Second Weekend in Antigua

Antigua Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 9 › view all entries

Saturday, Dan and I took a bus at 7:30 a.m. to the city of Santa

Maria de Jesus, a village at the base (actually 500 meters up the

side) of a now dead Volcano. Our plan was to make the 4-6

hour climb and 2-4 hour decent in one day. Many people climb it

on Saturday, stay overnight at the top and return the next day.

This is probably a good idea but there are some disadvantages

I'm sure. The trail was on an incline the whole way, a steep

incline. I can't imagine doing it with a heavy pack, although we

saw several people in the afternoon with a lot of gear. I almost

died with just my little day pack.


Once at the top We were very disappointed. The crater was

inhabited with a couple small camps. People selling hot coffee

or hot chocolate. They were using the local pine trees that grew

at that altitude for fire wood. It appeared they were using only

the dead trees that looked like they had been killed from a past

fire. The crater itself was littered with trash, as was most of

the trail up. Very sad to think these people have never been

taught to take pride in their country. "The world is my trash

can" seems to be the current attitude.


Although the climb up was very difficult and strenuous,

especially 3/4 of the way up because of the altitude, the hike

down was the most body-beating. Because of the grade, it was

impossible to go slow and each time my foot came crashing down

with my full weight on it, I could feel the pressure on my feet,

knees and spine. It felt like my brain was rattling around in

my head.


Finally we got to the bottom. We found a bus waiting and got on.

He drove about 100 ft. and stopped and turned off his engine.

Seems he wasn't really going until another bus arrived and he had

a full load of passengers. He said he would be at least 20 to 30

minutes at the minimum. Dan and I dragged ourselves down to the

local pharmacy, which had a couple of tables in the back and had

a beer. We had only been there 10 minutes when we heard the bus

horn honking. Thinking that it couldn't possibly be our bus, we

continued relaxing and drinking our beers. It wasn't until I saw

the bus creep by the front door that we quickly paid and ran out

chasing it down the hill.


By the time I got home, my whole body hurt and I felt like I had
a fever, kind of like when I get home from skiing. My face felt

like it had a sunburn, even though most of the day we were hiking

either in the clouds or under a Jungle canopy.


I slept well that night but woke early Sunday at the

unappreciated sound of a string of fire crackers going off about

5:30 or 6:AM. This had been the rule rather than the exception

here in Antigua. I laid in bed and drifted in and out of sleep

for a couple more hours. I got out of bed at 8:30 just as the

family was going out the door to church. The Senora (Carmilina)

had prepared a bowl of pineapple for us and left me a thermos of

hot water so I could make instant coffee. Almost no one here

drinks fresh brewed, even though Guatemala is a major coffee

exporter.


I spent the rest of the morning wandering around town, receiving

E-mail from my dad and then responding to it. I looked around a

bit for a tour or something for the following weekend as it is Christmas

weekend and I had nothing to do. That night I went to a

restaurant for dinner. The plan was to go to Cafe Flor for Thai

food, but the restaurant is closed on Sundays, or so I found out.

I ended up at a nice Italian restaurant and had the special.

Spaghetti and soup for Q20. The soup was delicious but the

spaghetti (I ordered pesto) was swimming in oil and covered with

some green herbs. Not too bad but I didn't get a chance to eat it

all as I was late for my movie; "The Piano." As it turns out the

cinema was closed as well, for remodeling I think. Not much was

turning out as planned. Instead I just went to the same old

Cafe' Cafe' where I could watch American TV and drink Gallo beer

for about 1.25 a bottle. Actually as cheap as a movie but I got

the beer as a bonus. I returned home around 9:50 and went right

to bed.


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Antigua
photo by: monky