Back in Antigua

Tim and I left San Pedro on Friday, and got rather stung on a shuttle for 80 Qs each, but was worth it rather than the chicken buses which required three changes. Both of us were happy to have experienced San Pedro, but neither of us completely loved the place. If you smoke alot of pot, and enjoy getting screwed off your head then you’ll love the place!

Arrived back in Antigua yesterday evening and checked back into Jungle Party again. Got a nice welcome from Louis, the security guard, who I had given half a bottle of Barcardi Silver to when I had left. Apparently he had enjoyed it!

Checked this morning to see if our tickets had arrived at DHL but no such luck. Apparently we need a 10 digit DHL code, plus she couldn’t even find a trace of the package had been sent yet. Hopefully sent in when they said they did. We won’t hear anything now until Monday. Hopefully the package will have mysteriously appeared from the Guatemalan ether that is their postal system. Otherwise, things are starting to get a little tight. Tim and I hoped to spent a day or two in Nicaragua on the way down to Costa Rica. We’ll have to see, since the flight is only a week away.

Hope everyone is well in UK. Heard about the narrow loss of the Welsh rugby team to the All Blacks. One day guys. Let’s not forget that legendary victory in 1972 by the Scarlets!

Timbo arrived and climbed an active volcano!

Well, Tim arrived Wednesday into Guate and we are due to leave Antigua tomorrow. Since I last wrote I have got quite a lot done, including going to the graduation of Ingrid, who works in the hostel, who invited me to come and see what Guatemala City was like. I went with two of her friends who looked after me and we took the chicken bus into the city in the afternoon. The graduation was very formal and similar to our own in the UK. I was probably the only gringo there, but I have been reliably informed that my looks are dark enough, or in Spanish “cafesito”, to pass for a latin american, as long as I don’t open my mouth and start speaking Spanglish!

The trip back was interesting from Guate. Ingrid’s boyfriend Jack drove us all most of the way back, but we then had to get a chicken bus back to Antigua for the rest of it. As it was getting late I was really glad to have her two friends with me. We had to jump onto the packed bus pretty quickly as they don’t really stop! I ended up as last on, kind of hanging on to the entrance until everyone moved up! The chicken buses are fine for short distances but I wouldn’t fancy it over long distances or with my backpack!

Yesterday was a real highlight. Tim and I decided to climb one of the volcanoes here. There are four and two are active. One of them (Fuego), can be seen gushing lava down the side at night, which is pretty cool to see. We decided to climb Pacaya, which is active but not dangerous. As most of you know, I’m not that much of a person for active sporting activities, so the thought of the climb was a bit daunting. However, i seemed to take to it like a bit of a mountain goat and was first up! The views from the top look across everywhere! The photos shall be up soon as I manage to get access to FTP. The way back down was the most fun as the climb sucked. Tim and I were first of our group back down in a kind of snowboarding action in the scree! Was great fun.

View the photos of Antigua and the Pacaya Volcano.

Tim and I plan to go to Lake Atitlan tomorrow. Although I have already been up there, I missed out two of the towns, including San Pedro, known for its hippie community and plentiful drug supply. The other is San Marcos and is known for its hippies and meditation/massage type community. Should be interesting!

Hope everyone is well at home!

It’s quiet said rhubarb…..

Well I have been at Spanish school now for the last four days. I am enjoying it, but is surprisingly tiring just doing the 4 hours every the afternoon!! It is 1 to 1 and very intensive, but I feel that I am learning alot and my knowledge of french and my interest in languages in general seems to be allowing me to make fairly educated guesses at alot of words that I don’t know. I seem to get the point across anyway, so that is the main thing!

Antigua is a town where many people come to study spanish, and afterwards go out to drink. It is howver starting to get tiring, plus I am still not what you would call “fully recovered” from the stomach bug. There is one single piece of grafitti in the toilets of the hostel and it reads:

Ich will nicht an den Missisippi!

I have roughly translated this to mean:

I will not be like the Missisippi!

If you use your imagination, you can figure out pretty quickly that maybe quite a few people get ill round here of the same thing!

The hostel remains a really friendly place to hang out, and people come and go fairly regularly. There are a few longer term residents (such as myself), notably Andy from Melbourne and Jen from Calgari. Mick from Ireland was a good laugh too but he’s now headed south for Honduras. Stefan who I met in Isal Mujeres has been round for a few days, but I think he headed off to Tikal this morning. It amuses me to think that long term in the hostel is just a week or more!

I am still here but not much to report! Camera hasn’t really been out of the safe since I got here. There are things to see, but I haven’t had much of a chance yet. Will try and do some of the sights this weekend. I will also have to try and get photos of the vast number of guns that everyone seems to carry around here. The UK is so lucky with their gun law. It is starting to feel normal to walk to the bank, get to the cash point, and negotiate my way around the barrel of an M16 or winchester pump action being held by a security guard in full on para kit!

Anyway, is very safe here in the city. Take care all.

Traveller-Tastic in Antigua, Guatemala!

Wel ‘Cuz-Andy’ wasn’t kidding when he said that Antigua was full of travelers….it’s heaving with them! I’m staying in a hostel called Jungle Party, again recommended by Andy, and he was spot on, so cheers for that cuz!! We even have hot water….mmmmm!

Franco and Elisa have had to go to Guatemala City today because someone smashed one of their car windows in the night, so a real pain in the ass and the pocket for them. Why oh why do people do such things?? They will only be here for a few days before we part company and they head off for Honduras and El Salvador. It is going to be strange without them around. I hope I have enough time to go and see them in Argentina. It was quite amusing crossing the border into Guatemala. The Guatemalan immigration official thought it was hilarious that a Brit would be travelling with two Argentinians. His comment was in Spanish, but as much as I gathered, it was along the lines of:

One world cup won by the hand of God and one war lost…..don’t you guys hate each other??

Was quite funny!

Anyway, I will now wait for Tim to get out here on the 17th of November, and he has been trying to persuade me to go to the “hive of scum and villainy” that is Guatemala City, described in my guide book as, “only worth visiting to leave via the airport”!! Oh well, should be an experience!

Will check back in soon. Got loads to photograph here in Antigua. It is extremely picturesque!