5/22/2008 10:34:00 am


Posted by Unknown |

Yesterday was volcano day! Hooray for real live volcanoes!

We all got up early and had breakfast together (it wasn't a big feat seeing as the jet lag still seems to be doing its thing) which was full of fruit, as this land seems to be. We got a phone call in Spanish to which Mum replied "Si, gracias!", though she had no idea what the man said. We assumed it was our pick up from the tourist company. We headed down stairs and sure enough there was a friendly looking man called Marco ready to drive us to Pacaya the most dangerous volcano in Guatemala. When being introduced to him I managed contain the urge to call out "Polo!"

Marco drove us in his van south to where the volcano lives. My mum sat in the back and interrogated the man about everything, as she is known to do. This is good because my father and I say very little so it's helpful to have someone to be friendly.

Once we made it off the main roads, up some bouncy tracks, through some little villages and up a mountain, we disembarked in a little village filled with children, utes and men with horses. We met Felix our local guide who would also take us up the volcano. We ended up having 1 guide for every 1.5 walkers, it was a pretty good ratio, really. Better even than for an outing of kids with special needs, so I felt pretty safe.

Felix and Marco walked us up the volcano almost all the way to the top. They wouldn't take us all the way because we could have been poisoned to death by volcano gases, pansies. Still they did take us onto the lava field where we got to stand up close to a flow of molten lava. It was pretty hot, and it didn't remind me of Mordor, so I was a little disappointed about that. But still, red hot rock, creeping down the side of a mountain is pretty impressive. I even managed to stick a stick in and light it on fire. A highly original activity for any tourist to participate in.

Once we made to back to base camp, we drank some Coke, hopped in our van and headed fo for home. Or we would have had the van started. Marco had accidentally left the lights on and the battery died. No worries though, half the man population of the town pitched in to steal battery from another car, start our car with it, then put our battery back. This worked pretty well except they dropped a spanner into the engine, and so needed to spend the next ten minutes trying to find it. They didn't find it but we set of anyway. No sooner had we got 10 meters to the end of the drive when our van was descended upon by shouting men again. We were about to drive into a ditch. We got out, pushed the van back up the hill and saved it from certain death languishing in a ditch on the side of a volcano. The men used this interlude to look for the spanner again, which they found, and we were free to go on our way.

We made it home in good time and I was silly enough to have a sleep. Dinner last night was in the steak house across the road. Post dinner entertainment was more cultural delights as we watched Jindabyne on Jo's laptop. A thoroughly depressing, but well made Australian movie.

Today we're off into the city with in a taxi is most likely not to kidnap us. Should be fun.