This blog is in the category “transcript”, meaning it’s a raw play-by-play about my thoughts and emotions. I hope to use these transcripts in the future as a source for sharable content. Minimal editing is done in this category.
The following was written while I was detained in an immigration office for about two hours in La Union, El Salvador.
I’ve been in high alert right now for about an hour and I’m getting tired. Really tired. I’m sitting in the immigration office as he digs for proof in the system that I’m supposed to be here, if I’m legally allowed to be here.
You want to know how I got here?
First I asked around in this port town for a boat ride to Nicaragua. I talk to a taxi driver here, and he said there was none. I talked to a guy sitting down, and he said there was none, but he took me to a guy who might be able to. But he also said no right away.
I thought that was weird because in another port town they entertained the idea. Like, really contimpated it. I worked my way up the chain of command to where eventually someone got on his bike and I followed to a house literally on top of a hill. I don’t know who I was talking to, to be honest but I’m guessing a boss of some sorts. A man of some sort of power. At the end of the day I followed to diffrent guys on bikes to two diffrent houses on a hill and talked to the boss for at least 30 minutes about what I wanted to do. They said it was too dangerous. I said I understand it’s dangrous for you but for me it is not, I am American.
I should have offered them more money. I mean shit, would I want to risk jail time for $50 bucks. Lol God I’m so cheap. $150 would have been worth it. I should have said $150
I could have avoided this if I offered more money. Money talks. I could have been in a boat right now, soaking in the sun with my shirt off in the bay
I looked around and saw a lady in a uniform within hearing distance. She must be immigration I thought. Of course, nobody can say yes to me when word spread quickly and there are immigration officers around.
So with no luck, I sat down on the other side of the small road to see what the gods would put in my path. After 10 minutes an immigration officer walked by and looked curiously at me, but he didn’t say anything.
Instead, I decided to initiate a conversation. I said in my broken Spanish, “I want to go to Nicaragua by boat. How do I get to Nicaragua?” he told me there were no boats here and said I needed to travel by land. We talked for a while and I just talked to him no differently than if I was talking to my friend.
But perhaps that was my mistake because he said let me see your passport, “I’m immigration”, as if I was blind to his uniform. I just didn’t care and again maybe that was my mistake.
He kept on digging deeper and got more suspicious. So he wanted to go to his office for proof I’m legally in El Salvador. So here I wait in his office. I’ll take this chance to better understand humans and the system.
Random thought: He does not have access outside of El Salvador. Or else he’d be question some other shady things I’ve done. He just knows what he can see in the El Salvadorn system.
I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes.
He’s been on like 3 phones calls and is texting people.
Uh oh. He told me that I lied and passed into El Salvador illegally since I’m not in the system. He wants to take me to the “center for illegals”.
Now, he says it’s closed.
He on the phone again.
Now, he says he has an opportunity for me. He says I can go to San Miguel and take a Covid test to enter Honduras and Nicaragua. The thing I was trying to avoid.
He explained himself, why he as giving me this opportunity and said it’s because “You’re American. And El Salvador and America have a good relationship.” He says, in another country you won’t get the same opportunity. You’ll be detained and need to pay off the officials. There is corruption in other countries.
He keeps on repeating it as an opportunity for me.
I don’t really understand this part but I guess I’ll find out when I get there: He says I will need to pay a fine at the border or be expelled from El Salvador for 3 years. We’ll see what’s that all about later
He just gave me two numbers to call in case I need further assistance.
He says, “we are friends”
He says, “we are friends”, again
Now he is showing me how to get to San Miguel, the closest city where I can take a Covid test.
He’s walking me to the road.
No not just the road, he walked me several minutes out of his way to show me which road and which direction I needed to go
I’m biking, I’m free again. What was weird
- The most obvious fact is that I’m privileged to be an American. I doubt any illegal, besides illegals from first-world countries, would have been given such good treatment. After all he said, he was letting me go because I’m American.
- I suspect me being white had some role, even if it was little.
- I think me being calm, collected, and personable throughout the whole experience contributed to me being set free
- Be careful with how open you are to certain people. I was far too casual talking to an immigration officer.
- I don’t think initiating the conversation with the immigration officer was a bad call. But I do think I talked too freely with him.
- Perhaps, no matter how I responded it was fated that I’d be interrogated in his office. This way I learned first hand the powers of an American passport.
- Perhaps I wouldn’t have been set free if the Pandemic didn’t halt tourism . He said the center for illegals was closed but maybe he meant like it has been closed for months because of Covid and illegal immigration is now rare
- I want to believe my persona had something to do with me being let go but I don’t know for sure. I mean I was never mean, rash, violent. Instead I tried to get personal, I told him about my trip and he looked impressed.
- What ever happens it’s for a reason