Lake Coatepeque

Today I am talking about my favorite place in the world. and it is about Lake Coatepeque. Lake Coatepeque has been my favorite place from all the places I´ve been in my life since I was a kid, and I think no other place will never overcome that lake for many reasons. Today´s blog will be divided in 3 parts: what is Lake Coatepeque, tourism and vacations in Lake Coatepeque, and my own personal experience. So, lets get started.IMG_0127

What is Lake Coatepeque.

As some of you may know, El Salvador, as well as the other countries in Central America, has a volcanic land. Volcanoes in El Salvador exist since many centuries on the past and they are still an important part of the country. El Salvador itself has an estimate number of 23 volcanoes, but only a small amount of them are actually active volcanoes. The most important and recognized in El Salvador are San Salvador, which is in the capital of the country, Santa Ana, Izalco, and Chaparrastique, which is actually in a mild process of eruption of ash and rocks.

Lake Coatepeque formed from the series of explosive eruptions around 57,000 years ago, Coatepeque was once a volcano forming part of the group of volcanoes in the Santa Ana department consisting of the Santa Ana, Izalco, and what is now Lake Coatepeque. It is located in the Coatepeque municipality of Santa Ana, it is 26 square kilometers large, being one of the largest lakes of El Salvador. Coatepeque has one island on its southern part called the Teopan Island.

Tourism and Vacations on the lake.

Lake Coatepeque is considered one of the most important touristic attractions of the country because of its beautifulness and the variety of recreational activities that can be done while visiting including waterskiing, wake boarding, jet ski riding, boat tours, paragliding, between others.

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This is me wake boarding in Coatepeque.

Coatepeque can be visited always and in any season of the country, since in Central America there is only two seasons, summer and winter. The lake has houses on the most part of its coast. There is the chance to rent a house for a vacation or stay on one of the hotels located on the lake.

The lake is visited mostly on summer, owners of beach houses on the surroundings of the lake go to stay for summer vacation, normally about one or two weeks. On the first week of august, people visit the lake for the whole week. On the lake one can decide whatever to do from waterskiing or riding a boat with friends. On the last years, in August week, parties, barbecues, and other activities were organized for the people to assist and have a good time.

Lake Coatepeque is listed #2 of 27 touristic attractions on TripAdvisor rated with 4.5 stars and 231 reviews. this place is, without doubt, a most when visiting El Salvador.

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My Personal Experience

as I said before, Coatepeque has been my favorite place from all those I´ve been and I think no place I visit in the future will overcome it. There are many reasons why I can say this, on of those reasons is that it is very easy for me to visit it because it is 45 minutes in car away from my home and my family owns a house on the border of the lake. Second is that since I was a kid I always loved to go and just to stay in there, and I still do.

I have been visiting the lake for many years and doing all kinds of recreational stuff that can me practiced on the lake, including wakeboard, which I started to practice as a sport for about 2 years. The  lake is for me just the perfect place to have a good time, with friends and family in a friendly environment full of fun. I have always liked spending time with family in the lake, and its very fun and relaxing at the same time. It is for me a very meaningful place.

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All the pictures have been taken by myself.

VENEZUELA & BASEBALL – Topic of 2014

We already talked about how Venezuelans situation is probably the most known news about the country in the pasts years, but we will not talk about it again instead we will talk about Venezuelan Baseball since it is also a ranging subject since the season for this year has started!

There are many things that make up culture. Music, dances, food and also sports. Usually people think that in Latin American countries what is most important in sports is soccer, which in some way, it is true. In Venezuela soccer takes a lot of importance and is very cultural but even more than soccer there is baseball. To give an example, to those who know how important football (Futbol Americano) is to the United States, that’s how important baseball is to Venezuela.

