The Museum of the Word is actually a mobile museum and has relatively few visitors to its building in comparison to its outreach. Tapes, manuscripts,videos, artifacts have all been saved from the war years and not necessarily archived from the 30’s on. There are actually 9 rotating exhibitions and yesterday we were introduced to two of El Salvador’s favorite authors Salarrue and Roque Dalton. Salarrue wrote about imaginary worlds and used made up languages and Dalton was known as a revolutionary poet.
One room was set up as a clandestine radio station. Don Oscar, our afternoon cultural activities director, shared an interesting anecdote.
Apparently the US planted a large ship off the coast to interfere with the radio’s transmissions. The campesinos wondered why this ship could stop these broadcasts… they were told that sound waves go up and out…. so these so called ‘uneducated’ peasants suggested to move the radio sound waves horizontally by having them travel along the wires of their property fences… the US Colonel in charge was furious that these peasants had outsmarted him and he denied their radio’s existence saying that these programs were now being sent from Nicaragua. He also made it his personal mission to destroy the people’s radio center.
SO the peasants planted a set up by trashing the transmitter, sprinkling the area with chicken’s blood and planting a bomb within the transmitter with 2 different ways of imploding (one via a change of altitude or by 2 different hand-held controls. The Colonel was so proud of completing the mission that he wouldn’t let his men touch the scene and ordered them to let him bring back the proof. He called a press conference and invited not only the media but dignitaries including some area priests. Once gathered the Colonel took off in his helicopter to retrieve the transmitter and as you probably figured out as soon as his helicopter took off with the transmitter and reached a certain altitude kaboom… It makes one wonder why the US had its nose in this war, doesn’t it? We watched a video of testimonials of survivors of the 1932 Civil War called ‘Scars of the War.’ Visually this video put all the history that we have been hearing about into pictures and personalized the devastation of an indigenous peasant population.
Well we all experienced our first city bus ride to and from the museum without being hassled and know now how most people travel daily.
Half the group took advantage of a free symphonic concert in the National Theater in the evening and even rode the bus downtown at rush hour with one of our host Moms. We are becoming seasoned travelers. We were treated to an avant-garde composition and a piece by Strauss by the Symphony. The theater was magnificent with copper embellishments and a hand painted ceiling at which we couldn’t help gawking.
We were introduced to the conductor and had a pic taken together. Very KEWL.
We were back home by 7:30 so nobody missed their ‘cena’ (dinner). I had a traditional dinner of fried plaintains, fresh cheese, sour cream, refried beans and tortilla (Salvadorans tortillas are fatter than what we are used to) What a full day both gastronomically and historically !