Pamela and I spent a very quiet morning, reading, using the computer, looking at the beautiful skyline, and waiting for Steve to show up. His flight landed on time with all of his luggage, and he sailed through customs. A miracle when traveling to Latin America. He took a taxi to Julie's apartment, and Pamela could not wipe the smile off her face after seeing her daddy. Julie missed the reunion because she and their other sister Susie had a high school reunion mass and lunch to attend.
We went out to lunch at an artsy restaurant called La Ventana (the window) with his sister Patty and our friend Javier. We sat outside with a delicious breeze blowing gently enough that Patty did not freeze. Steve and Javier ordered bratwurst, potatoes, and sauerkraut, but this time I went French with spinach crepes. Pamela ate a hamburger and fries and bananas for dessert. While we were dining, a tinkling bell coming down the street brought back memories of the ice cream truck when I was a child in Virginia. We watched a little girl in the restaurant skip out to greet the man with the ice cream pushcart. Pamela smiled at the sight of a real-live pushcart peddler because we are reading The Pushcart War in school right now.
You never know what you will see on the streets of San Salvador. During his taxi ride, he saw a bright yellow school bus with "Charleston County Schools" emblazoned on it. Unlike metropolitan systems that have clean and safe public transportation (buses and subways), companies in San Salvador buy old buses from the United States and paint them like parrots, when they can afford it. On our way from the restaurant, we came behind a dusty, pink Mary Kay car. We were not surprised that it was not a Cadillac. Nobody in their right mind would drive a luxury car here.
Here is Steve relaxing with Coco, a French bulldog. Only the French could invent such an ugly dog that snorts and snarls louder than Mr. Panks in Little Dorrit. Julie thinks Pamela should become a dog trainer because, while Coco dances and slobbers all over Steve, Pamela gets rid of her with the wave of a hand and a stern "Go away!" Coco pines for her master Mario Emilio, who is on a business trip in Europe. He and Steve are marshmallows in disciplining dogs, and Coco takes full advantage of their undying adoration.
Steve and I parted ways in the evening. While Steve attended a high school reunion with his childhood friends, Julie and I joined their wives for a small party. Steve met the men when they were all in kindergarten, and they attended the same all-boy Catholic school for most of their school career. Even though he changed to their rival school for his last two years, he is considered one of them and they have kept in touch since graduation. I met six of the couples on a cruise last March and we got along very well, considering I had never met them in my life. Last May, one couple invited us to their son's graduation in Charlotte, NC. As we got to talking, we realized that their son roomed with Patty's son Jose who was in his freshman year. Besides catching up, the highlight of the evening was watching a slideshow of pictures from the cruise.
Where was Pamela? Pamela, an early bird, usually falls asleep before nine, ten the latest. She stayed home with Rosa who thinks Pamela is the sweetest, most content person. She told Julie that she is so easy to be around because she keeps herself busy all day. She writes in her notebook, she listens to her music, she watches television, she plays on the computer. Of course, Rosa would probably change her mind after seeing a meltdown but Pamela has not had any since we have been here. In fact, Julie is just amazed at the progress Pamela has made since she was last here six years ago. Pamela can communicate, understand, function independently, go places with us, let us know when she is tired and ready to go home, solve her own problems, think for herself, etc.