Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Downtown San Salvador and a Rant

On Sunday I had the opportunity to visit downtown San Salvador. Downtown San Salvador is like a lot of inner cities.  It has a lot of people packed into a small space and there are some very evidently poor areas with inadequate housing and infrastructure.  It is also an area with a high crime rate and so Jenny felt it was important for me to go with a "local".  While I have cruised through on the bus, this was my first time to get out and explore. Sunday was a great day because while everything was open, but there was a lot less people than on a Saturday.

On Sunday, I met up with Ruby, a lovely women from ADES, and she showed me the important places and she bought fruit and vegetables at the market.
The San Salvador Cathedral
The Cathedral was beautiful, inside and out.  It has giant dome on part of it.  This makes this building very visible from all over the city.  It is a good way to keep track of where you are!  Around the building are vendors selling various crafts and religious artifacts.  I bought a  Mons. Romero t-shirt.  Just about everyone in El Salvador has at least one.

If you are in downtown San Salvador and need a bathroom, the one's at the Cathedral are very nice.  You have to pay to use them - 15 cents without toilet paper or 20 cents with toilet paper!  They are lovely, clean and there is running water.
The Crypt in the basement of the Cathedral.  This is where the Bishops and Archbishops are buried.  They also hold masses here.  
It is hard  describe how I felt walking into the Crypt.  It is a place that just feels "Holy".  In part of the crypt is Mons. Romero's tomb.   People in El Salvador believe that he is both a Martyr and a Saint.  There are groups of people pressing the Vatican to have him declared both.  Even without these formal titles, Oscar Romero is an example of the best that the Church can be.  He inspired and gave hope to millions of poor Salvadorians at a time when there was very little to be hopeful about.  He was assassinated on March 24, 1980 while preaching at a hospital in San Salvador.  During his funeral at the Cathedral, a smoke bomb went off and snipers fired in the crowd from nearby rooftops.  I have seen footage of this horrific event.  It actually now feels like a peaceful place all these years later.   
Mons. Romero's tomb

The main sanctuary in the Cathedral

Palace National - The Government Building which contains the Legislature.

So from Downtown San Salvador to Plaza Mundo.  This is a large shopping mall about half way between downtown San Salvador and my home.  Take a look at these pictures from Wendy's and see if you can notice what has got me upset!

If you noticed, that the menu is completely in English, you get an A+.  The discussion about whether these businesses ought to be here, is long over.  Wendys, Burger King, McDonalds, Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken,  Quisnos, Mister Donut, and Pizza Hut are here.  However, I believe it is a sign of great disrespect to the Salvadorean people that their signage is in a foreign language.  I think if they are going to operate here, then they should translate their corporate material into Spanish.  To their credit, there was some window signage in Spanish and the items on the trays (tray liners, cups, fry cups etc.) were in Spanish.  The fact that their menu is in English just smacks of bad colonialism.  If you are interested I can share more about the state of English in other fast food outlets in El Salvador.  This one is the worst I have found.

1 comment:

  1. "WOW, it's a great deal at WENDYS today. Heck, I can feed both me AND my wife for the fine price of only $7.25 for two combos. I won't have bus fare for the ride home, as my entire day's wages will go to buy the combos, but I can try my luck thumbing it home...I'll cross my fingers with my other hand to hope a marero won't pick me up on the way. That's ok, my pockets are empty most the time anyway."