The Astounding Travel Adventures of a Miraculous Fellow

The Things that are Different about The Salvador
June 9, 2008, 10:33 pm
Filed under: The Salvador



Hello, my name is Yex.  At least, that’s how my name is pronounced here. Sometimes it’s Jess; other times Yess; but for the most part, it is simply Yex.  


I rather like this nickname, because it sounds like a futurized robot hell-bent on world domination, which coincides terrifically with my own life goals.  The strange thing about this name is many people here are named Jefferson, which is pronounced more or less the same as in the US; but when I try to tell them to just use the first part of the name Jefferson to pronounce my name, they decide either to call me Yex, or Jefferson (And, just so you know, I’d rather be called Yex any day than be named after that blowhard scalawag Thomas Jefferson.  What did he ever do that was so great?  Or…was he the one who invented the electric toothbrush and had numerous “hemp” crops in his backyard?  I stand corrected.  Any fresh-breathed, highly stoned President is a President I can call my own.  My apologies, Tommy).


Anywho, where was I?  Ah yes: a fact that may be surprising to some, The Salvador is rather different than the USofA, or wherever you may reside.


“No!?” you may ask.  “Sí!” I will reply.


Despite the beloved devil-dogs in the streets, and rampant cow fighting, there are things that may not be as normal as one would imagine of a developing country.  Those things shall, henceforth, be listed here:


1) Garbage disposal – When you are finished using something, quickly pitch the garbage over your left (or possibly right) shoulder into the nearest street.  If there is a garbage can nearby, wait until you are further away, then proceed to throw it in the street. This is a fine sustainable practice, because someone will eventually come by, sweep the waste into a pile, and light all of the trash on fire.  Nothing like a killer plastic bottle buzz to start off the morning – just sit back, and feel the brain cells melt away.  Ahhh……………………………sorry, I passed out for 14 hours because someone lit the waste basket on fire in the Cyber Café as it was nearly full.  Luckily, they didn’t open a window to kill the party.  Hmm…now I can’t remember how to spell my name.  Oh, there it is – Yex.


2) Showers – Running water?  Only for freaks and weirdos.  Here the plan is simple: take your nearest bucket, drop said bucket in the well, pull it out after it fills (hopefully the color is only a slight tint of brown, and the frogs and disease-transmitting worms are absent) and enjoy!  Maybe this explains why my skin is covered in a strange red rash that has taken control of the left side of my body.


3) Toilets – This took some time to get used to.  Most of the families have latrines here thanks to our first project that we finished.  Blessed be the Lord that this project happened, or else I would have had to squat and work my magic in a field.  I can only imagine what would crawl into my nether regions in a Salvadoran shit field.  Plus, in case those little critters weren’t aware, my cornhole is a strictly enforced “exit only.” Alas, we have latrines.  You climb the stairs, open the door, and break up the fly convention.  Lift the lid, then plop your buns on a strange, cement, toilet-like structure, or if shy, just pull the old hover move.  I prefer the hover, because then the spiders can’t dine on my gluteus maximus.  Upon finishing, if you were fortunate enough to bring toilet paper, toss it in the hole.  If you had a momentary memory lapse and forgot the TP, that newspaper you were reading takes on a whole new function.  (Added bonus: if you didn’t have a chance to finish the article you were reading, wipe backwards, so you can read it off your ass in the mirror later).  Now, dump some dirt on the pile of dump in the hole, sprint from the latrine, and resume breathing.


4) Transportation – A death defying experience and possibly the newest extreme sport.  For me to go three miles, it takes a good hour and a half.  I would walk, but then would have to fight off community after community of dogs, drunks asking for money, and legions of adoring she-fans.  So, I take the pickup. The pickup is simply a pickup truck…packed completely full of people, chickens, foodstuffs, and machetes.  You’re lucky if you can get a hold on something to anchor yourself other than a bag of radishes or someone’s goiter.  Once moving, it is important to remember that there are no two lane roads in El Salvador.  Driving involves weaving in and out of cows, pigs, dogs, other cars heading directly at you; and often one of the two lanes have been taken over for hundred yards to dry out corn.  My favorite tactic upon beginning my trip in the pickup is to linger around a garbage fire, breathe in some fumes to stoke your plastic high, then hop in and pretend it’s a video game (“Dodge the Cow” or maybe “Nightmare on Dirt Street”).  Upon arrival, I change my underpants, and go to my destination.  It’s actually not that bad, but some it takes some serious getting used to.  Unfortunately, my toupee never looks the same afterwards.


5)  Mirrors – There are none.  I glanced into a stagnant puddle the other day and was greeted by a second head.  His name is Yess.  He’s nowhere near as attractive as the original.


6)  Food – Beans and tortillas; tortillas and beans.  I’ve finally lost that impossible-to-burn post-pregnancy fat, as well as all of the muscle mass in my body (I know, its sounds far-fetched due to the copious amounts of muscle mass, but I’m only eating beans and tortillas, and the tapeworm in my small intestine consumes way more than what he provides, the greedy little scamp!).  So you people out there enjoy your pizza, hamburgers, sushi (there is sushi here, but they generally attach it to a hook), and other delicacies.  Laugh it for now up jerks, ‘cause when I get home, I’m giving all of you malaria with a chaser of Dengue fever.


So, those are just some of the differences of this crazy little place called El Salvador. There’s other stuff, but Yess, my other head, is sleeping and he’s in charge of remembering that kind of stuff.  I’d wake him up, but he’s a righteous bastard after he naps.


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