27 January 2006

Companeros - Day 8

Walter needed to be at CIS by 8:30 or so and Kathy wasn’t flying back with us so they rode to San Salvador with Bob earlier than we needed to leave. We said our goodbyes to them then had breakfast, loaded up the van and said our goodbyes to the Pastoral Team then headed to the airport.

On the way, Alej called to me (sitting directly behind him in the van) to point out where his house was. I waved to it (Muevo a tu casa!). He also pointed out a maximum security prison he’d told me about in one of our previous discussions. The prison is Zacatecaluca (or something like that) but they call it Zacatraz after the US’ Alcatraz. And he asked me to write down my home address. All week, I’d been bugging him about a photo of his family. He’d promised me that on Friday (today) he’d have it but apparently didn’t. He wanted to mail it to me.

We arrived at the airport a little before 10:00 and it wasn’t open yet (!?!?) so we waited outside until they let us in. We checked bags, got tickets, paid the exit fee (up to $32 from $27.35 as in the past) and headed up to the gate to wait. And wait. Our plane wasn’t due to leave until 1:20 giving us LOTS of time to wander up and down the terminal, looking in the duty-free shops, reading, etc. We could tell when time was getting closer as the smell of Camperos chicken started to build.

The flight back to the US was without incident. The movie on the way back was even worse than the one on the way down…Roller Bounce or some such. I watched about 5 minutes of it and decided to read instead. The meal was every bit as awful as the movie seemed to be. The choice was beef burrito or chicken sandwich. I decided to try the burrito. Marcia, sitting next to me, had chicken. Neither of us ate much of either. The rest of the meal was a small Greek salad, bag of potato chips and packet of Oreos. The salad was good. I’m not normally much of a potato chip- or Oreo-eater but I ate these because there wasn’t anything else.

In Houston, we had the quickest processing I’ve EVER had. The lines were non-existent at Immigration, our bags came up right away on the carousel, and there weren’t any lines at Customs, either. I did get stopped a couple times (just before Customs and again just after) by people asking me if I had all my bags…apparently it looks a little odd to be coming from an international flight with only one duffle and a day pack. Everyone else checked the bags they needed to and we trammed to our next gate.

About the time we got to the domestic terminal, Blair realized that he was missing the bag of stuff he’d bought at the airport in San Salvador…a book on the national parks of El Sal and a bottle of some type of alcohol. We figured it must have been mislaid at the security checkpoint back at the other terminal. He came to the gate with us and left his carry-on then went back to see if he could find his bag. He couldn’t. But that was the only glitch to the trip home.