Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 1 of Alisha and Lynn´s Crazy El Salvador Adventure

Friday, 9-10-2010

Well, we made it. But just barely. I mean literally. It has been a long day and I´ve been up since 3:15am so I´m going to apologize right off hand for any mispellings or craziness of this first blog. I´m using a computer at the guest house in San Salvador and some of the keys don´t seem to be working. But here it goes...from the beginning.

It has been a very long and interesting day. I was too excited to sleep so I didn´t get to bed til midnight. My body woke me up at 3:15am. Oh well. May as well get up. We got moving and put the bags in the car. I kissed the cat goodbye and off I went. We made it to the airport with plenty of time, but of course, Lynn told me I was late. We checked in our selves and then our bags. There were a few problems with Delta and the cost of baggage and overweight bags. Apparently, Delta doesn´t find it necessary to update their website or give accurate information to the people who call into customer service to ask questions. But that´s another story for another time. After settling that mess I hugged my parents and Matt goodbye. We got through security and got to our gate with time to spare.

Lynn and I were chatting at the gate and soon it became apparent that we weren´t going to be leaving on time. No big deal, I thought. Shortly after that a woman announced it would be 45 more minutes and if we were worried about our connection to go talk to her. So up I went. It was going to be a close call as to whether or not we´d make it. She said the only other flight to San Salvador was tomorrow and did I want to be put on the list. I went to go confer with Lynn about what to do. We decided we´d try to run and catch the flight in Atlanta. So I got back in line.

I decided to call my mom to let her know what was going on and then I heard, "Does anyone speak Spanish?" It took me a second and then I remembered, "Oh yes, I speak Spanish." Now, I am by no means fluent but I´m getting there. At the front of the line was an old woman who was also going to San Salvador. I explained to her that we might not make the flight and may have to stay in Atlanta. She looked worried. And I was worried too. I said we´d try to make the flight. I told her we´d push her in her wheelchair and we´d run to the next gate. At that point I realized that I´d hung up on my mom and called her back. Sorry Mom!!!

Then I went and updated Lynn. Ughhh. She was about as happy as I was about the news. Eventually the plane got fueled and we boarded. I told Lynn that I thought our trip was cursed. We made it on the plane but it was a pretty bumpy ride. I found myself praying to land safely. For some reason I´ve found myself getting a little nervous on flights though I´m not sure why.

When the flight attendants came around to serve drinks I asked if we could get off ahead of everyone else with Aminta, who is the older Salvadoran lady I talked to earlier, since there wasn´t another flight to San Salvador until tomorrow. She said she´d see what she could do. After a while she had us move up to 2 empty seats at the front of the plane. Yay!!! We moved when it was less bumpy. Soon after we moved we landed on the ground. Lynn and I were strategically planning our exit. She grabbed her carry on and mine while I helped Aminta. We exited the plane but there was no wheelchair. Great. So Lynn ran ahead with our two suitcases while I looked for a wheelchair. None was to be found. Aminta said she could walk so off we what seemed like the other side of the airport. I felt bad becuase she was over 80 and a little frail. But she was a trooper. I carried her bag for her since she had to walk.

Then gate E28 came into view. I began to wave frantically to Lynn and yelled that we were coming. I saw the woman at the desk disappear behind a door. I asked Lynn if they were going to let us on, but she wasn´t for sure. Soon the woman reappeared. Good news!!! They were going to reopen the plane for us. Thank you God! Gracias a Dios! We quickly got our passports and boarding passes scanned, and then we boarded. Awesome. The plane was pretty empty so we moved to a row by ourselves. The flight was okay. It seemed to go by quickly. I journaled and talked to Lynn a bit.

Soon we landed, a half hour early too. We made it through customs okay, as did all of our medicine, etc. And when we walked to the baggage claim area we were amazed to see OUR LUGGAGE!!!! We honestly didn´t think it would make it onto the plane to San Salvador. It was a miracle. We think it´s due to Lynn´s St. Christopher necklace and my cross necklace.

We walked out and Kathy got a picture of us with all our stuff. We gave hugs and she called Alfredo to pick us up. We gave him a hug and he loaded up all our things into the trunk. And it all fit. We drove to Los Pinos guest house and checked it. We had a bit of down time before we headed out again. I said hi to the two turtle who live here. I sat in the hammock and chatted a bit with Lynn. And then we were off.

We went to the UCA, which is the University of Central America, where the 6 Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and her daughter were martyred. I finally got to see the museum there. It was closed the first time I went and being remodeled the second time. It was pretty neat. It had info about the 6 priests, Romero, Rutilio Grande, the various massacre sites, and the four American women killed during the civil war. They also had blood spilled from almost every person they had information about, which is I thought was pretty neat. They certainly have a way of preserving things, even the bad things. They also had clothing the people were wearing when they died, maps, items that had been burned, and a book that was slashed by the people who murdered the priests.

Around 2:30 we headed for the Cathedral. It was beautiful, and I think it´s pretty new. From the sky it´s in the shape of a cross. We went below to see Romero´s tomb. Kathy and Lynn told me it used to be a dirt floor and his tomb was just a concrete box off to the side. That´s the way Romero would have wanted it. But a few years ago they made it all nice and new and clean. His tomb, or maybe he was under this thing, was a giant bronze statue laying on the ground. It´s hard to describe and a bit odd looking, but also beautiful.

After that we headed for the Artisan shops. There is definitely more of a police presence here than usual. I guess the gang violence has been worse lately so there are a lot more police out on patrol. We passed several guys with machine guns on what looked to be a main square. And then we passed a giant tank coming down the road toward us. There was a guy behind the gun of the tank with lots of bullets. A bit unnerving, but I still feel very safe here. Common sense and having Alfredo for a driver goes a long way. We spent about an hour at the Artisan shops buying some gifts and what not. Then after getting all our loot into the car we headed back to Los Pinos.

Lynn, Kathy, and I headed out to a restaurant nearby for dinner. Lynn and I both had pupusas. I also had plantains with cream. Delicious!!! Kathy and Lynn had ice cream afterwards but I was really full for some reason and passed on it (sorry, Emily. I´m a failure). We wandered back to Los Pinos and got ready for bed. I took a shower. It was cold water, but hey, at least there was water AND it was running water. No pila shower tonight!

So that´s my story of our day. It´s rambling and not well thought out. Kathy and Lynn and sleeping in the next room and I´m going to go join them. Buenas noches!!!


Kevin Pokorny said...

Wow, what a story of your trip. Matt and I just finished reading your blog. But, at least you got there and you are safe. Love to you.

Kevin (and Matt, too)

kathy said...

I'm glad you two are here also!

Emily said...

so glad you're posting again! can't wait to hear about all of your adventures. and the rest of your trip better include eating significant amounts of ice cream - make me proud! :)

Ellyn said...

Glad you guys have made it!!!! Can't wait for your safe return.

Kate said...

Wow, that is quite a story!!! Enjoy your time and I can't wait to see more stories!