For all of the emotional moments we had on the trip, there were a lot of funny ones, too. Here’s a little bit of levity from my eyes. I encourage others on the trip to share some of their favorites, too, and hopefully those will appear in the comments. Here are ten funny moments I experienced on the trip to El Salvador, all off the top of my head and in no particular order:
“I need you to take your seat, ma’am.”
Professor Chris engendered some impatience more than once and from more than one flight attendant on the flight down as she tried to take a head count. Their collective air of pleasant sternness finally got her to sit down so we could take off. Don’t worry, Chris, we all made it to El Salvador safely!
“I have no ******* idea what you’re saying, man.”
While listening to President Funes speak, a man kept giving me a big smirk until I finally engaged him. He said something to me in seemingly complicated Spanish and I attempted to respond back, saying “Hola, como es ta?” He looked at me a long time and with a burst of liquor breath said, “Pfft. I have no ******* idea what you’re saying man.” Turns out he spoke English and from our short conversation I think he had lived in the US a whle. I know my Spanish, what exists of it anyway, is horrible, but it was a moment of surprise, nonetheless.
“Say cheese… WHOA!”
On our first day traveling in the bus I gave Luis, who was sitting in the absolute front, my camera to snap shots of the group. He tried to take three, saying, “Okay, everybody look here! First group say ‘cheese!’ Okay, now over here, say ‘cheese!’ Okay, last one, say, ‘che-WHOA!’” Kike took us over a bump and Luis made a quick grab for the ceiling-mounted handrail and saved himself from catapulting forward. It was one of those classic “rule of three” comedy moments.
“Where’s the hammock?!”
At the lodge in La Palma, Jenn, Tim, and I were the last ones awake and on our way back to our rooms we decided to have a swing in all of the hammocks. Of course, they were much easier to find in the day time than in the pitch black dark of night. After a few moments of giggling at our clumsy, thwarted efforts, we finally each had our own hammock. The only way we could see each other while we were each in our respective hammocks was through my camera flash.
Tim, who currently has his head shaved, reportedly shook Sister Peggy’s hand after her presentation and their conversation went something like this:
Peggy: Nice hair.
Tim: Ha! Thanks.
Peggy: …It’s not because you’re sick, is it? I’d feel really bad.
Tim: No, it’s by choice.
Peggy: Oh, good.
The morning of the March 24 Romero march, we took a moment at breakfast to figure out how we would proceed. Because it would be hot and long, we debated if we would march the whole thing, just the beginning, pick up in the middle, etc. At one point, Sara meant to say whatever option or combination of options was decided was fine with her, to which Professor Chris gave possibly the greatest comic timing on the whole trip:
Sara: I’ll do whatever and I’ll go with some group.
“…and the US’s rule, er, role…”
At each presentation we attended, a member of our group introduced us before the speaker(s) began and then thanked the speaker(s) at the end. Glen took the duty at the US Consolate and had this beautiful Freudian slip: “Our group is interested in the future of El Salvador’s growth and the US rule, er, role in that.” We all had a good laugh, including our speakers, and Glen sat down, shaking his head and having a good chuckle at his own expense.
“Where’s my stuff?!”
Our guest house turn-down service was so frequent and so thorough, it seemed like every time we returned at the end of the day at least half of the group couldn’t find their stuff. In my case, one day my suitcase was packed up, zipped up, and turned upright instead of on its side. Another day all of the gifts my roommates and I had bought at various shops were only found after we opened all the desk and end table drawers and cabinets. One day I found my ukulele and backpack stacked neatly in the bathroom closet. It wasn’t uncommon to arrive in my room, only to hear at least one of the women next door cry out, “Ugh! Where’s my stuff?!”
“You and me could write a bad romance!”
Whatever you think of Lady Gaga, I’ll say that I’m a sucker for synchronized dancing and her videos have some great dancing in them. While finishing up lunch at Pollo Real, the big TV above our tables played her video “Bad Romance.” I told the others watching to wait for the moment near the end of the song when the women on the far right really gets into her dancing (you can see the brief, three-second moment at the 4:15 mark via this YouTube clip). For the rest of the day, the “youth contingent” greeted each other with this finger-filled, knee-jutting dance manuever.
“Bump another rump.”
I’m a big believer in camping ministry and that means a variety of songs and music, including the high-energy “Ah-La-La-La” which encourages people to “shake a neighbor’s hand,” “hug another bod,” and “pinch another cheek.” While youth groups and campers are used to this, I’d wager it had been a while since our group, ranging in ages 22-70+, had participated in such a song and when the verse “bump another rump” came up, it was hilarious and awesome.
Those are ten funny moments from me. I’m hoping more folks from the trip add their own in the comments so please check back to see what they have to say, too.