I had a relatively uneventful trip here, I am a few miles west of Guatemala City, holy week is just swinging into full gear. The banks, stores, many of the hotels, stores have shut down for 5 days. The city is getting ready for a full processional (parade) today , the muchachos had their processional yesterday lugging all sorts of christlike things around the park on their backs.
I made Terry head straight for the volcano yesterday since my only special wish for my trip was to see burning lava. We took a bus tour of Volcan Pacaya . Either way it is southwest of Antigua. The bus dropped us off about 2000 feet from the summit of Volcan Pacaya whose total height was 2250 m, we probably walked about 4 miles to the top of the volcan and then 4 miles on the return. The volcan was active between 1565 and 1775 and started up again in 1965. I started to fly up the mountain away from the group. Fortunately there was another fast-hiker from Hungary, Szevy, willing to keep the pace.
We had a blast hitting the treeline and then walking on the hardened lava. The wind really picked up at the top of the volcano, even though I had a chinstrap on my hat I had to hold onto my hat with my hand.
The top of a volcan is warm and it spews noxious gases. The fresh hardened lava leaves splinters in your hands, it's pretty cool. Our guide had some fun setting sticks on fire from the heat.
We passed a vaca morte on the way down, why it died I don't know. Terry never made it to the top, he stopped for a siesta and a cigarette.
Today he says he is a little stiff.
The first night here we stayed at a really nice hotel for $30 but they couldn't accomodate us for a second night. Throngs of revelers are pouring into Antigua and the hotels and posados are taking full advantage of the demand. We found a hotel room for $20 last night that was probably uglier than most Baltimore prison cells. However, it wasn't the bottom of the barrel hotels here in Guatemala. Next door to our hotel was another hotel where you could rent some ground out back on a fantabulous piece of cardboard, they accomodated several people. We were awoken early this morning by the town rooster.
The comida here is really great, it is very inexpensive and the waitstaff bends over backwards to meet your needs even though almost no one here hablas inglis.
Terry and I are doing well practicing our limited espanol.
We are now in Panajachel at Lago Atitlan. We are traveling fast because Terry has to leave in a few days to go back, I have yet to figure out where I want to go after he returns, I might got to Tikal or El Salvador. The nearer volcan in the picture is Volcan Toliman (3158 m) and the far one is Volcan Atitlan (3537 m)
In Panajachel our hotel is $10 per night and the food is costing me under $5 per day so I am staying on budget now.