My first big, overblown bitch about El Salvador

LaFoca's picture

You want to know what is scary in El Salvador? The freaking mail! Today, my mail arrived with a note, “Tramite Aduanal Urgente II.” The thing I needed most, two paychecks and some damned decent theatrical makeup was directed through customs at the airport for pickup.

To pick this up, I need the following:
1. One NIT – Salvadoran Tax ID number
2. It must be registered with customs
3. Original receipts for the items shipped to me
4. And they didn’t have my telephone number…silly me! MAIL needs a phone number now?
Apparently, a used leash for my dog, old cell phone from 2006 with all my addresses on it, and some makeup flagged them. THIS is the valuable stuff of life!

A 40 Inch Bravia Flatscreen LCD HDMI T.V. which I was willing to pay taxes on, did not concern them when I entered this country. And a Bose Wave stereo system...nada! Completely understood, because every Salvadoran needs music, right? The XBox and three games...usado! (I put grease fingerprints all over the new console). Not a problem.

But God DAMN that makeup that came today! And it was a brand I'll never get here...Dermablend.

Now for those of you who have never had to cover tattoos or facial discolorations, or even scars...this is inconsequential. But for us, this theatrical makeup is the only brand that completely covers my husband's tattoos...making him suddenly a "decent man" until we get them removed. This makeup won't sweat off, wash off, slap off. I could shoot him all day with dish soap and this shit wouldn’t budge. And it's the thing we needed most. But customs had a gnat up their ass. Apparently, makeup was something they needed to investigate.

So tomorrow I put more makeup on my husband, more foundation, powder, blush, and coverup; and off to the airport we go. Him with his attitude of, “This is my fucking country, God DAMN it! And you WILL give up our shit!”

And me with my most humble apologetic face, the type you’d see with a palm outstretched and two downturned eyes like something Cantiflas would whip up...as I said, “Dos pesos, por favor,” in my most pitiful voice. And you can bet that Agnes Moorehead has nothing on me when it comes to acting!

Drama queen? You BET! And if they don’t like it, kiss my big ol' Latin-American ASS!

For God's sake! The man is already working in El Salvador as a salesman for a global communications company, making more than most anti-immigrant bricklayers and construction workers living in the states! He's not breaking laws, he's observing them to remain alive. He's not "leaning like a cholo," he's dressing like Tiger Woods.

But this is the provincial crap that pisses me off about Central America. Got tattoos? You must be the dirt waiting outside our door to rob our vestal virginal daughter of her feigned chastity. Or at least, you have to be there to rob us of our green nubby furniture that nobody in the world has seen since the 50's. It's just GOT to be that! It's like even the wealthy here were raised in the year 1950, when sailors captured those "starry-eyed" 12 year old girls for their wives and planted flags here. The elite in this country can be about as sophisticated as a monkey picking lice off another monkey sometimes.

In El Salvador, if you are a man, you can screw five women here and impregnate them...leaving your offspring to fend for them self. But GODDAMN you if you have a tattoo! And I think you get bonus boogie points if you can raise your voice to a woman and terrify her. You should see their eyes when this Argentine bitch screams back! “Mama didn’t raise no fool!”

Okay, okay...I’m overreacting. THESE BASTARDS!! THERE...feel MUCH better! Ahhhhhh! Is it cocktail hour yet?

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Reply to your post

There seems to be something about having a position of small power in a government outpost that either attracts a certain personality type, or cultivates it, huh! Some can be swayed by blowing hot air, some by blowing kisses, some by wearing the right clothes, or perfume, and then there are some who it seems would be swayed to reason and compassion even if the Lord himself whispered in their ear.".....

All governments and bureaucrats worldwide, they and organized religions as well as twisted versions or religion such as Islamafacism have impeded progress of humanity more than all Wars combined.

If L.A. countries moderized their beauracracy, private busineesses became meritocracies, etc. Latin America would overtake US, teh way it going now in 10 years economicaly.

The Mail, Tatoos

I am retired on US Veterans/ Social Security, the Bi annual report forms from US come by Salvdoran Mail, twice here in ES, once in Guatemala have been suspended for having not received the report in the mail. It takes several days from the Correos to having the mail deliverd to your home. In States, I would be able to get a secure password on the SSA/Vets website and report on line.

