"The attraction is flying through the air on a cable."
"...stuffed with beans and cheese and a little grease."
In the Blackhawk March 11, 2003 San Salvador, El Salvador
Sovereign Territory San Salvador, El Salvador
Thursday March 12, 2003
The security guards checked in the engine, under the Jeep, verified credentials. Then the first giant steel gates open and close behind us before the massive metal barricade drops into the pavement and we can finally enter the clean, green and modern 26 acre compound. After two months traveling in the developing world, the US embassy is a strange place.
Karla had invited me to visit her and her husband in San Salvador. They're both Americans and John works at the US embassy here. They're both fantastic people and made my trip to San Salvador many times more fun and interesting. I even got a guided tour of part of the embassy most people can't get to.
"A model for all US embassies." This particular embassy is much nicer than most, as I can attest having seen the embassy in Guatemala City. That one is a big, nice building in a good part of town, but it's just that... a big building. Having rebuilt the Salvadoran embassy after an earthquake in the 80's, the one here is a
The Blackhawk Crew
model for all US embassies. Set back from the street with multiple buildings, tennis courts, lawns and a swimming pool. Secure and inviting for Americans serving a tour overseas... and completely cut off from the more sober realities of life in San Salvador. Aren't embassies technically even sovereign territory of the visiting nation?
While walking around the grounds we happened upon a bunch of US Army guys in flight suits walking back to their helicopters. They'd flown in from Honduras with a general who was attending a meeting at the embassy. It was great talking with them for a while and they even let me crawl inside the Blackhawk. It looked so huge compared to the Jet Ranger I used to get to fly in at the TV station I worked for in Cincinnati. When I mentioned that they said that's the helicopter they all learned to fly on and it's really not all that difficult. But look at that thing... can you imagine just hovering in mid-air in a helicopter the size of an apartment?
"Zip lines that traverse trees and towers." After a few meals with John and Karla and meeting their new Labrador puppy Luna
Ready for the Canopy Tour
(again, I miss my dog!)... Karla and I headed out of San Salvador for a canopy tour a friend of hers had already planned. There were about a dozen of us who donned climbing harnesses and clipped into zip lines that traverse between trees and towers. You may have seen photos of this being done high in rain forest canopies. There wasn't exactly much of a canopy here, but the attraction is flying through the air on a cable. It was much fun.
Oh, and a brief word about food. There was a request for more info on the food I eat down here. Usually it's not all that interesting, but if you have a chance to try pupusas, don't pass it up. They're to El Salvador what hamburgers are to the US. It's the cornmeal you'd use for a tortilla stuffed with beans and cheese and a little grease. Fantastic and cheap. I hear you can get them in cities like LA and DC where there are large Salvadoran populations.