Day 3 - The Volcano

We had to wake up real real early today. Why, you ask? so we could get our climb on. We walked to Old Town Outfitters, which is about a ten minute walk from our house. That's the company which was taking us up the mountain. All of us piled into a van and a bus, and drove to the school in Ciudad Vieja, where we met the Guatemalan kids.

The drive to Pacaya was long. Hannah puked like 12 times. (just kidding!) It was pretty interesting to get out of the city. The most striking thing for me was at one point on the highway. There hadn't been any houses for a while, but suddenly two little towns were on either side of the highway. The first one was a gated community, with new-looking, identical houses, streets with roundabouts and perfectly sheared plants in the middle, and a fresh basketball court. The other side of the highway was tiny, one-room shacks pieced together from scrap metal. Pretty wacky contrast.

There were little shacks on the side of the road all the way up until the visitor's center partway up Pacaya, where we parked. As soon as we got off the bus, we were mauled by little kids trying to sell us walking sticks for cinco quetzales. I bought one. That stick was totally worth it.

The hike was sweet. It started out through the forest, and once we gained enough elevation, the trees opened up into fields of volcanic rock. We hiked right next to the bottom of a lava flow, and some of the rocks were still molten. This was actually maybe the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. The tour guide told us if we touched it, it "wouldn't burn. It would vaporize." Needless to say, Eliza touched it and is no longer with us. (just kidding!) But really, you could feel the heat from 30 feet away. I stuck my stick into one of the smaller rocks which had fallen away, and it immediately charred and caught fire.

Our trip ended up taking a little longer than we expected. All in all, we were hiking for like five hours. Sure, we got pretty tired and hungry, but it was worth it. We got a lot closer to the Guatemalan kids. And we saw lava.

On the drive back we were conked out. Caught up on major ZZs. Success. And when we dropped the kids back at the school, me and Ryan scored cheek kisses from las chicas. Love that custom. Double success.

Back at the house, our wonderful host Mari prepared us a lavish Valentines Day feast. She gave us a bomb speech, such a sweetheart. We had taquitos and tamales and ice cream cake for Ben and Kate's birthdays. (Which, lets be honest, weren't exactly close enough to justify cake. But we'll excuse it.)

The trip thus far:
Days: 3
Days consuming ice cream: 3
Stinky boys sleeping in one room: 4
Deceased TSC members: 3 (guess which ones!) (just kidding!)
Ratio of hot to cold showers: 1:957

In other news, we heard Tolo sucked. You win this round, anti-freakdancing parents.

Love from Guatemala,
Zach and the whole gang.

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Chris Perkins says:

just thought i would say wassup. the blog is tight and the trip sounds great. in other news, tolo was the worst dance in the history of garfield. also, im in silver star with zach's parents, clifford, noah and simon. yesterday in the car noah made a poorly timed joke about becca whilst he was driving and clifford slapped him in the face. pretty funny. have a great trip

Mike Collins says:

Chaperone version of tuc-tuc rides: Before allowing their young charges in the vehicles, Mike Collins, an experienced attorney checked to be sure that the vehicles had passed all necessary Guatemalan safety inspections. Bob Huppe examined the drivers licenses of each individual and carefully questioned them about their driving experience and their commitment to defensive driving. Each driver passed with flying colors. Only then were the youngsters allowed to enter the vehicles. The most dangerous part of the tuc-tuc ride is the fact that these small vehicles are driving over cobblestones at a fairly high rate of speed and your brain is being shaken up and down continuously; it is a scientific fact that teenagers enjoy that kind of thing and they all seemed to enjoy the ride quite a bit.

PS Heidi Noun and Mike Collins are starting the Kate Collins fan club. Rumor has it that Rose McCarty is also joining and wants to be president - she thinks it will look good on her college resume. Happy birthday Rose, if Heidi shows this to you.