Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hemos llegado - we've arrived!!

Finalmente, the Adventurers are back at it, albeit for just twelve days.  Travel days are always exciting as we transition from our "normal" lives into vacation mode.  Our first flight from Phoenix to Dallas was delayed about a half hour due to snow in Dallas.  Once we landed, it was another 30 minute hold while we waited on the landing strip for our gate to open up.  It was snowing and once we finally deplaned, we realized traveling in sandals may have been a poor choice.  Luckily, the terminal was warm as we had time to kill.  Our second flight to San Salvador was also delayed about two hours.  This gave us time for a leisurely lunch of Texas (airport) BBQ and a perusal of the duty-free shops. There was a rep giving free "samples" of Johnnie Walker double black, which also helped to warm me right up.  

The real fun began once we boarded the second flight.  It was basically like being on a chicken bus in the air.  The flight wasn't full and so people kept shuffling around without notice to the seatbelt sign.  Matt and I were able to snag our own private row.  The majority of passengers were hispanohablantes, so Matt and I got right into the swing of things.  I'm glad I remember as much as I do!  

Once we landed, we were able to move quickly through migraci├│n and aduana since we each only have one backpack that we carried on board.  The immigration agent seemed pretty impressed with our Spanish.  He asked if it was our first visit to El Salvador, since we have stamps from every other Central American country but NOT El Salvador, since last time we crossed by land from Guatemala.  Since the two countries have free passage, there was no stamp.  I told the officer my Spanish abilities increased with every cerveza I drank.  I think he saw the logic!  

Once out of the terminal, we were mobbed by eager taxistas who all wanted the privelege of taking us to El Tunco.  It's hard to choose when they all offer the same price and all have official badges.  We just went with one if the first to offer us the ride.  Riding in the truck-cab, windows down, I love breathing in the humid air.  It immediately fills my lungs with a weight I didn't realize I had missed.  I love the dirt-damp smell of a place that never gets cold. There are some other interesting smells driving through El Salvador, the most prominent being the smell of burning trash.  Last time we were here, I did note the very apparent trash problem, but it's common throughout Central America.  I regret that we arrived so late, as there was not much to see as we drove in darkness.  By 9 PM we were in La Libertad and a few minutes later, El Tunco.

The town seems to have grown slightly since our last visit, but it's hard to tell how much at night.  We'll have to explore and see more tomorrow.  We're staying at Hotel Mopelia, just a few seconds from the beach.  We're currently enjoying a Salvadorian microbrew and the hammock outside our room. The plan for tomorrow is to buy some sunscreen and let the relaxation Take over.

The Shapiro consensus is: we are so glad to be here.  Life is good!  Pictures and more stories will come later.  Good night friends!

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