Journal, April 9, 1976 PM

It’s been a memorable day. Poor Jaime {Olson} almost got left by the Tica Bus. He was waiting in the restaurant in San Miguel where we always stop to eat breakfast. But today the bus was running late & the driver didn’t even slow down. I recovered from the shock of realizing we actually whizzed right by where Jaime had to be waiting (I could picture his look of disbelief & utter despair in my mind!), and went forward to talk to the driver. He was late & in a bad mood, & wasn’t going to turn around, but a group of Girl Scouts from Guatemala started chanting “Que regresemos {Let’s go back}!”, and got the whole bus to go along. Thanks to them we went back. Then Jaime wasn’t there! As it turned out he had run after the bus for more than a kilometer, & after a minute, came running back. When he boarded the bus panting he was already a celebrity! The Girl Scouts were chanting his name. Ironically, I had been thoroughly disgusted with these same girls shortly after we left San Salvador, when they began fairly shouting some of their favorite cheery songs while I was trying to read. Just like Girl Scouts on an outing in the U.S.!

The incident of us forcing the driver to go back for Jaime broke down the tension which usually separates bus passengers, & we talked at length with the folks on all sides of us. A truly remarkable phenomenon! Jaime lent his cards to the Girl Scouts. They invited us to sit with them at lunch, & we had to show them pictures of our “novias {girl friends}”. We rapped with 3 North Americans and 2 Costaricans who were all traveling together - extremely nice people! A girl from Nicaragua who lives in San Salvador started up a conversation with Jaime, & ended up giving me the names of several good books by Central American authors. What a breakthrough a small crisis can be!

We had the bottle of marañón wine on the road and 5 bottles of Victoria beer with supper, & I’m still under the influence. Another look at the pictures from Christmas in Costa Rica, & I will retire fully primed for my arrival there tomorrow. <Limber those long arms up for a strong embrace Sofia!>


Journal, April 8, 1976 PM

I’ve been doing it all day, writing down things I had no intention of writing & then having to scribble them out. <I guess I’m nervous about seeing Sofia again.> The more important a person is to me the more nervous I get about seeing him. I feel I’ll show myself inadequate - figuratively piss my pants or spill my drink all over me! And then there’s the other side: Is she as good and beautiful a person as I’ve imagined her, or have I just imagined I saw in her the qualities I wanted to see? But what-to-fuck, I’m goin’ down there!

In honor of starting the second volume of the journal, I am going to take a drink of a bit of wine made from a fruit called marañón, and describe what it tastes like. Well, it tastes strong and sharp, & doesn’t really have a distinctive taste other than that. It reminds me a little of some dandelion wine we made at home once. It didn’t quite turn out, but was it alcoholic! I detected a kind of a funny flavor in this marañón wine, but now I think it was only the plastic glass. I’ll go get a glass one.

Yeah it was just the glass, but Lord this stuff is strong - got me feeling woozy after 2 shots. I’ll save the rest for Jaime & me on the road. At 6 {AM} I’m on my way, Costa Rica or bust!

I’m in San Salvador of course, at the usual 4 Colones boarding house. I dropped off the tattoo-er in Sonsonate on the way in this morning. <I got 200 Costarican Colones from Banco Salvadoreño {the Salvadoran bank} (at 3.404 per Salvadoran Colon), and bought Sofia her shell necklace, & Doña Carmen her carrying bag.> I also got Doña Carmen some Salvadoran towels - she always raves about mine. It’s sort of a thank you for letting me stay there when I come, & being so good to me.

I got a letter from Gert Verberkmoes in my mailbox today. She’s all set to plant her garden, & extra happy because a neighbor’s tree that used to shade her garden finally succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease. That’s what keeps her alive, 75 years old, but always looking ahead to the next job, & the next little bit of excitement that’ll come her way. She wrote me a while back, worried I was throwing my life away - giving up a chance at law school, & now getting involved with a woman down here. She makes everyone’s problems hers, & the interest she takes in them, keeps her vital and active. How very alive she is!

I went out to Steve Pamperin’s after supper at La Florida {restaurant}. I owe him for a phone call, over $40, but can’t pay ‘til next month. My money’s all committed this month. I didn’t expect the bill back so quick. He was heading for a bank function so he brought me into town (& introduced me to a nice young secretary who’s looking for a novio {boy friend} from Cuerpo de Paz {Peace Corps}!). Steve’s so good, but so conservative that he shuts himself off from a lot of things. He better watch out, or that secretary will latch onto him & marry him though!