Archive | March, 2012

Reading, Riding, Route 23

15 Mar

I had a really long post written that described my troubles on my last days before leaving, but then when i added a photo,, the draft was gone, so i will condense.  My father wound up riding with me to Chicago  leaving at around 11pm, he slept as i drove to O’Hare and then drove home at 3am,  This is what happens when you realize at the last minute you are flying out of Chicago, not Indy, and your arrangements to have your car picked up have to be changed.      So shortly after arriving in El Salvador I realized what a problem transportation was going to be.  Buses don’t run here after 7pm.  This is because crime is out of hand, i lived in Rio de Janiero, (the city of Rio had 1/3 as many murders as the entire USA last year.) and i could catch a bus anytime i wanted.  How crazy is that, that someone who lived in Rio would come here and be like “Wow crime is just out of hand here. ”

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1109.html#safety

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Anyhow i realized I didn’t want to pay $8 a day for taxi to and from my salsa class, so i decided to buy a scooter.  Used cars are crazy expensive here, but a new motor scooter costs about $1000, then I found out that for a scooter you have to have a motorcycle license, so i decided i would get whatever is the best deal between a scooter and a motorcycle.  Me and Nestor, Nestor will be a recurring character, go looking around for the best deal we can find.  This takes about a week, because we are contacting people he knows, looking at motorcycle repair shops and getting numbers of guys who are selling a bike, etc.  The problem became Salvadorans want the price they paid new for something used.  I could have bought a new Suzuki  motorcycle for 1100 with 2 helmets, plates and title ready to go.  Instead these guys are asking 1000 for their used scooter.    Me and Nestor decide to check out this one last place before going and just buying the new Suzuki.  Nestor, is my roommate, he found God in a prison riot.  He got deported to El Salvador, even though he had never really lived here before, he left when he was like 2.  Nestor has tattoos, that while aren’t explicitly gang related, in El Salvador if you have tattoos you are considered a gang banger.  This makes it not safe for Nestor to go to different neighborhoods.  Mejicanos is one of those neighborhoods, but we are going there just to check the bike and get out.  The place we went was among this line of wooden shacks that are tire stores.  Nestor doesn’t want to get out, because the guy isn’t answering his phone.  We can see the cycles behind the shack, so i park the van (i am allowed to drive the company van when it isn’t needed) and i start over just to check.  There is a dirt alley, where i see about 6 guys sitting around and one working on a motorcycle.  It’s Miguel, the guy who sells the bikes.  We pick out a bike, and he takes Nestor for a test drive.  Why Nestor, because I don’t know how to drive a moto.  Yes, San Salvador is the place where i am learning to drive a moto, if you don’t know why that is funny, see the link above about driving.    When you add to it coordination not being my strong suit, and you can know that this just isn’t a good idea.  Right now I don’t have a picture of the place but i will add it.  Anyhow I own a moto now.  In the process of transferring the title, getting a license, and all that good stuff.  Just goes to show how big a problem something as simple as transportation can be.

The photos i did attach show how Salvadorans handle transportation.   Me, Nestor and Sara are driving to another city.  We see two guys sitting on the top of stacked plastic chairs, Nestor asks Sara (a Salvadoran who lived here all her life)   “don’t the police say anything to them about that?”  Sara’s response “that is the police.”  Yeah they handle things the good old boy way here, need to transport 20 people, put them in the bed of a pick up truck.

I will tell you the story about me and Nestor’s first ride on the motorcycle after i get my license.  Some things are better left unsaid.

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Never meaning no harm

15 Mar

Never meaning no harm

Beat all you ever saw been in trouble with the law since the day they were born.

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Riding First Class

15 Mar

Riding First Class

That IS the Police!