Resurrection in El Salvador:
As we prepare to leave Miami, the flight attendant liked my travel show and bumped me from coach to first class. Alone in leather seats with my drink in a real glass, I look out the window and wonder "why did God put me here?" A chain of lights leads to Key West. Then deep in the blackness glitters the forbidden city of Havana. The pilot's door is fortified as we fly to El Salvador.
Landing in San Salvador, I'm met by Cesar who whisks me away in his car. In the coin dish I see shiny Lincolns and Washingtons. It's been 13 years since I was here last. My coins have become the local coins, and I'm in for big changes.
To many, this is boom time. Chains are thriving — Pizza Hut, Texaco, Subway. The Marlborough Man looks good on his horse. The Civil War is long over and, driving through town, it seems the US victory has been a huge success.
The minimum wage is about $1 an hour ($144 a month). It costs $3.50 to go to a movie. Cesar explains that, in El Salvador, a worker is happy to be employed. While in the USA minimum wage is a rock bottom level, most Salvadorans aspire only to minimum wage and that's all they get.
After one day, I'm settling in quite well. I'm speckled with bug bites, used to my frail cold shower, noisy fan, and saggy bed. I know that paper clogs the toilet and it's best to brush my teeth with bottled water. El Salvador provides the Norte Americano with a warm — and muggy — welcome.