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On the left the Magallanes Logo and on the right the Leones Logo. Picture owned by: Toonspot

Baseball in Venezuela is huge. It is the number one topic now and probably holds that standard always. Venezuelan baseball players are one of the best. In Venezuela there are two main baseball teams: Los Leones and Los Magallanes. Los Leones is the team of Caracas, which is Venezuelan’s capital. Los Magallanes are from Valencia. These two are the main baseball teams in Venezuela.

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Luis Aparicio. Picture owned by: SiBCI

Our teams have won several of the Caribbean Series. In the Baseball World Cup they won la Serie Mundial de Aficionados in 1942 and many more.  They also won in the baseball tournament at the Pan American Games.

Some of the greatest figures in Venezuelan baseball are: Alfonso Carrasquel, Ceasar Tóvar, Andres Galagarra and Luis Aparicio (who made it to the National Baseball Wall of Fame).

Right now, the 2014-2015 season games are taking place. So Venezuelans are very up to date with the games that are going on right now. The team plays nearly every day from now to December. There are hundreds of tweets going out every single game and posts on Facebook of the excited fans. People are excited, baseball is back!

Venezuela comes alive when baseball season starts.

Baseball. Venezuelans pride. 

193 ANNIVERSARY

With events like 15 thousand torches lit places and locations that will tour the country, the hoisting of the national flag, a festival and a ceremony headed by President Otto Pérez Molina, Guatemalan get ready to commemorate the 193 anniversary of the independence. caminata

The celebration for the Day of the Fatherland began Sunday when a popular celebration is held in the Constitution Square, center of the capital, and will close the evening with a civic ceremony attended by the President and Vice President.

On Monday 15 September the ruling, accompanied by Cabinet officials, military officers and members of the diplomatic corps installed from one at the main entrance of the National Palace of Culture, the traditional parade of school bands scenario.
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The authorities of the Standing Committee of the National Independence Celebrations, chaired by the Ministry of the Interior (MINGOB) organized civic celebrations for the anniversary in which the country is imagesdecked.

After the rehearsal, Sunday patriotic celebration activities conducted at 8:00 pm in the Plaza del Obelisco for lighting torches.

President Pérez Molina and vice Baldetti light in the Constitution Square fire cauldron, where about 15,000 torches schools, neighborhoods and communities of the interior light.

The leaders  then participated in the solemn Te Deum Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral and from the balcony of the National Palace of Culture witness the raising of the flag that is in charge of cadets Knights of the Polytechnic School.

On September 15, the civic parade  made against the National Palace, with the participation of 80 school bands, which will end the celebration of the 193 Years of Independence Guatemala the Spanish Crown.

guatemala-independencia-300x224Meanwhile, in the Patio de la Paz’s Old Government House an employers fair  performed with the display of a carousel, the Ferris wheel and sweets accompanied by two marimba groups who performed tunes like Railway high.

Guatemala celebrated in 2014 the 193 anniversary of the indepence and it was important for every citizen. it meant freedom for everyone.

Enjoy traditional music in Texas

Hi there! Today I am writing about the presence of my topic in social media. First of all I have found an incredible webpage that was made with the purpose of encouraging performance and appreciation of traditional music. I choose it because I have never talk about that particular area and it could be a great opportunity to start.

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property of autin friends of traditional music

They webpage is named Austin Friends of traditional music. This organization has its origins in the autumn of 1974 when a group of musicians joined to produce a traditional music convention with competition for pickers and singers.  Since then they organize different festivals and events with the main objective of passing along traditional music to the next generation of enthusiastic musicians. One of the things that I like the most is how easy you can become a membership. They are open to everyone, it doesn’t matter you country, culture or your age. The only thing they ask for is a small contribution and to give of your time and energy. They are always looking for volunteer so if you have time go and help!About their presence in social media. They are on Facebook and on twitter. In their Facebook they have a lot of pictures and videos so everybody can see how their festivals look like and how much fun they have.  They also inform about upcoming events and what they do in the latest ones. It’s not necessary to be a musician to go there; they also organize other activities such as dancing nights in which no experience is required. A part from dancing and playing music they also make meals with all type of food in which vegetarians and allergic are welcome. In their twitter account they post about their most recent news, they also inform about their musicians and concrete time and date of their event. They refresh information almost every day so anyone would lose the opportunity to go. There are also pictures and videos of their musicians. If you have time, you live on Texas or are just interested in music you must check their website. Their camps and meals are a great opportunity to spend the day with the smallest ones in a place in which fun I guaranteed. This weekend they are having the 2014 string band festival. Here I include the details of the performers and also you can check pictures of last year’s one.

