Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lessons from El Salvador, Part II

Click here for Part I.

11. Always, always, always carry insect repellent and itch reliever.

12. Always carry a spare battery for your camera, even if the existing battery is fully charged. Carry two spares in hot, humid climates.

13. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want -- chances are, people will be delighted to help you out (give you guitar lessons, make phone calls on your behalf, hoist your bag, teach you silly ditties in Spanish...)

14. El Salvadoran chicken bus drivers are far more civilized and courteous than Guatemalan chicken bus drivers -- and bus fares are cheap!

15. Sometimes they're trying to sell you something. Sometimes they're trying to hit on you. Sometimes they're trying to do both at the same time. But sometimes they're just genuinely friendly and trying to makd conversation. Try to figure out which is the case before reacting too strongly.

16. When you hang around with somebody who knows everybody, lots of things are cheap(er) or free. But it's not always worth the price.

17. In a 48-piece orchestra, there may be 10 trumpets, 10 clarinets, and six tubas, but the single tiny piccolo still steals the show.

18. Weaving is not a practical travel hobby.

19. It is perfectly acceptable to do "nothing" some days.

20. You know you're doing alright with your Spanish when:
- You haven't bothered to use your dictionary in weeks
- You begin to resent other travelers who don't speak Spanish because they force the conversation into English
- After two and a half days, your new friend from Mexico (who speaks perfectly good English) comments on how strange it is to hear you speaking your native language

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