What a Ride

We’re in Antigua, Guatemala. Attending Spanish School. Doing something now I never would have imagined while in HS. Never.

After our first week of Spanish school we had a one day weekend that Becca and IB figured we should spend hiking up the active volcano Pacaya. So up early

Taking a Breath

Taking a Breath

in the am; 6 ish, and on a bus to the base camp an hour away. There we rented a hiking stick for W/ and we started up the side of the Volcano. In Guatemala there doesn’t appear to be any knowledge of switch backs; where a road or trail winds up the side of a mountain with less of an incline but a longer path. So we mostly walked straight up the side. W/ who was recovering from a nasty cold decided to take a taxi and ride a horse. I then became the bearer of the hiking stick. What goes around comes around.

We made it to the top most point we were allowed to travel to as the rim of the caldera was said to be too unstable. I actually crawled into a lava tube and found it to be exceedingly warm and rather odiferous. W/ roasted some

Snug as a Bug

Snug as a Bug

marshmallows at a vent and climbing and descending we slid up and down the loose volcanic rock covering the landscape. We were lucky or should I say we were lucky Becca had planned the adventure so well. We left early hoping that the air would be dryer and clear providing us with some great views. Traveling down the Volcano was much easier and I wasn’t left with a racing heart and lungs that wouldn’t hold enough air.

W/ Sliding - Running down Volcano Pacaya

W/ Sliding - Running down Volcano Pacaya

The week prior to our exhausting hike we visited a Mayan Pueblo and listened in Spanish to the creating of a wedding blanket that has multiple uses, how Mayans court the opposite sex, and steps leading up to a mock ceremony itself with Becca standing in as a brides maid.

The following week we had two tours, one where we visited a coffee plantation and the other to two churches where sawdust rugs are created to showcase the meaning of Easter.

The plantation was informative with both English and Spanish spoken. Our teachers all came with us to assist in our understanding and practice of Spanish. Julio has been good to me and I sincerely hope I’m on the right track. I’m not sure one can be on the wrong track but after this weekend I’m feeling like I’m a man without a vocabulary. I’m amazed at the amount of work that goes into making coffee and two particulars stand out: 1) each plant produces only 1 lb of finished coffee per year and 2) the workers here receive  $20 / day for picking the 200 lbs of beans.  Not a life for me.

Carpet made of Sawdust

Carpet made of Sawdust

The festival dust carpets are another thing entirely. This month-long event is nothing but unique an is listed in various places as one of the great festivals of the world to see.  and our apartment / house / casa, is  20 meters from one of the main routes. I leave it to places like Wiki to provide the details. I left out our front door yesterday and upon exiting wasn’t able to move more then a meter or so;  we were so packed with people hoping to get a peak at the 60 or so men carrying a float weighing upwards of 6,000 lbs.

Beyond the school and the events, beyond the activities in the area we are teased daily with great eateries. In the two weeks we’ve been here we’ve only been to two restaurants twice. We met Wayne at San Jose el Viejo Spanish School and since he’d been here 7 times over the last few years we abused this new friendship by conscripting him in accompanying us to various establishments  he felt were worth it. And worth it they were. So while we’d been enjoying his company and his recommendations while he was here we’ve still a list of a few more to visit since his departure. …not everyone we meet is on their million day weekend.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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