Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To and Fro

Yesterday I got full use out of the car and out of the mapping center in my brain. My errands began with a trip to Comasagua (on the opposite side of the capital from Suchitoto) to take our regular donation to Nubia's family. It was fun to be met by Nubia's little sister, Veronica, as well as by Nubia and her mother, and I was happy to learn that Nubia's brother, Miguelito, is also in school, in 6th grade. Nubia just turned 13, and has grown a little this year.

That was the fun part of the day. Then I went, as quickly as the complicated pathways of San Salvador permitted, to:
The El Arbol de Dios gallery to arrange for lunch for our group on Feb. 20th;
The supermarket for plastic utensils for our Feb. 20th pizza night and - most important - for chocolate syrup to go over the coconut ice cream.
Office Depot for envelopes;
The bottle store, to buy 50 bottles for cough syrup and rehydration syrup;
The bank, for some cash for the mission week;
A medical supply store for cytology slides and scrapers;
The Archdiocese of San Salvador offices to check on our medications permission;
PriceSmart for more beverages for the week;
POPS for 3 half-gallons of coconut ice cream to go under the chocolate syrup;
and Leslie Schuld's house to deliver the ice cream, chocolate syrup, plates, napkins and spoons for Feb. 20th (Leslie is kindly hosting us for the traditional pizza and ice cream evening).

Then I drove back to Suchitoto in the dark.

Now this may not sound like all that much, but Eleanor Gilmore, who did this work before me, will be able to follow in her head the complicated pathways I mapped out to get these stops in the right sequence. San Salvador traffic is hopelessly complicated because left turns are illegal almost everywhere in the city, the pattern of streets is interrupted by deep arroyos, quebradas, traffic is always heavy in the capital, and legal parking almost non-existent. And more: landmarks are known by their former use (the ex-embajada and excuartel), streets in the capital's generally sensible numbering system get renamed (so 75th Avenida Norte, a major street, appears on street signs and some, but not all, maps as Napoleon Viera Altamirano), and the big signposts tell you what street you'll get to, eventually, if you turn right - not what street you're turning on to. I regard learning Spanish and plotting the pathways for a full day's worth of errands in San Salvador as good medicine for my aging brain.

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