Friday, February 22, 2013

Riding Motorcycles in the Jungle Day 1

My husband has started his El Salvadorian vacation.  Hopefully he will email me everyday about his adventures!  I admit that I'm amused that he is trying to learn the profanity first because my husband doesn't usually swear.

Notes to My Wife from El Salvador
There And Back Again, a Week’s Vacation; Motorcycle Diaries; Living La Vida Commo Localisto; or simply “Six Days of the Gringo”
 (with translations, introductions, cultural interpretations – the entire trip– thanks to Bobby)

Day 1 – Thur Feb 21, 2013 -- A Day of Travel
[I was unable to connect or validate my gmail account without a cell phone, but I was able to access a Yahoo email account that I never use. Yes, it´s me.]

We arrived.   We hauled two mongo black duffle bags as checked luggage full of _?¿_.  So I´m a courier, of some sort.  Extra clothing I am told. 

Highlights of our day of travel:

·         Delayed 7:30 am flight out of Boston; I’m so very glad we didn´t try for the later one.
·         I graded papers, estudio hablo espaniol.  Bobby makes friends with the Mexicano who lives in Boston who shared the aisle seat next to us. Uneventful flight, save a little turbulence.
·         Four hour layover in Dallas airport... enough to complete a counteroffer on 25 Warner St (really?  I’m buying investment real estate during an international layover?).  We eat some BBQ, I synch email and clear my inbox, and grade papers...
·         and we lose Bobby´s luggage... we boarded our flight, as I hoist my carryon into the overhead... Bobby says, "where did I put mine?" He bolts from the plane...leaving his backpack behind.
·         "Boarding group 4...." 
·         I decide to turn my cell phone back on, just in case.
·         If he doesn´t come back, do I get off the flight?  I think so....
·         Bobby returns, with his bag. The pilot is waiting for him. 'Heard a report about some guy dropping a backpack and running from the plane...´
·         The pilot decides to let us stay.  [He was really a cool guy, actually.]  Bobby later tells me his bag had been left where we were eating BBQ – unattended for over two hours.  [He didn’t mention that detail to the pilot.  Contrast this with Boston airport, where the police approached us in Dunkin Donuts and demanded to know if the bag two steps behind me belonged to me.]
·         The flight takes off. Bobby corrects my Learn Spanish guidebook - it has a Castillian lisp throughout, and Bobby says all the phrases in the profanity section are wrong.
·         After the other passengers start giving us odd looks, we end the discussion ofEl Salvadoran profanity.  I go back to grading papers.   Bobby finds an empty row on the half empty plane for another siesta.
·         We land. We drag (literally) the mongo bags through immigration and customs. Easy so far.
·         I pay a $10 gringo tax at immigration and get a Visa sticker in my passport. No one else does. Bobby's never been charged. I decide it's my personal fine for 'no hablo espaniol.'
·         As we drag our luggage through immigration, Bobby inhales deeply.  “Ahh… it smells like El Salvador.”  I sniff, and smell burning ditch bank, or maybe the slightly acrid smell of the cooking fires from a South African shanty town.
·         Bobby's cousins are waiting for us. We greet... and I give them blank looks in response, then muck up the minimal Spanish greetings I’d been practicing.  They realize I literally speak no Spanish. They look puzzled.  Shocked, actually.  It is a little odd....I suppose.
·         Ahhh... it´s 80 degrees at night, with a soft breeze. I take off my long sleeve shirt. Roberto says that it´s cold tonight.
·         We pile in the transportation (6 people in a SUV). It’s a comfy squeeze with all the bags in back.  It’s luxury, I realize, as we pass small pickups with a dozen people standing in the bed.
·         Bobby shows pictures on his cell phone of 2 feet of snow, to illustrate Boston (his cousin Roberto has never seen snow). Roberto says he will take us to milk cows tomorrow.
·         I will not drive in El Salvador. Ever.   I try not to watch.
·         We stop for a snack.  Papusas are tasty. Like pancaked tamales. Even the cheese ones with the green herb Loroco (not available in the USA) are good. The horchata (like fresh rice milk) goes well with them.
·         Stray dogs wander by as we are eating, skinny ones with ribs showing.  They are timid.
·         We stop 3 times for Jose (2 yrs old) to pee by the side of the road on the ride to la casa
·         We finally arrive around 9 pm (Central time). Greet Bobby’s great aunt, and watch some futbol.

I’m now comfortably settling in under the dresser with the Winnie the Pooh poster, in the guest bedroom/ nursery.   Ready for Transportation tomorrow at 7:30 am (Latin time). Livin like a local.

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