El Salvador Day 01: Airports, Buses, and Arrivals

I’ll start off by saying the wifi internet access in our guest house isn’t doing much for us (okay, it isn’t doing anything). My posts will come as frequently as possible, pending other internet access is found here and there. And with that, on to the main event…

Our trip to El Salvador began this morning with the best sort of travel drama – airport drama. Most everyone arrived at or around 3:30am just as we planned but when we hit the lines, all of Continental’s computers went down and they couldn’t check us in. Domestic flyers? You’re all set. International flights? Not so much. After an hour’s wait or so, they rigged a manual system including hand-written ticket vouchers which we would turn in for real boarding passes at the gate once we went through security. The clock to our 5:20am flight ticked down and I didn’t get through security until 5:20am with several members of the party behind me. The flight was held, however, and everybody made it onboard just fine.

Well, almost everyone. Jenn B.’s travel drama began with a missed alarm… and a missed flight. We tracked down her cell phone number thanks to UTS student Sonja being willing to be roused out of bed at 4:00am and look it up online in the student directory, but Jenn’s phone was off and all we could do was leave messages and pray there was no emergency. Turns out Jenn knew just what to do when she woke up and made the proper calls to the Center for Global Education and is on a flight to join us tomorrow. This is an odd twist of fate for us, as she’s also bringing along a box of t-shirts we had made up for the group that got left behind through it’s own sort of odd traveling drama. Finally, with drama behind us, we got our trip underway. Continue reading

Pre-Trip Reading: History of El Salvador

Students going to El Salvador have been assigned a handful of books to read before the trip and after the trip, each requiring a brief written reaction piece. Here’s one of mine:

History of El Salvador by Christopher M. White

Of all the assigned books for this trip, this may end up being the one I take with me for practical reasons. First, it’s full of context, both historical and present-day, which will likely serve as handy for reference purposes as we travel to specific locations or learn of specific events. Second, the six-page term glossary and nine-page topical index will indeed be helpful, for I not only do not speak Spanish but sometimes find it difficult to keep track of new acronyms and terms. Finally, as I wonder about what we’re going to learn, trying to anticipate how best to be prepared, this collection of information gives the widest birth of information compared to other books we’re reading for the trip.

I admit, I was a bit nervous reading the first chapter about El Salvador today, particularly the paragraphs on tourism. They mention how often tourists get robbed (often) and how guerillas are still prominent in public and some people even carry unconcealed weapons in public. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this, save hunting rifles slung into the gun racks of pick-up trucks in Wyoming. I’m doing my best to be positive regarding safety issues and know if we watch out for each other and I keep my wits about me, there shouldn’t be (m)any problems. Continue reading