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Assignment #4: Tourist or Tempest?

Written on: Wednesday August 19th, 2009

A journal entry from: El Salvador, San Salvador

The whole issue of being a North American tourist in Central America is something that I have thought about a lot, even before I left Canada. I talked about this briefly in my blog post about my trip to Guatemala and how taken aback I was by being at a hotel full of English speakers. For those of you who have not read my previous blog post, I realize that I'm an English speaker myself; however, I did not come to Latin America to completely isolate myself from the local cultures, language and people. With that said, I think that the power dynamic that emerges out of my presence in El Salvador also has to be mentioned. I mean, I have to recognize the position of privilege that I am in. I'm not trying to say that I'm some great person who has come to save the "less fortunate" (I hope that my sarcasm was conveyed in this sentence). What I am trying to say is that my footprint, so to speak has a history that goes back hundreds of years, and that this has to be taken into account when I speak about my presence here. I always feel like I spend way too much time trying to explain my existence lol, and my accountability but I think that it's really important to do so.

It is strange to see other extranjeros here. It feels like there's this unspoken rule that if I see someone who doesn't look like they're from around here, that we should automatically befriend each other. We've been calling this the "Hey you're here!" phenomenon thanks to our friend Zack lol. There have been a few times where I´ve seen an extranjero on a bus, or in the street and they´ve looked at me with this kind of awkward, friendly face that says, ¨Hey you're like me. Let's be friends.¨ But I walk by Salvadoran people in the street everyday, so why should I be less inclined to speak with them? It just seems so bizarre. On the other hand, I´m always surprised when I do see extranjeros. I find myself wondering what they´re doing here. And then that reminds me that I´m an extranjero too. But oddly enough it doesn´t make me want to befriend them, and I don´t see why I should have to.

haha. This blog post totally turned into a rant. I would rather just erase it or tuck away somewhere so that I can read one day and laugh... but it´s a required assignment so I guess I have to post it. Oh well I hope that you've enjoyed my crazies.

 

From lily of the valley on Aug 19th, 2009

HEY! YOU'RE HERE!

From chris on Aug 19th, 2009

yes, extranjero you are crazy... LOL luvya

From anna on Aug 22nd, 2009

hahah i love rants especially yours;)

From Elsa on Aug 24th, 2009

I'm so proud of you! It takes a really mature and insightful person to realize what you did...xoxo