hills, green and refreshing.
El Salvador makes me think of neon
pink, powerful waves and palm trees that
lined the beaches, nearly perfectly. Black
beaches and plastic bags, washed up Band-Aids and bottles. I stayed a few weeks, until
the air forced me out — it was heavy air,
crowded and dirty. Too small, too dense so
that I saw in every situation the really rich
and the really poor.
I surfed with the rich guys — they had
been educated in Florida and California
and learned the sport there. They took us
to their white stucco beach houses where
darker servants cleaned the pool, shimmied
up the palm trees to chop down coconuts
and crack them open to pour us drinks
with rum; and then in the night, we would
ride in their air-conditioned white SUV
and listen to the music of Counting Crows
as we curved so smoothly around the
mountains and so easily past barefoot babes
in the streets holding iguanas with their
heads chopped off, for sale.
I hitched a ride out with a guy driving
from Texas. He had saved up enough cash
bartending to take his camper, named Dol-
phin, through to Panama. He had a thing
for dolphins; I never understood. We conversed as we drove out of El Salvador, topical conversation about jobs and weather.
After crossing two borders in one day, one
into Honduras and one out, where men
hissed at me “Hola, Mamasita, hay Americana” and tried to lure Dol-phin-lover into a back room,
probably only to take his
money, we quit talking and just
Northern Nicaragua was
empty and tired. It rained, and
we rolled the windows down
anyway because it was so hot
that we sweated into the seats,
staining the backs. The roads
were worn, gone, and Dolphin-
lover asked why couldn’t they
just get the road fixed, and then I read out
loud about Hurricane Mitch.
He dropped me off in Rivas, Nicaragua,
at the market, by the bus stop, where
dozens of chicken buses waited and everyone told me they could take me to my
destination. But they didn’t even know
I found it’s usually better
to wait and take a few
dusty breaths, and then
COURTESY OF ELIZABETH BASNIGHT ’07
Amanda at the bus
stop in Rivas, where
she sells beef
wrapped in tortilla
and then fried.
Continuing your education is a wise choice. Whether you’re a part-time
student working towards a college degree or just ready to explore a new
topic, the Friday Center can help.
Through the Friday Center, nontraditional students across the state and around the world
have access to UNC-Chapel Hill courses. On campus or from a distance, online or via
correspondence, semester-based or self-paced, the Friday Center offers an extensive selection
of courses and formats to suit the needs of all types of students.
Visit fridaycenter.unc.edu or call 866-441-3683 for more information.