Climbing a volcano.
13 December 2012 | Antigua, Guatemala
James/Fair, with patches of clouds.
I resolve that there will be no more shenanigans or late night adventures. I need to get some exercise and do something other than late night crazy stuff.
So, I booked a excursion hike up one of the volcanoes. Volcano Pacaya is not as active as some of the other surrounding volcanoes, but it has claimed lives as recently as 2010. Surmising that roasted tourists aren't good business, I figured I would place myself in the hands of the guides.
The drive from Antigua is definitely the most dangerous part of the hike.
Of course, the bottom of the hike has a bunch of guides trying to sell horse rides, walking sticks, and other nessissito items.
The hike started well, but my horse allergy gives me asthma, and there was plenty of dust and dried horse shit on the trail being stirred up. And of course, as the guides hear me breathing, they figure it is a good time to ride beside me and ask if I needed a "taxi".
Figuring my only chance of survival was to lead, I practically sprinted to the front of the line, and set a blistering pace, being chased by horses and wheezing germans.
The horses left me alone when we got near the top of the volcano. Thank god, because I couldn't have hacked being chased around the volcano by caballos.
The views from the top of the volcano were awesome. And we had a glorious sunset on the way down. The way down, incidentally, involves shushing down loose volcanic ash like a skier. I loved it, but the people with sneakers and shorts didn't enjoy it as much.
We arrived back to Antigua after dark, around 8:00pm. Three Swiss hiking mates and I decided to go for dinner. I had a great pepian stew with beef, chayote, and potato. We shared several litres of gallo beer with our meal.
Our dinner conversation was wonderful, but all in English. We had talked about being immersed in Spanish being a strong motivator for learning the language, but I remarked that they didn't need to speak English if they didn't want to. I thought that perhaps I was being a bit rude for assuming they would talk english on my account. Surprisingly, english was the common language between them. The three Swiss people used English as their common language. One was Swiss-French, and the other two Swiss-German. Neither spoke the other language very well, so english was the default.