We're here in San Salvador. We survived our first two weeks in the campo and we had to come to the city to get some documents. Like all bad bloggers, I've been meaning to blog but haven't. Really, I'm not a blogger anyway and I've been too sweaty to type. This post may be overly long, just to warn you.
Pre-departure June 14
We had a lot of luggage. We were carrying about 50 lbs of Victoria's Secret lotions as gifts, clothes for El Salvador, as well as winter clothes for Spain. We also managed to shove a full size floor pedestal fan in there too. I had called American Airlines to check on the baggage situation which was relayed to me as follows: each passenger is allowed one personal item, one carryon, and one checked bag (50lbs) free. 2nd checked bag is $30 and each additional bag is $100, up to 5 checked bags. Overweight bags are an additional $60. Well, together we had the four bags, plus one additional bag, plus carryons. We arrived at the airport and began the process of running back and forth to the luggage scale to get our bags at 50lbs exactly. Oh, this bag is 50.5.......take out a lotion and put it in the other bag. Wait this bag is 49.5, add one shoe. Finally we had it down to four 50lb bags and one overweight bag. Time to check in, finally. We go to the kiosk and check our bags and pay the 2nd bag fee for each of us but I can't pay for the 3rd (5th) bag. So I head to the counter, and the guy tells me there is some kind of embargo, 2 bags each, max. Imagine me internally having a mild heart attack. What do you mean there's an EMBARGO? OK, so no 3rd (5th) bag, but we can theoretically bring 4 overweight bags, right? Yes, except, effective TODAY, the price has increased from $60 to $100 per overweight bag. Now is when I wish we had bigger bags. Our bags are STUFFED. We had to leave behind a bunch of winter clothes and hope someone visits us.
Uneventful. They made M. gate check his carryon because he said it wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. At least we didn't get charged for it. I watched a Modern Family marathon to get me through the flights.
We arrived, got our bags, and I paid my $10 and got 90 days. Then we went to customs. Similarly to Mexico, there's a big stoplight, you press a button and if it's green you get to go through, if it's red, you take all your luggage over to the side so they can search it. Of course we got red. So we got in line for them to look at our stuff and I started sweating. Not because I was trying to smuggle anything in but because there's no a/c in the airport and it's rather warm in there. Once outside we found his family and headed out.
I noticed this last time I was here too-when you first exit the airport, El Salvador smells like it's burning. Last time I arrived during daylight and noticed that like Kyrgyzstan, all the tree trunks along the road are painted white. Well this time it was dark and it suddenly clicked that with the absence of streetlights, the trees are painted white so you can see them and not crash into them.
We got to the family's house pretty late, like 11. M. decides this would be a great time to dump everything out of our bags and give everyone their gifts. I wanted to scream but I controlled myself and just let it go and then fell into bed exhausted.