The Astounding Travel Adventures of a Miraculous Fellow

Don’t eat the cheese.
June 10, 2008, 8:52 pm
Filed under: The Salvador



I ate the cheese. 


Good Lord in heaven why did I eat the cheese? 


It was just a normal meal, not too unlike all the others (beans and tortillas, tortillas and beans), but this one had a special hard white lump of queso duro – hard cheese.  Now I understand that the “hard” in “hard cheese” is being used in the colloquial sense, as one would use to describe Tupac, Fiddy Cent, and, depending what neighborhood you’re from, Ricky Martin (when he was in Menudo, of course).  (Ooh, and that kid from “You Got Served” (the one who says “you suckas got served”)).


Anywho, I fought the cheese and the cheese won.  The next morning I awoke and my stomach felt a little off.  An hour later the largest of my face holes was erupting with vomit. And every 30 minutes following, there occurred yet another eruption. Water; food; nothing could escape the wrath of the God of Queso Duro.  Thankfully, he is a merciful God, and only the North Pole on Planet Wheeland was erupting, the South Pole remained dormant. 


After a good few hours of this fun, Luis came over and I told him I was sick.  His reply: “Welcome to El Salvador.”  I threw up again. 


He decided to get the car and take me to the doctor.  Salvador, one of the workers from the radio station drove over, picked me and Concha up, and we cruised 30 minutes to the nearest clinic in Tierra Blanca with my head out the window so I wouldn’t barf in the car.


Alas, there was no doctor there, because he was doing his mango shopping at the market across the street.  So the friendly neighborhood drunk told me he could perform most surgeries for a can of Coors (any brain surgeries would require a Tall Boy, though).  As attractive as this offer was, I decided to wait for the real doctor, and took a seat.  I wasn’t quite sure if I was first in line, or if the cockroaches that were running around were going to get preferential treatment because they were locals.  


Once the doctor arrived, he let me right in and asked what I ate.  “Queso duro,” I replied.  “Ah” he said, apparently, this was all he needed to hear.  He gave me a shot in the nether regions, and sent me on my merry way.  I guess the cheese does this often, so they have some kind of magical antidote for the unfortunate gringo who makes the mistake of eating it.  


So, all in all, my first experience with Salvadoran health care was interesting, but I survived…so far.  Hopefully the Queso Duro will decide not to rear its ugly head again.  While the hospitals were not as luxurious as their American counterparts, they did a quick, efficient job, and the total bill for the visit, shot, and drugs to keep the vomit inside of my body came to a whopping three dollars.

Other than that, there haven’t been too many other exciting occurrences.  I’m living with a family that has 1400 children, all of whom thoroughly love staring at me.  No matter what I do, they stare at me.  I can just sit there, and they stare.  So, I just curse at them in English, which is one of my favorite pastimes.  ”What are you staring at shit eater?” I say in the nicest possible tones, like loving mother speaking to her newborn infant.  They continue staring.


There are some other things about El Salvador that are different than home.  The water here is strange to say the least.  It comes from a well, is dark brown, and I fear it with all my heart.  When I want to bathe, I have to tell the water to take a bath first (da dum dum, ching…take my wife please!).  The bugs here are f’ing ridiculous too.  The most obnoxious species on the face of the planet is called the carapacho.  It is a big, loud, shitty beetle that, as far as I have witnessed, has a lifespan like this:


  1. birth;
  2. repeatedly flying into the nearest person’s face;
  3. flying into a wall to its death;
  4. being eaten by a nearby cat.


The whole process takes 13 seconds.  So, if you do something really bad in your life, like cursing at Spanish-speaking children in English, you’ll be reincarnated as a carapacho. But, fret not, after 13 seconds you’ll move along to the next phase – maybe a duckbilled platypus or maybe even one of the devil hounds that runs amok in my village.  They seem to enjoy themselves when I ride by.


What else?  Oh, my new favorite TV show is called “Mujer con Pantalones” – “Woman with Pants.”  It is nowhere near as cool as its sister show, “Mujer sin Pantalones” – “Woman without Pants” – but the network goons repeatedly refuse my daily letters to put that on in its place.  “Mujer con Pantalones” is a glorious show about a woman who speaks Spanish to all of her Spanish speaking friends, and they cry and cry about stuff.  They live in a very sad place.  On “Woman without Pants” everyone is always happy.


The rainy season finally started here and the storms are unbelievable.  It’s like God himself ate the Queso Duro, and, unfortunately for him, he began vomiting electricity directly over my village.  The lightning and thunder are like nothing I’ve seen before.  It starts at one end of the sky and rolls, booms, and crashes all the way to the other.  It’s really impressive.  Then the rain pours in through the roof of my house directly onto my bed, and it’s not so fun anymore.  Apparently some dude got hit by lightning and died in a nearby village while taking a leak at night, so I should add that to the list of “Things Not to Do in El Salvador.”  So now instead of relieving myself outside to face certain doom, I just wet myself.  I’m too afraid of dogs, crocodiles, cheese, bugs, the water, lightning, machetes, scorpions, and whatever else I haven’t learned about yet.  So, it’s easier to just soil myself.  It’s far too risky to unzip my fly; that’s one package that needs not be damaged.


Well, that’s it from here, just another week in the life of a gringo in the Land of One Gringo.  


1 Comment so far
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i have had the worst day. but after reading this I think life might still be worth living.

Comment by Marc Wrinkle

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