Volcano climbing

Trip Start Nov 03, 2008
1
61
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Trip End May 2009


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Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Antigua has had 14 major earthquakes over the years and the Spanish didn't allow for that.....did they not notice the volcanoes nearby? Consequently, most of the town ( formally the capital ) has been rebuilt again and again.  Bits of old church appear in modern buildings, its a good recycling policy : O )
We managed to use a "chicken" bus to visit a macadamia farm. They are so called as the drivers play chicken with each other and oncoming traffic and they sometimes carry chickens too. Each bus tries to cram as many people on as possible as the fare is soooo cheap, then when you think that its full, they shove in a few more to make sure. As it takes off at brake neck speed, a man squeezes his way through to collect the money....great fun to watch and worth every penny.
We climbed 2,300 meters through the cloud forest up the Pacaya Volcano to see the lava flow, at dusk, which was an amazing experience. Marshmallows toast way too quickly there so you end up with a charred gooey mass on the end of a stick...still yummy under the crust. Mable x

Macīs shoes are still wet inside, and it has been 2 days!  He left the lake and traveled to Antigua, arriving feeling more than sick, yes the roads were horrible.  Antigua is a lovely little town which as Mable said has been rebuilt more times than  Liza Minelli has had plastic surgery.  Mac visited a macadamia nut farm, which was very interesting and seeing their Heath-Robisnon machines quite amusing BUT effective, who needs laser guided nut sorters?  The highlight of the village was climbing an active volcano to see a lava filed and yes it is chuffing hot, which is why they bought a pair of cheap trainers to do it in..... they were well melted by the end of it. Some did the climb up on horseback which was a fair cop as it was some 2000 mtrs start, climbing to 23000 ish so being unfit or scared of heights was not a good idea.  The walk down was is the dark... now take note if you intend doing this climb and coming down in the dark, take a ficking torch with you!  It was surprising how many people didn't... it is not easy scrambling over hot old lave rocks (very sharp) down scree slopes ( very slippy) and muddy hills in the dark (very... muddy), MANY PEOPLE DIE.... knobs! A coat also comes in useful if wet blobby stuff from the sky falls, it is called rain and can be expected in the wet season, look it up on Google.  Back in the village at the start point the little kids reclaimed the walking sticks they had hired out, attempted to get Mac to buy them candy-floss and give them his head torch,  HA!  On the bus and in the dark Mac tucked into the ham and cheese roll Mable bought at lunchtime some 7 hours earlier, she is a good old girl you know, even got him a beer.  Back at the hotel they sat on the roof terrace, had another beer and looked at the stars, hope the volcano doesnīt erupt tonight thought Mac, not sure if the insurance will cover it.  All that is dangerous and left to do is ride a horse, maybe tomorrow. Mac

Oh one more word, don't worry about the gun the guide carries with him as he escorts you up the mountain, it's to shoot any French, not to protect you from the bandits that sometimes attack tourists!
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