Are you From CNN?
Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
108Trip End Oct 23, 2009
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With that picture in your mind, how do I even begin to describe this place? Add to the squalor some noise, crowds, chaos, gridlocked traffic, and sidewalks full of life. This brew could prove toxic and easily overwelming to the uninitiated. As for me...I thrive on this type of environment. For everything that fills the air and my senses, one element is missing though...heat with humidity. Teguc as the locals call it is several thousand feet above sea level inside an earthquake prone valley.
Just a quick wander around downtown starts the flow of adrenaline in every way
Besides a lack of heat or humidity, something else hit me as well...no gringos or backpackers to be found. Did you ever wonder what it feels like to stick out like a sore thumb. I wish I could turn heads like this at home! At six feet tall I tower above everyone here and can see all the way down the streets above everyone else. It's like a sea of brown hair below me. This is something I have experience over and over and Latin America but I had forgotten about it.
For anyone who maybe has looked beyond Entertainment Tonight, In Touch or People recently, a military coup and civil unrest have made the headlines. Actually I take that back...it seems to be more of a Page 17 Section D level of coverage back home so I forgive anyone who may have let Tom and Katie's marital problems overshadow world events
So as not to invite a mugging, I was very discreetly taking pictures when a girl in her early 20s asked if I was with CNN. I told her no and after looking at my camera she advised me to be very careful with the camera since I was from CNN. About ten minutes later I went inside a Radio Shack to buy a USB device to hook my camera card up to a computer and the salesguy asked me in Spanish if I was from CNN covering the politics. I told him no and he didn't seem too convinced. He reminded me to be very careful since I was covering local events for CNN.
Not thirty minutes later I was buying some snacks and a crowd began staring at me inside the store. Someone shouted out, "CNN?" and fearing the lynch mob, I quickly explained I was not with CNN in broken Spanish. This dude stared at me for about ten seconds before finally turning away, though thoroughly unconvinced. Did Anderson Cooper piss some people off down here? I guess the locals must assume in the absence of gringos other than me wandering around, I must be a journalist
Armed guards are everywhere downtown (just like most big capitals down in this part of thw world)...inside Radio Shack, Church's Fried Chicken (no, I didn't eat that crap!!), and even the internet cafe. And this is the "good" side of downtown. Hold on to your backpacks and purses everyone and keep one eye on your wallet. The crappy side is actually across the Rio Choluteca in a slum twin city called ComayagŁela. Talk about rough. The road from the airport passes through this area's streets that are about as rough as it gets. People live in wood shacks with plastic roofs and trash is everywhere. ComayagŁela makes South Central and Compton look like Rancho Palos Verdes or Malibu. Seriously.
The bus to San Salvador, El Salvador leaves from this area tomorrow at 5:30am so of course a taxi ride for a few bucks to the bus station is absolutely necessario to stay safe. And speaking of the bus to San Salvador, can someone explain this one to me? I tried to buy a ticket today at the bus company's office, and the agent told me he would sell it "in a little while." I asked how long "a little while" is, and he just shrugged his shoulders and went back to staring at the wall. I told him I was in a hurry and when pressed he said "maybe 10 minutes." Keep in mind all this is transpiring in broken Spanish and I had an idling taxi waiting across the four lane traffic choked street.
All of a sudden after milling about for 8 minutes, he uncrossed his arms, let out a dramatic sigh, and plopped himself down at the computer
I don't think the woman standing outside her store quite knew what she was wearing. Picture a faded yellow t-shirt with the words "I'm With Stupid" emblazoned across the front. Underneath this script of course was the obligatory yet witty arrow pointing to the side so as to target and embarrass whoever is standing next to her. Now picture this shirt stretching across a belly that was seriously about 12 months pregnant and straining against braless cleavage approaching double F proportions.
Where the arrow would normally have been centered across the belly, this one was pulled to the side due to mammoth dogfood bag size jugs complete with nipples the size Campbell's soup cans and the now misaligned arrow was pointing right to where her unborn child was incubating. No, I don't think she even knew she was advertising to all of downtown Teguc that her child was stupid and that she was with him or her.
Not that anyone here speaks English anyway...