One of my favorite things to do in life is travel. It’s an incredible way to learn about other cultures, meet new people, and broaden your horizons. One of the cultures that I was able to experience in a recent trip was the Salvadorian culture, my husband’s homeland. I didn’t know quite what to expect. I did expect Salvadorian life to be somewhat different. However, I was surprised at just how different it was. Traveling to another country has given me a new perspective on a different culture in relations to mine.
It was August, 2010 when we took our family trip to my husband’s homeland. It was my first time visiting El Salvador and I was very nervous and scare. I had heard a lot of different rumors about El Salvador and didn’t know what to believe. My husband did not know much either since he had grown up in the states. This was his first time going back since childhood. The only thing he could remember about El Salvador was, that it was extremely hot and the temperatures reached about 100 degrees or more.Order now
The flight was quite relaxing, we didn’t have too much turbulence and we were able to get to El Salvador in about 3 hours. As the airplane was making its approach I remember looking through the window and witnessing an incredible view. It was a sunny day with bright blue skies, and the scenery looked like it was out of a tourist guide. I could even see some clouds gathering at the top of a mountain in the distance. It actually turned out to be a volcano called “El Volcan de San Vicente”.
When the plane finally came to a stop the captain announced over the intercom, “ Bienvenidos a San Salvador”. As I got out of the airplane and stepped into the jetway the first thing I felt was a wave of warm air and the smell of fresh soil; that reminded me of a strawberry farm I once visited in Florida. As we walked through the airport to get our luggage, I began to notice how much different this place was from what I was use to. We were then greeted by my husband’s uncle Jonathan, and we were shortly on the road on our way to my husband’s uncle’s house.
The drive to the house took about 45 minutes, it was located right outside the city of Zacatecoluca. On our ride to the house we got to see most of the cultural differences. The first thing I noticed was how other drivers had no regard for the speed limits or road signs posted, and cops never stopped them or bothered to care. Nowhere in the United States would that ever be tolerated. There was also a lot of people that traveled by foot, and I noticed that they were all dressed differently.
Most of the women wore long colorful skirts and the men mainly wore pants rather than shorts, which I found strange since it was so hot. As we were driving I could see that most of the roads were made of dirt and what looked to be pavers. As we continued to drive, we also got to drive by an outdoor market, where I saw things like raw meat, fruits, vegetables, and live stock for sale. It reminded me of a swap meets where people have their own little stands and are selling all sorts of things.
I also remember asking myself how they were able to preserve the raw meat without refrigeration, since it was out in the open heat. Sincerely, I would not buy any meat here. Things like this would not be considered sanitary conditions back home. When we arrived to my husband’s uncle’s house, there were a lot of his family members and their neighbors waiting to greet us. It caught my attention how courteous they all were, offering us native treats and drinks. They were all so nice and I felt like I was very loved and welcomed by people I have never met before.
Once I settled in, I was able to take a look around the house, I was surprised to see that the layout was unlike any I had ever seen before. The kitchen and the bathroom were pretty much in the backyard, instead of being on the inside. I had never needed to go outside to use the bathroom before, other than when I‘ve gone camping. I found this to be very strange and a little bit scary when I had to use the bathroom or I had to get a cup of water, in the middle of the night. It took me a while to get use to it, it made me miss having the comforts from back home.
One of the things that I did not miss about being in the states, was the fact that they had a maid to help them with making food and the cleaning of the house. She was an old lady who was such a kind and caring person, and she made the best “Pescado Envuelto en Huevo”. This was a fish which was dipped in egg batter and then fried, it was delicious. During my trip, I was able to witness and experience the Salvadorian culture which was surprisingly very different from the culture I am use to in the United States.
The way they dressed was different from what I worn and have seen, the manner in which they shopped for groceries at the market seemed unsanitary, and their method of driving on the roads was different from back in the States. I think it would be very interesting to see someone from El Salvador get to experience our culture and how we do things differently in the United States. Experiencing another culture was a great experience for me, where I got to witnessed someone else’s way of life.