Mickey and I returned to El Salvador with no drama or delay, the only little wrinkle is the current jet lag after a red eye flight. Finding the cheapest tickets warranted an early morning (1:00 am) flight to Mexico City with a five hour layover until we had to catch our San Salvador flight. Mickey was a trooper, but to quote Ben, "he looks like a truck hit him".
There were tears shed as we said our airport good-byes to my sister Colleen, "Auntie CoCo" and my dad, "Papa". Never one for long farwells, I like to rip off the band aid and deal with the quick, sharp pain, instead of a lingering dull ache. Unfortunately, with Ben and J.P. leaving first, in addition to all of the necessary preparations for our departure, it turned into an extended "adios".
Even though I was extremely excited to get back aboard Knee Deep, I could feel the swell of emotion building, which was assisted by a heavy dose of PMS. In Mickey's case, it resulted in a good, long cry laying in our bed, while I loaded up the car. The most difficult part for him has always been the long absence from family and friends. As listened to the wailing upstairs, I second guessed this whole summer visit, wondering, "maybe it would have been easier to stay in Central America and not put him through this."
But in true kid form, by the time we were getting on the plane, he was smiling and talking about seeing his friends that live on sailboats. His sadness has dissipated and he was happily splashing around in the marina pool with his brother by dinnertime. I am in constant awe at how resiliant children can be.
In contrast, J.P. packed up his backpack, gave his mom and everyone else a quick kiss, grabbed his dad's hand and walked off down the airport terminal without a backward glance. He loves his family and friends dearly, but enjoys the adventure sailboat life offers. This may be why these two brothers are such good friends, balancing each other out and learning many lessons from one another.
Mickey and I arrived in San Salvador around 3:00 p.m and made our way through Immigration and Customs without incident. Fortunately, Ben had hauled most of the "illegal" things (prescription drugs for friends, boat parts and beef jerky) with him, so I was quite relaxed when pushing button to see if our bags would be searched. I smiled at the thought of custom agents digging through our luggage only to find textbooks, swim goggles, stuffed animals and Christmas presents for the boys. I am happy to report I was able to fit in a bottle of my favorite wine and the wine glasses I received for my birthday. It really doesn't take much to make me happy!
When we exited the terminal, there was a man holding a sign stating, "Bienvenida Molly" (Welcome Molly!). Ben had befriended the cab driver that took him from the airport a few days earlier and hired him to pick Mickey and I up. Being married for 12 years, he has learned that this is one of my favorite things....being greeted at the airport. Sure, it wasn't him standing at the exit with a bouquet of flowers, but to me it was just as sweet! Emilio was a bit taken back when I exclaimed, "Que es una sorpresa!"...which hopefully means "What a surprise!" I'm hoping it wasn't some strange slang for "Hey, your fly is down". Turns out he has a newborn baby and of course, Ben and he bonded over having two sons.
As we took the 30 minute drive to our marina, I smiled at how good it felt to be back. Making our way down the road I took comfort in the cows randomly wandering the streets, ferrel dogs chasing cars and women walking roadside, carrying pupusa baskets atop their heads. I even enjoyed the three close call head on collisions we avoided, as we sped top speed down the two lane highway. Mickey and I chuckled when the song, "I'm Sexy and I Know It" came on the radio full blast. We were home again!!
Ben was ecstatic at how well our boat has held up in our absence. The engine fired up right away, the interior was clean and there was no dreaded infestation of bugs which can often happend when leaving a boat in the water. We have pulled the boat into the marina for a few days as we prepare to set sail for southern latitudes. Some of our friends are ready to leave as well so we should have some company.
The rainy season is wrapping up here so the lightening and thunderstorms should start to dissipate which is our biggest concern. Our current plan is to either sail two days to Costa Rica or stop halfway in Nicaragua. As always this is contingent upon weather, wind, etc.
Again, thank you to all who let us housesit and to Papa and Colleen who tolerated our family of four invading their home for the summer. Much love and hugs to all!
P.S. At some point I will catch up on writing about all of our Mexico and El Salvadorian experiences....or you might just have to wait for the book!