Sonsonate Metro Centre

Escape perspiration with me at the Sonsonate Metro Centre.

Boy was it hot in El Salvador. For quite some time, there was an argument going on, whether or not it was winter. I knew that El Salvador was not below the equator, and was very much in summer. One thing we could all agree on though was that it was hotter there, than anywhere we had ever been.

One escape from the heat was the huge, air-conditioned Sonsonate Metro Centre. I thought it looked like an abandoned aircraft hanger, left over from the 60’s, that was converted into the place of the town--food courts, arcades, grocery stores, Gap Outfitters, electronic stores with $20,000 TV Sets, blasting old Disney cartoons. There were movie theaters and even a Clint Eastwood horse that you could ride--for a quarter.

Most of my group spent their time in one of those little gift shops that sells things like wooden bowls. The wood was most likely shipped from Oregon to some factory in Hong Kong, where the bowls were carved into shape, then sent to India, where EL SALVADOR was neatly engraved on the side. From there, they were most likely floated down the Mississippi, all the way to Belize where they were cleaned, and varnished. Then it’s our turn, to smile thoughtfully, and offer up a little prayer for the poor Salvadorian children who took the time out of their day, to carve us this cute little bowl, which we buy, and eventually add to our dusty collection.

That wasn’t really for me, so I was off in search of the Arcade to play graphic, bloody, vampire war games. Midway thru my quest, I discovered--much to my delight--the food court. This is when money comes in handy. Ice cream shops, pizza parlors, Chinese buffets, fast food, slow food, old food, and new food. On every wall, there were huge television screens spilling out American action sitcoms, which were dubbed into Spanish, by what sounded like an espresso bean factory.

It was always interesting to see the military police strolling up and down the Sonsonate Metro Centre with their semi-automatic shotguns. They were there, because they had to be, but that didn’t really stop them from having a good time. Sure seemed like they were all smiles. Almost every door was opened by an armed guard. It would be rather difficult to get away with one of those little bowls and not take some lead with you.

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