Friday – Dance ’til You Drop

  • 7:00PM – Forked Deer with Rich MacMath, caller (Old-time square dance)
  • 8:15PM – JWW & The Prospectors (Western Swing)
  • 9:30PM –  Paul Brown & The Mostly Mountain Boys with Marshall Wilborn, John Schwab ,  Phil Jamison caller. (Music from the Appalachian Piedmont)

Saturday

  •   Workshops  11AM – 2PM
  •   2PM – Bottom Dollar String Band (Bluegrass)
  •   3PM – Son Armado (South of the Border)
  •   4PM-  Silas Lowe (Bluegrass)
  •   5PM – The  Jankies (Surpirses)
  •   6PM – Alfalfa Brothers Reunion (Texas Bluegrass Legends)
  •   7PM – Gumbo Ce Soir (Cajun dance music)
  •   8PM – Barn Owls with Sharon Isaac, caller (Old time square dance)
  •   9PM – James Hand with Beth Chrisman and Melissa Carper (Serious Country Music)
  • 10PM – Paul Brown & The Mostly Mountain Boys (Music from the Appalachian Piedmont)

SAN FERMIN AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA

There is not a single festival on the whole Spain about which no one talks about in the social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even flickr receive posts, text and image nearly every second during these events. Those towns hose festivals are more popular even make contests to post the best photo, video or story about them. Specifically San Fermín, the festival that takes place in Pamplona (Navarra), is becoming more and more present on social media every year that passes by.

A lot of bloggers such as The Vagabond International have post about it. This blogger has travelled through Spain and Latin America and decided to stop in Pamplona to spend a few days on the worldwide known festival San Fermin. In this post A Foreigner’s Guide to San Fermin: A Few Wise Words before You Start Chugging Sangria she gives some tips on what to do, wear, eat and drink in order to not get lost in such a crowded event.

Owned by Ruben Albarrán

Owned by Ruben Albarrán

Instagram plays a very important role on to what San Fermin on the social media concerns. If you put the hashtag #sanfermin, 41.350 publications appear, and if you put #sanfermin2014, 7.099. It has even taken place a contest on San Fermin´s photos. The contest was held by the Spanish bank Santander and 954 photos were presented to it. The best among them according to the jury was “Enfilando la Estafeta” by Rubén Albarrán Beltrán that we can see on or right.

San Fermín has also its official Facebook page. Here, during the festivity all the events that take place during the nine days are posted, containing also information about the further year’s San Fermin festival.

San Fermin´s presence on twitter is something that worths mentioning. Apart from the hashtags, there are a lot of twitter accounts that talk exclusively about the festival. For example San Fermin Live is a very important one but there is also San Fermin and  San Fermin Info that have a lot of folowers.

