As the pilot's voice announces our impending landing, i look wearily out of the window at the landscape below. The muddy river undulating amid the emerald green valleys bear witness to the lushness of the rainy season that I just missed, and my mind morbidly wonders, as I incongruently marvel at the same time at the beauty of the "5 de Noviembre" reservoir's artificial lake, how many casualties the rain claimed this year, how many landslides, floodings and other wet catastrophies terrorized the poorest of the Salvadoran population, who, in spite of going through the same cycle of tormenting disasters year after year after year never seem to actually learn the drill and remain perpetually unprepared when the rains come.
I am immediately mortified by my own cynicism and wonder at this state of mind. This is the first time I land in El Salvador with such evident lack of enthusiasm and I feel how numb my spirit has become ever more acutely (again a paradox!) at my utter and complete indifference during the long turbulence the plane experiences while piercing through the largest of gray clouds. When we exit the cottony and unsettling cloud, the green pastures below reappear, although the rivers seem to have disappeared somewhere between the palm trees and the huge Mayan Ceibas and Conacastes, that look so tiny from up here.
On the other side of the airplane, I know the view is on the beaches and ocean front, yet not even that thought seems to have the capacity of cheering me up. I just want this plane to land already, to go through customs, pick-up my bags and be done with the whole thing. Not even the thought of soon hugging my loved ones cheers me up, the best I can aspire to in the near future I think, is sleep.
No, the perspective of spending time in Central America is not appealing to me, and I am not excited. I'd much rather load an airplane with my girls, friends and family and fly them all away to Europe, than to once again face what I today consider the depressive dirty mess of this little country. Even the accent of the people on board, happy to be coming home again, is irritating me and I wish I had brought my earplugs with me, the better to drown their slurry voices.
Please understand I have extremely ambivalent feelings for this country - and I can, like any other normal human being, fully appreciate its generosity, its natural beauty and abundance, and the warmth of its broad smiling people - Just... not now.
As the plane approaches the ground even more, I become able to discern the tin houses with improvised cardboard roofs and the coconut palm trees below. Then in a single mute moment, the plane touches the ground.
That's it, it's over. My adventure is over. I feel awfully like an escaped prisoner being brought back to the gaol feet chained and all...