Monday, September 11, 2006

In San Salvador

So, I’ve been at my new job at the Centro Cultural Salvadoreño for three weeks now. I’m enjoying having the time to work on projects, but I’m also missing teaching all the time and being up, moving around. I just moved into my apartment on Saturday…pretty nice! It was wonderful to finally be able to take all my clothes and stuff out of my suitcases and really know what I’d thrown in them in my quick 24 hours in Ohio. I keep thinking that, oh, where did I put this or that? And usually, I left it in Colombia, or I said, no, that weighs too much. It looks like I’ll be in San Salvador for about six months, and then the rest of time I’ll be in the eastern part of El Salvador in San Miguel. Good news is that the whole country is about the size of Massachusetts, so it’s really only two or so hours away.

From now on, I’m going to write my entries in English and in Spanish. We’ll see how long it takes before I get lazy.

US Franchises I’ve Seen So Far, the obvious and not-so-obvious: McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, Wendy’s, Subway, Tony Roma’s, Cinnabon, Office Depot, Payless Shoes, Avon, Dell, Little Cesar’s…and Wal-mart is coming soon. There’s Hot Pockets and Lean Cuisine in the grocery, as well as Starbucks Frappacchinno and Welsh’s juice. Fruit is imported (what??!!). What, that people consume, is actually from El Salvador? Good question.

This is not to say that I don’t like San Salvador. When the sun’s out and the pollution a bit lower, the surrounding mountains and volcanoes are beautiful. It’s winter, or the rainy season, so it’s cloudy much of the time, and it rains at least once a day. People are super friendly. I simply wish that the consumeristic way of life had never touched here. I wish that people made their juice in the blender instead of taking the “easy” way out and buying it ready-made. I miss being able to buy “real” juice for $1.500 pesos. I had to go out and search for a place that sells licuados and jugos near my house. The señora that runs the place laughs at me because I’m there almost every day. I asked her if there were other places close that sell juice, and she said no, good point. There was a 5.0 earthquake the other afternoon. It’s certainly been interesting!

San Salvador is very different from Barranquilla and the Colombian coast, and from the country as a whole. For me, it’s so quiet here. I end up putting on my salsa or meringue or vallenato (she listens to vallenato!) every night in order to be able to sleep. No Heraldo o aguacate guy out yelling in the street at 5:30 in the morning. There are supposedly bread sellers around, but I’ve yet to see or hear them. No calling for domicilio to the tiendita around the corner for three eggs, a tomato, and an onion. Sigh…the things I miss! But with time, I’ll find those little details here as well. For now, working, missing friends, looking forward to meeting new people.

Spanish version coming soon!