Salvadorans on the Web

In El Salvador, socia networking has become one of the important mediums of communication, not only for communicating between individuals, but for sharing the same identity and love we feel about our country.  The social networks have helped us to share the beauty of our country. I spoke on one of my previous post about how people saw El Salvador from an external perspective. One day I was speaking to this tourist from the States that I met before, and he was visiting for the first time my country.IMG_0166Speaking about how much he did like the things he saw in El Salvador, such as landscapes and beaches, even the city, he confessed me that before being interested in visiting my country, he thought that it consisted only on jungle and some towns… inside the jungle. After seeing some pictures on Facebook and Instagram of some people of El Salvador he learned that it did not consisted in some towns surrounded by a big jungle, he saw actually the beautifulness the country has inside. Cities, beaches, nice restaurants, and beautiful landscapes.  Social networks have not only help us to know us better between Salvadorans, it also serves us as a tool to let know many people from other countries that El Salvador is not only a country where you probably will get mugged the instant moment you get out of the airport when visiting. In fact, that is not likely to happen. 20140105_174842 Instagram, for example, is one of the most used social networks in my country. apart from friends, there are many accounts created with the purpose of sharing pictures of the most beautiful pictures of my country. accounts such as El Salvador Impressive is an example of this accounts that share and promote tourism in El Salvador. They also share some tour guides and tips. Our way of communicating has been evolving even more with the years, and our passion for sharing our love for our country will be always growing. Thanks to social networks we as Salvadorans have found a way to show the world the other side of the coin, what is the beauty hidden behind that mask of stereotypes. All the pictures above are from the most beautiful places of El Salvador, they are all been taken by me, and are shared on social networks as well. Talking about social networks, follow us on twitter @CitizensOTW_5 and become a citizen!

FREEDOM OF MEDIA IN VENEZUELA

In Venezuela social media used to be a free means of the people. If you go on google and search for Venezuela what comes up is the situation that the country is going through at this time. It is rampant, as if it was the only thing relevant to Venezuela. The truth is that that is not the only thing that needs to be recognized about such a beautiful country but it is very important that awareness is raised about what is happening there. How might this have anything to do with culture? It has everything to do with culture because what is happening to Venezuela right now is greatly affecting it. The way of life, the people, the atmosphere is all changing due to the situation. In other words, Venezuelan culture is being negatively affected because of the situation. What is happening in Venezuela is very elaborate. Here I have posted a video that explains what has been happening with more detail but in this post we will focus on what the illegimate government has done to social media. In the very beginning of president Chávez presidency, he started to limit the freedom of press very passively. The first thing that the government openly did to sensor media was that in 2002 when Chávez closed down the TV news station RCTV (Radio Caracas Televisión Internacional) because they had shown on air a Coup d’etat (golpe de estado) against the government that happened on April 11th of 2002 even when he order to not show the situation on television.

The situation has gotten increasingly worst as the years have gone by, and even more now under the power of the illegitimate president Nicolas Maduro. At the beginning of this year there were protest almost every month mostly led by the young Venezuelan students. This was a peaceful protest but the government attacked the students physically and killed many of the  university students who were just standing up for the freedom of their country. They also started taking random students in the protest as prisoners.

People protesting about freedom of press. Picture owned by: International Press Institute

People protesting about freedom of press.       Picture owned by: International Press Institute

The government though, did not allow this to go out of the country by any form of media at all. Not even in Venezuela did he allow the news to cover what was happening, even though it was evident by living there. But overall, the freedom of press was completely taken away. So the people started turning to social media in order to let the world know what was happening in Venezuela. We did not want to fight alone.

Maduro chasing twitter saying “You are the only one left” as the TV and computer and such are sitting in the back with chains.                              Picture owned by: Implied Inference

Facebook, twitter, youtube, Instagram all became the way that Venezuela could get the news out. Eventually, the government started censuring these too. People could not access certain social media applications and if you did you could be in great danger. Many journalists who went against the government and published videos on youtube would disappear or known to be taken by the government. Eventually twitter seemed to be the only media, not only social but any media at all, that was not controlled or blocked form the government. This fight for freedom is still going on today. The people are suffering greatly because they are being forced to live under a dictator and a forming communist government. The protests have stopped but the corruption still goes on. This situation has greatly affected culture because Venezuela is not the same as it was. The way people live has changed dramatically and consequently so has the culture. It is important that we know and are aware of what is going on in these countries who are trapped by the government with no freedoms, not even the freedom from hunger or fear. Even if it has to be through twitter because all other means are taken away, Venezuela fights for freedom. Always.

Picture owned by: El Venezolano Houston