8.29.2014

Letter, November 25, 1974

Dear Jan,

I’ve always wanted to read some Steinbeck; all I’ve ever read is a few short stories of his. Glad to hear you’re enjoying him. Boy, it’s getting to be work just writing in English, seems like I have to think out each word and how it’s spelled. I guess it’s because I’m getting used to thinking in Español {Spanish} all day (reading the newspaper, talking to anyone at work, reading reports). At least in Spanish words are spelled like they sound!

I climbed the San Salvador volcano yesterday, and I’m so sore today I don’t even feel like breathing! I walked all the way from the center of the city to the top of the crater (The volcano is on the N.W. edge of town.). Couldn’t catch the bus I needed to get to the base of it. Also, there is no well-defined trail on the city side, so I walked through pastures & flower gardens & coffee plantations. I got chased off a coffee plantation by a pack of about 15 dogs; scared the livin’ shit out of me! It took me 5½ hours to walk to the crater edge. Not tired enough yet, I spent another 2¼ hours walking all the way around the crater. I ended up walking down the mountain also (but by the road!) when the 4 pm bus never showed up. It took me 1¾ hours to walk down to Santa Tecla, a suburb of San Salvador, from which the road goes up to the volcano. I bought some film and took a few pictures of the volcano, so will send them home when I fill out the roll!

I wish you luck with your rugby club. I’ve heard rugby is one of the roughest, meanest, dirtiest sports that exist (The popular saying is that you need leather balls to play rugby.). Better get yourself a mouth guard so you can at least save your teeth! I’ve heard that games of the men’s rugby club are followed by drinking bouts & sometimes brawls. I’d sure like to be there to to see you’all play!

I’m moving out to my site on Thanksgiving Day. It gives me a good excuse to skip the “Turkey Day” festivities of the Embassy crowd & city volunteers. I just can’t identify with them. They teach rich kids to swim or dance or play piano, and mingle with the rich folk here and the “superior” acting Embassy crowd. What horse shit! You can’t even get into that Embassy unless you know who you want to see & he knows you’re coming! I made my maiden voyage through the red tape today!

Con Amistad {With Friendship},

Dean

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