Thursday, January 18, 2007


so we began the trip to la entrada and after a while, we began climbing the mountains and the bus was just turning and weaving and going slow. then a woman sitting near us asked me to give her a plastic bag that was hanging up on the front of the bus. apparently, somebody towards the back was getting nauseated and about ready to throw up. that was a first – the bus actually had a plastic bag reserve just for this. by the end of the trip to la entrada, the plastic bags had all been used. gross! it took forever to get to la entrada, and by the time we exited the bus and hopped on one for nueva ocotopeque it was already something like 12:30 p.m. we did that math and started kind of getting a little nervous because we weren’t sure when the last bus from el poy (in el salvador) left for san salvador. both our travel books said it was 3:00 p.m., but we were trying to remember the last time we’d come down on that bus. and we thought maybe it was 4:00 p.m. but even so, that meant our bus had to haul ass to make it to nueva ocotopeque. then we’d have to beat it down to the border in record time in order to make the last bus from el poy.

meanwhile, i was getting text messages on my cell phone from the volunteer who’s in charge of the emergency contact system in my side of el salvador. she sent messages that said there were earthquakes in ahuachapán that “don’t seem to be related to the volcano.” i’m like “what????” of course, i couldn’t call or text message anyone because my phone, for some reason, said that the signal i was picking up (and had been picking up ever since entering honduras) was HND 2 (instead of the normal TIGO).

so the bus took off and putzed along through the high mountains of honduras. it was taking forever. some guy came up and started talking to us and he kept laughing because we were kind of preoccupied about making it to the border in time. the only reason it would have been a pain in the ass was because if we didn’t catch that last bus, we’d have to stay in a skank hotel at the border....not a safe or enjoyable thing to do.

finally, what seemed like days later, we started making a downhill descent into the nueva ocotopeque area. but then the bus started slowing down, and then came to a stop! fuuuuuuck! the honduran police got on the bus and wanted to see everyone’s documents. they sauntered down the aisle at the slowest possible pace taking people’s identification cards, looking at them, then at the person, finally handing the documents back. then they got to us and were like “ooohhh, yes” – totally gross. they spent extra time perusing our passports and finally gave them back and finished their inspection of the rest of the bus. seriously, could they have picked a worse time to do that? the bus got going again and finally entered nueva ocotopeque and dropped us off on the main street. we got a taxi instead of a microbus and told the guy to step on it.

we arrived at the border at around ten minutes ‘til 4:00 and we got through immigration and then got to the el salvador side and this border patrol woman wanted to see our passports again. so we showed them to her and she’s all confused by the “official visa” that we have stamped in our passports. then she was checking and re-checking our stamps from honduras and guatemala and i’m like “look, lady...we got a bus to catch.” finally, she gave us our passports back and we walk/run down the road for the final stretch to the bus we were trying to catch. and we made it! the bus didn’t even leave for another 15 minutes so while we were sitting there, i called antonio and asked him what the heck was going on in apaneca with earthquakes and volcanoes. he said that there were some tremors, but nothing serious. and there wasn’t any volcano eruption or anything. so i felt much better about all that.

so we made the trip all the way back to courtney’s house and i have to admit, it was nice to be back in el salvador. every time we’ve visited guatemala or honduras, i’ve always felt really happy to be back into el it’s really my home! all these countries aren’t the same and you can really see the difference when you’ve crossed the border from one country to the next. and being back in el salvador always makes me smile.

the following day i was at courtney’s friend’s house (remember, the house where i ate the deadly bean and rice soup..) and i got a phone call from my boss, rolando. he wanted to know if i was ok. i was like – “uh, yeah? why?” apparently, there was a really strong earthquake in the san lorenzo, atiquizaya and turin areas of ahuachapán (north of apaneca) and it did a lot of damage. i told rolando that i wasn’t even in apaneca. so he told me that when i did go back to apaneca, if things got bad again, i would have to go to san salvador. so i was all preoccupied with that because my parents were coming in a couple of days and the last thing i wanted to do was hang out in san salvador with my parents. but it worked out ok....there were no more tremors until after my parents left. there were a couple more, really weird ones – right after another – which was freaky.

so that was the end of the trip for us. i really feel lucky that i was able to see all those places (and everywhere else i’ve seen since being down here in central america). it really gives me such a deeper perspective on things when i’m able to see all these different cultures and ways of living. i hope all of you are able to do some traveling down here at some point in your lives, because you’ll love it!