Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To Canada and Back

On Saturday morning I woke up early, after a great party on Friday night.  My sister had organized a "farewell gathering" for me that went late into the night.   I had a hot shower, dressed and finished packing.   My sister's friend Sarah had also spent the night. As she lives in Toronto, she offered to drive me to the airport.  Of course, we stopped at Tim Horton's along the way.  I opted for a toasted everything bagel with butter and a chocolate milk.  Sarah and I eventually found the drop off point for Lacsa -the official airline of Costa Rica (or rather Taca, another part of the same airline).  I checked my overweight luggage and paid the additional cost (interestingly much, much less than on Air Canada) and was off to security and then to browse the shops.

At all of the newstands in the airport, right beside the cash register is this week's edition of Maclean's magazine.  The story on the cover is "Can your pilot really fly your plane???"  I found this hilarious and at the second newsstand took a picture.  The person beside me said that she already had taken a picture...(At the moment I am having issues and my camera memory card isn't talking to my computer otherwise, I'd share the picture.)  Of course I bought some diet coke and I through in some Smartfood for good luck.  I also found another couple of books that I couldn't live without...

Then I boarded the plane and 5 hours later, I was in El Salvador.  The departure area (where you walk through when you arrive) is air conditioned.  The arrivals area with customs, immigration and baggage is all open.  When I hit that area I knew that I was in El Salvador.  The airport is near the ocean and as a result it is always very hot and humid.  The lines moved quickly and I was soon ready for pick-up.  The airport was packed.  There were lots of people everywhere.  I went to the "pick-up" area and being relatively "tall" in El Salvador I could stand on my tip toes and look for people I knew.  After about 10 minutes - Ana Ruth found me and told me Daysi was circling in the truck.  Daysi and Ana Ruth work in the area of youth training and development.  Interestingly they are the only women I have met in El Salvador who drive.  They had brought the pick-up from ADES where the back hatch doesn't open.  Looking at my suitcases they decided we needed help and an airport employee and a police officer made short work of hoisting them into the back of the truck.  We were off.

We decided that we wanted to stop for pupusas (the national food of El Salvador).  Daysi and Ana Ruth wanted to go to an area that overlooks the city of San Salvador.  It was a lovely view as we sat and ate our meal.   Of course, the suitcases had to moved from the back of the pick-up truck into the cab.  We managed to do that ourselves (gravity working in our favour).  On our way back, some men who work at the restaurant we were at came to help with suitcases.  They even found a piece of plastic to cover them because it looked like it might rain!

We were then off to Jenny and Jonathan's house.  Jonathan arrived just in time to help with suitcases.   He and Jenny's boyfriend Nelson even carried them up the stairs for me.    I pulled out Farmer's Market oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and mini cinnamon buns and everyone ate.  Cinnamon buns were a completely new food item for people here.

Saturday night was early for me as I was exhausted and Sunday was a very low key day as well.  Monday it was up at 4:45 am  to catch the bus to Guacotecti.   And the new week has begun...

It is amazing to me how a 5 hour flight can take me between two worlds.  In Canada, of course I love all of my friends and family.  It was awesome being able to have my 4 year old niece Rachel curl up on my lap and let me read her a story.  The creature comforts are nice.  I love hot showers and a eating a wide variety of foods.  On the other hand there is something lovely about the simplicity of my life in El Salvador and about how much more I feel connected to the planet and the environment.  There is a kindness and welcoming in the people here that I don't find often in Canada.

Thank you for all of your hospitality while I was in Niagara Falls and Waterloo.  Now I need to finish up my time here and then I will return to write the next chapter of my life in Canada.

Thanks to my friend Anneliese, I had the opportunity to meet with a reporter from the Kitchener Record while I was home.  I asked the photographer to capture my "skinny" side which I think he did...Here is the link to the story that appeared this past Saturday