Just Click: View from the Co-Pilot Seat

Our pandemic virtual tour of El Salvador on this first day of April 2021 continues with another mobile destination.  But first, a brief job description:

Co-Pilot Responsibilities:
1)  Beginning the the task of greatest frequency:  Call out "hole" as quickly as possible when a hole simply springs out of nowhere. Sewer holes with no tops or with tops tilted so as to stand vertically in the holes are to be viewed with special treachery.  
2)  Also of frequent necessity:  Call out “túmulo túmulo” as many times as needed at increasing volume until the driver slows down enough to avoid launching the vehicle over the speed bump which is, of course, is most often encountered unpainted and hiding in the shadows of nearby trees.
3)  Perfect the peripheral glance and call out “go” with some urgency when the blind spot has cleared.
4)  Provide play by play when turning left onto a busy street, such as “ok, ok, ok for a bit, NOT OK, not ok, not ok, ok after the red truck ... and ... GO.”
5)  When a desperate situation warrants, roll down your window, flap your hand around and smile with your eyes (because you are wearing your mask) to plead with nearby drivers to let you into the lane of traffic. 
6)  Upon entering or exiting a tight parking space, particularly if obstacles such as high curbs, deep ditches or sleeping dogs are involved, hop out of the co-pilot seat, step behind the vehicle and be prepared to slap the back window to assist the driver in the maneuver. 

Now that you are familiar with the role of the co-pilot, let’s go for a ride.  Destination #6:  View from the Co-Pilot seat during the month of March.

The elections might be over, but the flags of the winning candidate, 
incumbent mayor of Antiguo Custcatlán, are still fluttering over the streets.

No matter where in El Salvador you drive and no matter what season it is,
there is always a pretty tree to be seen.

We drive past this corner in Apopa all the time.  The driver often
comments on sale prices and what the co-pilot might like to consider for purchase.

The co-pilot is usually more interested in what the hardware store
next door has for sale.  

And then one day, it rained.  Not just a little bit, but a full-on
thunder storm.  That is pretty rare in March.

On a rare March day, when the dust and ash have settled, clear views invite
excessive numbers of photos to be taken of the same route
which has been driven hundreds of times.

The simplest scenes are beautiful.

It is hard to comprehend just how big the San Salvador
volcano really is.

Trash fires (intentional or due to spontaneous combustion) and grass fires
(generally not intentional) are a common site
along the roadways during the month of March.

Valle de Ángel - the development project continues in the distance, 
as activists continue to try to save the aquifer from depletion.
In the meantime, another season of cane harvesting and planting has passed.

Traffic in the valley continues to increase and delays are paralyzing.
Where there are traffic delays, there is marketing.  These new fruit stands
have an amazing selection of fresh products.

Near Árbol de Paz circle on the southern side of San Salvador,
one side of the roundabout is perpetually clogged with double-parked cars.
The pupusa and tortilla makers do an incredible amount of business here.
The co-pilot asks herself:  is the level of car exhaust beneficial to the
flavor of these foods?

Cross this off the traffic bingo chart:  A public bus featuring both
Jesus and big fins up top PLUS a well-loaded grass truck in the same shot.

Stop and smell the roses.  Literally, the co-pilot could have jumped out
to smell the flowers and safely returned to her assignment due to
the stagnant flow of traffic on the troncal.

Hidden paths - small dirt roads flow out from main arteries into
every nook and cranny of the country.  El Salvador is densely populated,
but most of the life and living happens just out of sight, behind the walls, 
under the trees, in the valleys.

Sometimes the gate is open, and one can peek inside.  Do not be surprised
if this photo comes back for an encore in a blog story all its own.  
If you have 20 or more years of experience in Apopa, you might
see some clues.  Yes, co-pilot photographers have an eye for the curious.

However, this co-pilot photographer does not have the stomach
for the Pizza Hut Hawaiian bacon chipotle pizza. 
That sounds disgusting. 

The grandmother voice in the co-pilot's head is saying, "Down a 
sunny dirt road deep in bear country..." No bears.  Only cows.

Development below the south side of the volcano continues, and 
with it continues the struggle for justice for the environment, the displaced,
and those who struggle economically.

This Salvadoran flag is gigantic, just like the Masferrer traffic circle
project.  The exit out of this thing to go south onto Jerusalem
Avenue is super-dangerous from a visibility standpoint.  Just another
lesson in bigger is not always better and why co-pilots remain helpful.

Hope you enjoyed the latest tour!  I also need to give a shout-out to my husband, a.k.a. the driver, who does not mind too much when his co-pilot impersonates Hyacinth and says, "mind the pedestrian" in her best British accent or accidentally shouts out a curse word when a bus nearly invades her personal space.

Pandemic 2021 Virtual Tours of El Salvador


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