Saturday, November 14, 2009

El Salvador - Day 1 (Sept 24, 2009)

Now that I've finally been able to upload my El Sal pics, my attempt to chronicle our 9 day Central American adventure begins. The series of blog posts I plan on creating will serve as a journal of sorts for myself and my fellow-adventurers so that the details and small moments that made this trip unique and one that far exceeded our expectations won't be forgotten. However, I hope they will also serve to entertain and provide a small glimpse into a part of the world that for many, sadly, is unknown and unexplored.


Day 1 highlights
  • Waiting to board the last leg of our flight in Houston (Houston - San Salvador) and realizing that all boarding announcements were being made in Spanish. Only Spanish. That may have been when the reality of just how foreign of an experience this might be really hit home for the first time. The feeling was further helped along when we saw we were 3 of only about 10 Caucasians on the full flight. To say we stood out and received curious looks while boarding and de-planing would be an understatement.

  • Humidity. Oh, the humidity! Sure, I knew it would be humid, but living in the Northwest really doesn't prepare a person for the type of humidity that you could slice through with a knife, the kind that takes your breath away when you first step out into it. The type of humidity that when coupled with temperatures in the 90's instantly makes you regret the clothes you layered to keep warm on the plane.

  • Stopping at a roadside stand to buy some "jugo de coco" or coconut milk. The local woman grabbed a machete, chopped off the top of the coconut, stuck a bright green straw in it and it was ours to enjoy. The room-temperature beverage is definitely an acquired taste, but for 50 cents, we felt like locals!

  • Exploring Dave's neighborhood on foot with Monica. Walking up steep hills in the humidity, afraid of a torrential downfall at any moment, was adventure enough. Meeting Ricoberto Franco was the icing on the cake. He was the 60 year old patrolman, complete with gun slung over his shoulder, who we encountered on our walk. It didn't matter that he didn't speak a lick of English, and our attempt at Spanish was a sad combination of Romanian and English; we had a 40 minute conversation with him which left our heads spinning with questions. Did he really tell us that his "baron" (5 year old son) was adopted or illegitimate? And what's the deal with his wife? Is she really a Mormon missionary in Costa Rica? I guess we'll never know for sure, but conversing with him was a pleasure!

  • Stopping for yummy tacos at a roadside stand across from what we later found out was the most popular strip club in San Salvador.

  • Joining Dave for poker night at his friends house. That's also where we met Jenny Sanchez, local Salvadoran and colleague & friend of Dave's. She would become an integral part of our time in El Salvador. :)

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