Next Stop: El Salvador (or, "Livin' On a Prayer"), or ("You'll Learn How to Surf Within 4-6 Weeks I Swear-Ere")

Tomorrow we'll move to El Salvador. I've never been to Latin America before. Not even Tijuana. But I've been close, like when I used to listen to that Grateful Dead song "Mexicali Blues" over and over while me and my friend Steve joyrided (joyrode?) to Safeway in his parents' Ford Escort. Sometimes when I hear that song now that I'm older, it reminds me of those lawless days and it makes me feel like I'm young again, in the slammer. I am kidding. I've never been in the slammer, unless by "slammer" you mean "slam dancing to 'Unbelieveable' by EMF, which really isn't a song to which one ought to slam dance." If that's what you mean, then, yes, I've been in the slammer.

Savannah imagining herself killing the hill. 2005.
When I was in kindergarten one of my best friends was a kid named Alejandro Rodriguez. He had a rattail and he could run super fast. Some of the less culturally sensitive kids called him Speedy Gonzalez, but not me. I called him the Road Runner, because the Road Runner is ethnically neutral. And as a child -- as I do now -- I believed in ethnic neutrality. And centaurs.

But I think I'm ready to thrive in Central America. I've become quite proficient in Spanish over the past several months. The only Spanish I knew prior to my recent intensive language training was what I learned in seventh grade Spanish class with Ms. Paine, who was cute to the extent that it was hard to focus when she rolled her "r's." And when she enunciated her "t's." And when she used vowels. And I guess I liked how she said her "m's," too. And I recall being fond of the way she said her "d's."

Now I'm basically fluent in Spanish. Ms. Paine would be pretty impressed. But I'd be like, "Look, I know you're impressed but I'm totally married. Also, I have a ton -- a TON -- of money, but, sorry. Taken."

I don't really know what to expect in El Salvador, beyond pupusas. I feel like when you say "El Salvador" to an American they say, "Oh, right, I love pupusas." And I'm like, "You know, there's more to life than food. Like gangs." El Salvador obviously has its problems with crime, but I'd like to point out that Honduras has the higher homicide rate. Also, Salvadorans are, by all accounts, warm and pleasant, and the surfing there is reportedly amazing. I've never surfed before, but I've imagined myself surfing, so I feel like, as Bon Jovi would say, I'm 80% of the way there. "Ohhhhhh... we're 80% of the way there-ere!! Oh-OH! Livin' on a prayer!! Ohhhhh... you'll learn how to surf within 4-6 weeks I swear-ere!! Oh-OH!! Livin' on a prayer!!"