickey and asked, "So no school today?", did I remembered it was a weekday. Ooops! At least I wasn't drinking a beer!
It should be noted Mickey did turn to me at one point and say, "So nobody has to work today?"
So Mrs. Doolittle's boat school probably won't receive the "Prestigious School of the Year" Award, but I think she definietly has her priorities straight. While schools in the Midwest enjoy "snow days", the academy aboard sailing vessel Knee Deep indulges in "baseball days". I blame Bud Selig...who schedules a playoff game at 11:00 a.m. on a weekday? What a smuck!
Mickey and I proceeded to watch an amazing game and our setting confirmed that we like to watch a game where there is a lot of hooting and hollering going on. When Buster Posey hit a grand slam, I turned to high five my son and realized he had been embraced in a bear hug and was being tossed about in the air by the same man who had earlier inquired about his educational status. I love baseball!!! (And - BONUS - apparently he wasn't going to call the truancy officer on me)!!
Upon our return to El Salvador the baseball addiction monster became more challenging to satiate. It is a sport low on the totem pole here, with television coverage for soccer matches having a high priority, whether it be professional, beach or local. Playing the enabler roles, Ben and JP had concocted a plan for the baseball addicts to see their beloved Giants play in Game 2 of the NLCS. Our friend, Santos, had a friend (this is how it goes here, everyone has a friend that has a friend), who had cable television at his restaurant. Before you picture Applebees or the equivelant, let me be clear that restaurants here are usually a palapa-type structure off to the side of the road, with no walls and furnished with plastic chairs and tables.
So the Doolittles jumped in the dinghy, picked up Santos and our other friend Michael aboard the sailboat Epiphany, and motored up the esturary. Pulling up onto a deserted boat ramp and leaving our dinghy on the grass, we walked down a dirt road to Santos' friend's pickup truck. Our only fee was to bring back some pupusas for the security guard. The addicts were in deep!!
As it started to drizzle we made our way down the dark highway to our destination only to discover that they were closed for the night. This is where an American would pick up a pizza and go home. Not in El Salvador. Santos whistled to his friend who apparently lived behind his restaurant. A few minutes later his friend (and now ours), appeared and declared in Spanish, "No problem! Follow me!".
A guy with connections to support our addiction....Perfecto!!
He led us into his house, where he flipped on the television and turned to the Fox Channel (which apparently in Spanish is 'Fox Channel'). I chuckled as I noticed his couches were the color orange.
I don't belive in coincidences and took this as a sign from the baseball Gods that we were in the right place.
We proceeded to enjoy the Giant's game narrated in Spanish and even learned a few new words. Ben mostly got a kick out of the announcers screaming, "Hooooooonter Peeeeeeeense!!!" (The Giant's right fielder is Hunter Pence for all of you non-addicts).
When defeat was imminent, along with Mickey and I suffering severe jet lag, we packed up and headed home. We tried to leave our new friend money for his hospitality, but he would have none of it. And so it goes here in El Salvador....these people are incredibly kind, generous and downright charitable.
The following night, we found a place closer to home with another of Santo's friends, Jose, who had left El Salvador when he was 12, but recently returned with the downturn of the American economy. We meandered down the road to his establishment where Mickey quickly informed the lady that Fox Channel was on "viente y cuatro" (24). Jose quickly offerred up beers and pupusas as we sat and watched the game. He even produced a coconut from the fridge recenlty cut open with ice cold coconut milk which I drank quickly.
So it goes for the Floating Frat House. We have addictions to feed, friends to meet and miles to travel, but let it be known we will ALWAYS find a way to watch our beloved Gigantes de San Francisco!
I will edit this later with photos, but WiFi not allowing it right now.