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The day of the wedding arrived and by now, SJ and I were totally ready for the journey. We had made contact with the outside world, got a general idea of where to meet up with Neal, go the times, and were out the door in record time. The wedding was at 11am, so we knew we should be out the door by 8. This would give us time to get to the hotel where Neal was, change, then head over to the location of the wedding. What we didn’t account for were road closings and the inability for Google Maps to give an accurate location of the hotel.
Jess was the driver and I was the navigator. I had my maps, my phone, and my eyes on the road. She was driving and not missing a beat. We soon realized that to get around this place you had to drive like the locals. The locals drive like they just don’t give a damn. So I had her going left and right and here and there and all over the place. We finally turned down what we Google thought was the road where the hotel was. As it turns out, it was simply a dead end on a cliff. We sat there for a few moments, took a few deep breaths, and started driving again. I can’t say how amazed I am at Jess’ calmness during all this. We were driving around people and busses and bikes and all manner of things that were jockeying for spot on the road. She zipped around here and there it was amazing.
I finally got in touch with Neal and he informed us that the hotel was in the south west part of town. We were currently driving through the north west. So we hauled ass down that way, and finally in a bold move on Jess’ part, asked a local for directions. This lady didn’t understand a bit of English, and we sure as hell didn’t understand her. What we were able to communicate was “Holiday Inn Santa Anna”. She understood, gave us some very detailed directions in Spanish using land marks like “banco” and “St. Nicholas” and making some sort of hand gesture like we’d be driving around a circle. We jetted away and sure enough we passed a bank, a big sign that was for some St. Nicholas thing and went through a round-a-bout! Next thing we knew we were at the hotel. I’ve never been more excited in my life. Jess shared in this joy. We felt so accomplished and proud of ourselves. We had overcome a LOT on this 3 hour journey and made it. There was no obstacle we couldn’t overcome at this point.
So we met up with Neal, quickly changed clothes then hopped back in Pedro for our trip to the location for the wedding. Luckily, we were following someone. After a mile or so, we soon realized this was going to be an interesting ride. The roads kept getting steeper and steeper. We were climbing further and further into the clouds. Once we finally got to our destination we had a beautiful view of the city. We had to be like 3 miles in the air (probably not that high, but it felt like it). The location was beautiful and the wedding got started as soon as we got there.
Contrary to most weddings I’ve been to, or been part of, this one was almost a “figure it out as you go” kinda thing. There wasn’t a ton of organization, but that was part of the fun. I was told to walk in with Neal, then wait, but now go, but you were supposed to stand over there, ok, now you all go sit down and BOOM, I now pronounce you husband and wife! It was a short and sweet ceremony, where unbeknownst to Neal and Jude they had to say their own vows. They totally winged it and it was perfect.
After the ceremony, we did the usual every possible picture combination possible thing. The food was traditional El Salvadorian and fantastic. We danced, talked, laughed, and just enjoyed ourselves. The Bishops had a beautiful wedding. Everything turned out as it should. There was no “backstage drama”, all the guests were happy, and it was a wonderful time. I love seeing my friends happy, and to be there on this day of ultimate happiness for both of them was an honor. To share it with the woman I love most in this world, made it unforgettable. This was quite possibly the best wedding I’ve ever been to….so far. 😉
As the day went on, the clouds rolled in. At first, we thought something was on fire, but as it turns out, it was just the clouds rolling UP the mountain we were on. Knowing our luck with driving and visibility down to about 10ft, SJ and I decided to roll out before the weather got any worse. We hopped in the car and took off down the mountain. Jess was now a pro El Salvadorian driver and handled the roads like a champ. We were soon below the clouds and well on our way back to the resort. We made it in record time and quickly got into our bathing suits so we could enjoy the evening by the pool. After all it was our final night in this place and we wanted to make the best of if.
Our final day in El Salvador had come to a close. We had witnessed our friends getting married and survived another journey in a foreign land. The next day was our final adventure and what an adventure it was going to be.