Tatoos, again judge people by their character, I volunteered 2 years ago with a non profit assisting former Gang members and dportees to intigrate back into Salvadoran society, twelve years ago we were the theonly Maquilla hiring men with Tatoos and deported, as long as tehy had clen record in El Salvador, now many work in Call Centers, as many of those Salvadorans deported after years in USA, English is often their primary language and they think in English.
I volunteer, help to help when able, also have used my Paramedic skills here, volunteerwise.
Don't take any crap from anybody, Salvadoran or Gringo, do not have to.
By the way have ADD, PTSD, etc. so make mistakes typing, I type fast. No snide coments.
I speak 4 languages besides English and am able to read, understand 7 more.
I am a a cosmopolitan, thank you, not an old dumb American"
Too many EGOMANIACS WITH INFERIORITY COMPLEXES ON LINE, I have been in recovery since 1976, in and out of high social clases down to Inframundo, teh underworld, so do not try to BS a BS artist. Nuff said. Feliz Dia. saludos.

Nor should you have to remove them

...especially based on the blase thinking of another person's perceptions in life! As for the tattooed people in the corporate world? I had to laugh at that one. Many of the corporate fathers I've worked for were at one time rebellious youth, or in the military. Several CEOs I worked under told me about their tattooed escapades and a few showed them to me. Creative minds are also risk takers and people who drive themselves beyond mediocrity. So, many might be surprised just how UNconventional some CEOs really are, if you get to know them.

I recall one of the best Directors of Art I've ever had the pleasure of working with having a sleeve tattoo similar to my son's. She also had a neck tattoo, and she wore clothing that highlighted them when she wasn't on business meetings. Creative minds explore creative art forms, and for many there is an art to tattooing.

But then, I've never hired anyone that showed up to an interview wearing a gray suit. It seems as if they are hiding too much of their personality for me, and I'm turned off immediately. (And yes, I know that's bizarre, but it's my turn off). I want to see a person's reality when I interview them, not what they want to project, and the gray suit has negative symbolism for me.

I'm not a fan of tattoos. Never got one, myself. I married a guy with a few, and have a son with more. I saw something much more significant in my husband (who also grew up poor) and has proven to be a much more significant and remarkable man than those who judge his tattoos. So to me, a person is much deeper than body art or visual differences. It is the measure of what they learn in life, what they do with it, and how they leave this world improved that inspires me. And he has done all three in tens! And for those who always have to march to the drummer...be careful the tune you follow. Hitler led many average thinkers to doom.

tattoo's

Well, I pesonally don't have a desire to get rid of my tattoo's. I would wager that if you made a lot of business men strip, one might be surprised at what one finds. Their whole otward appearance is to be non descriptive so as to attract as much money as posible. I have grown up poor in the united states so the varying degree's of snobs and self important people are not new to me. Nor is the concept of tattoo's new to making a statement or the appreciation of a symbol. Stiking a cross up one's anal is now art in California for the sophisticated non'tattood class. Go figure.

I'm sure there are a lot of small things my brain doesn't consider in thinking about going to another country. So I liked reading the comments about tattoo's. and look forward to other topics.

Tattoos and perceptions

It is a class thing partially and somewhat of a provincial view of human beings. Even the so-called enlightened and elite have a social stigma over tattoos, in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and several other Central American countries. But then, you are talking about people who feel creativity is wearing a blue suit to work on brown suit day, so go figure! We're discussing people who ran from death squads to the U.S. hoping people would have compassion for their predicament, who turn around and call the death squads to deal with other people's predicament.

Here in El Salvador, the Funes government has confiscated every single laser tattoo removal machine, so that you have to register with the Government to have tattoos removed now. The reason? "Clinics were charging too much." Isn't that called capitalism and business...the same type of business where their very own plastic surgery clinics overcharge. The same capitalism that drives stores like Siman - a Salvadoran version of Macys - to overcharge? How about the fact that Super Selectos and Europas overcharges for groceries here, doesn't that bother the government too?

Such hypocrisy! In El Salvador, a tattooed person must register with the government, take three months worth of psychological sessions before they remove the tattoo. True, they now do it for free, but you don't have a choice, because they closed down all the clinics or took their equipment. Sounds like socialized tattoo removal to me! Don't tell Rush Limbaugh, because he'll be down here threatening to go to Costa Rica and I certainly don't wish that fat s.o.b. on my pals there. Even if you want to pay...you can't here! It's the government's personal effort to discriminate against bad decision making. Let's not talk about the government's own bad decision making, when the ARENA party murdered Oscar Romero, and now has amnesty for those thugs! Here in El Salvador, only SOME get a free pass.

