Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Riding Motorcycles in the Jungle Day 6

Day 6 – Tues Feb 26, 2013 -- The Long Slow Road Home

On Tues I woke very early.  It wasn’t just the rooster, and the 4 am church bells -- the horse had been kicking the other side of the wall to our room.  Then my stomach rumbled and I discovered I really needed to get up to visit the banyo.  A whole week of eating in El Salvador, at all kinds of places, many without running water, and the one that gets me is the local high-end fast food, Pollo Campero (“Picnic Chicken”, literally, Camper Chicken).  It is the local clone of KFC that El Salvadoran’s love.  We ate there for lunch at the ritzy mall in San Pedro.   I had a chicken sandwich and cole slaw.   Bobby ordered a hamberguesa, and they brought him a chicken sandwich, and said ‘si, es hamburgeusa’.  [Pollo Campero got to Bobby too, we had to make a pit-stop between immigration and customs in Dallas.   “Pollo Campero” has now become a code-word euphemism between us.]

We packed the night before, so there wasn’t a lot to do.   However, our hosts kept giving us more stuff to take with us – more cheese, 3 bundles of frozen tortillas, bread, snacks, etc.   And of course there was breakfast before we left – beans and rice (cooked from scratch that morning), with sweet bread, fried plantains (picked the day before by Bobby’s uncle and then delivered to us).   Salvador had left at 4 am, as usual, and he returned promptly at 7:30 am to drive us to the airport. 

The last two dinners we have not eaten alone.  We’ve been served first as usual, but then Norberto, Salvador, and Salvador’s father have joined us before the meal was over.  We are now family, not just guests.   (Either that or Siria has been getting very hungry awaiting her turn to eat.)

The American Airlines rewards tickets I booked left us with an overnight layover in Dallas.  I booked a night at a Residence in Ft Worth (so we had a fridge, to cool down 60 lbs of cheese).    I thought we’d make the most of it and go see the Ft Worth Rodeo, however, there just wasn’t anything worth seeing on a Tues night.   We made a quick trip to the University of Texas to see a gallery of meteorites (I think I have different touristy tastes than Bobby).   It was cool.  Bobby liked the quote from Thomas Jefferson: “I’d rather believe that New England Professors lie, than rocks fall from the sky.”

We picked up some tacos along the way.   Mexican, and Tex-Mex, may look similar to other Central American food, but it is different.  And I realized that just a little Spanish brings a whole different response from the cook behind the counter.   I’ve been missing out on a lot as just another Gringo.

Over a true Texas dinner at Smokey’s BBQ, Bobby and I reminisced about the trip and talked about real estate and taxes over a meal that contained more meat than we’d eaten the previous six days.   We couldn’t believe what we’d packed home – a lot more than we took.   But the best part for me?   I got to live like a local, and experience a different life for a few days.  It gives me a lot to think about.

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