As we were coming in for a landing it was already obvious that we were not in Akron, Ohio anymore. Palm trees dotted the landscape and roofs tended to be made out of corrugated metal instead of shingles or tar flat roofs. The heat greeted us immediately as we walked off of the plane. The airport, like most of the buildings we saw, had major areas open to the elements. Who needs to be hermetically sealed in a building when it never snows I suppose.
Customs was not as horrible as we were told it was going to be. As we snaked through the line we saw a fair amount of surfers with their boards in large bags. Another group was on a mission trip and as we passed each other zigzagging through the ropes we would fill each other in on the plans of our trip.
I understood almost nothing that my customs agent said. I took six years of Spanish but remember almost none of it and certainly even less so when it is spoken quickly. The only two lines I really got were, “You must pay $10” which is standard for everybody and “You’re done. Go.”
There was a button everyone had to push also. It was connected to a stop light and took on the feeling of a game. If, when you hit the button, it turned green, you were free to enter the country. If it turned red, a buzzer would sound and you had to go over to a table and have your luggage gone though. (I got green!)
Jason, the young man who put the trip together for us, was waiting on the other side of the glass doors from customs. That was a particular relief in a foreign country. He took us to the curb where we awaited our transportation. It was odd seeing how many people, old and young alike, stood in the back of pickup trucks to be driven around, not something one would want to get caught doing in the United States. Surfers spent considerable time tying their luggage and boards to the tops of much more expensive modes of transportation. We were afforded a truck and a microbus to head into San Salvador. It had air conditioning of sorts but it wasn’t enough for 12 people and the hot, hot sun so we road with the windows down the wind being a relief.
TO BE CONTINUED