I suppose if you are the son of one of the Siman folks who own all the department stores and donned a tattoo, you might be socially accepted. Hell! It might even become a national requirement. The people here will bend over and take it in the ass for enough money. Certainly, adopting the dollar to destroy the economy for their citizens has proven that. And the fact that the most comfortable man in this country will turn a vinegar nose towards another man and gossip about him like a hen sort of tells the story of how humanity is viewed here. .

Class is an oxymoron in El Salvador and many of these Central American countries. Simply, they may have wealth and power in these places, but class? Hardly! Let me be the first to say that there ARE those like my neighbor who are abundant with so much class and compassion that they demonstrate the best of the best in humanity. But for the most part, money here buys a form of insecure snobbery that is anything but classy. There is a tendency to look down one's sniped nose at their fellow man when that man falls on misfortune. They turn it into the most delicious gossip, and feel empowered by it. Hence, you have fatherless children and men who lent the sperm but never take credit or help and then chastize the son of the bastard that created him, not the bastard father. And therein lies the problem with El Salvador. It's a nation of bastards - both the fatherless type and the sons of bitches who act like selfish bastards without anyone calling them on it.

If you have tattoos like my son, (who is a creative spirit and has an entire sleeve of colorful artwork) then Central Americans will view you with disgust. The police will focus on you when the gang members hold up their relatives. Others will gossip about you, when they are cheating on their taxes. YES, it's that backward! Take my son, a college student who did two tours of duty in the Army...his tattoos brand him here as a thug. Simple? What do you expect from people who murder each other with buses over too much testosterone and too few brain cells?

Lisa, when I bought that phone in 2006, that I can't even GIVE away today, I had no idea I'd forget it while packing and have to ship it to El Salvador. Nor was I thinking my dog's leash would bobble heads. Turns out the makeup wasn't the head turner after all...and I must have recalled my husband was a black man, because its way too dark...LOL...and yes, he did ask! But receipts in Central America are a mandate. So here's what you do...you go onto Craigslist or Ebay and pull up the product...tell them you bought it there. Joila! You have a receipt to meet their anal retentive needs. HA!

But this did merit one thing...an editor contacted me from a publication called, The Legendary, and asked me to write an article about this for his publication. So, I can't tell you what happened at Comalapa Airport, until the article is released, but it just got better and better. I'll post the article here so you can all have a good laugh. It should be in The Legendary, April, 2010 Issue 16, released after the 24th. And any editor who compares my writing to Joan Didion ain't all bad! ROFL Even if I'm not seeing it.

I was also asked by another to volunteer a few travel articles for his publication...Eclectica Magazine...one of which is published this month. I am a giving spirit. I didn't even have to go through the submit and wait stage and they will mention my book when released. We both win! So here's the first article on El Salvador, from yours truly. http://www.eclectica.org/v14n2/toc.html with more to come as time permits with the rewrites on my book.

Also, I'm creating a new book about El Salvador, so watch out for that....Coffee Man.

Tats

Funny thing about tats. people get them to make some type of statment and show them off with pride. Then when its not convenent we cover them up. I think tats are viewed all over the world in the same way. Have you ever seen a professional buisness man in any country displaying tats?

Cory

Silly World

Oh Lafoca, you are just too funny! With all the chaos and insanity going on around you, you still find the humor. I know about this myself as there have been times that humor was the only thing that saved me from certain death. One silly question - if someone bought you something in the States and sent it to you, how are you supposed to have the receipt? OK, I know it was a really silly question. But then we are living in a silly world, aren't we.

tattoo's

I hadn't given any thoughts about the ramifications of having tattoo's in another country. I have two. On each arm. Prior military. Is this tattoo stigma a 'class' thing? Is it amongst the working class too? How about in Honduras and Guatemala? I would be really interested to hear about the dislikeing of tattoo's in your region if you have time to reply.

sitting behind the desk

There seems to be something about having a position of small power in a government outpost that either attracts a certain personality type, or cultivates it, huh!  Some can be swayed by blowing hot air, some by blowing kisses, some by wearing the right clothes, or perfume, and then there are some who it seems would be swayed to reason and compassion even if the Lord himself whispered in their ear.

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