Agua Azul- we climbed through this!
School ended at 12, and then once again up heart attack hill, where a bus was waiting to take us to the lakes, well close to the lakes, a small, very small town called Guamma (around a 2 hour drive from La Esperanza
)...the local bus was packed, and I had to give up the seat my leg was taking up for a mother and her little baby, which I was happy to do, but the chloroquine was just making the journey a bit hellish. Especially when it was reaching mid 30´s in terms of temperature. The smell of fried fish being sold by the vendors whenever the bus stopped was not one that went down too well....
Anyhow, 2 hours later we arrive in Guamma, I wouldn´t really call it a town, more a place, famous because the buses stop there.
Here it is closer up....
..and from there a local minibus to Pena Blanca....and from Pena Blanca, a pick up truck to our hotel Agua Azul. Going on this trip were me, Seb, Krish, Sally and a guy called Oz. Now, Oz was on a really tight budget, and the rest of us felt bad if we´d leave him by himself, so we decided to take his advice (as he went there the previous week) and stay here.
Cabin lake front sounds good...until you get into the cabins....they look like they had been deserted for a few years...the smell arising from the toilet was pleasant enough to knock a man unconscious. In addition to this, the hotel didn´t have electricity for some reason....so it was quite dark...well not quite...very. Oh and also, we were sleeping on the floor...sounds like fun no!
We thought it best to lock the room and head for some dinner, in the dark.
Being beside a lake has its good points, and its bad. The bad being, that because there was no electricity, everything was done through candlelight....and what gets attracted to candlelight....the most enormous bugs I had ever seen in my life. The best were the huge diving beetles, the size of your ring finer....which would literally dive onto you and bounce off you, and dive back onto you...in addition you had the hand sized moths, the many mosquitos, and other wonderous creepy crawlies. I feared how they cooked in candlelight...and what things may accidentally pop into the food...so I gave dinner a miss.
Got back to our cabin somehow...and found that someone had broken in, and took 500 lempiras ($25) from me, and some of Seb´s money...getting out through the porch at the front.
The pool we jumped into
..which made us feel very safe. Everyone was getting a bit pissed off, so we decided bed was the best thing, but how wrong we are. The cabin wasn´t made very well you see....and theres gaps at the bottom of every wall connected to the floor, so that bugs could step right in. We spent an hour or so killing the cockroaches and beetles and moths...and then I was on the floor stabbing other creepy crawlies with my pen knife....but we were all way too tired, and started to doze off...
Woke up with maybe 8 different insects on my pillow, and a cockroach in my hair, which was great fun in the morning, so I got back to stabbing more insects with my pen knife...and then noticed my back was really itchy...closer inspection showed that my whole back had ant bites.
Doing the cliff dive/jump
..which was very fun...and even with deet on, I had 27 mosquito bites down the left leg, and 22 down the right (I took my caste off, because there was no air conditioning or fan- so it got a tad hot)!
By this time electricity was back on, so we managed to get some breakfast down, and 4 of us, me, Seb, Sally and Krish went and chilled by the pool....which felt good on the foot, however, the pool had more insects in it than there were in the room. Anyway, it got to 12, and Alister and Rachel arrived here as well...so we decided it was time to head to the waterfalls....2 local buses, a pick up and a half an hour walk through dirt land in 40 degrees heat later...we arrived, and oh my god, it was so worth it!
We walked down a couple of hundred steps to see the waterfall 70-80 metres in front of us.
The chinese restaurant with the largest amount of food EVER!
We thought that was it....but oh no...the shoes came off, and we started walking....the most dangerous path I´ve ever walked in my life. Mud, caused by the spraying of water from the waterfall, with the 30m drop onto rocks down on your right...oh did I tell you before...safety isnt a very big deal here... any small slip of the foot and you´ve basically plunged to your death.
So closer and closer we walk to the waterfall, one point having to jump into a small pool created by the spraying water...to get to the waterfall....I can´t express in words how dangerous this is...I know people may be thinking, ah he´s over exaggerating, but one guy fell the week before and broke both his legs, but managed to hold onto a branch hanging off the cliff, so saving himself from death.
And there we were directly under the waterfall, a few cms to the side was the plunge, and what were we doing (with our guide), we climbed the waterfall so we could get behind it. I tell you, never in my whole life have I been more petrified, one girl had to give up because it was too scary and she headed back...but no the stupid people that we are we carried forward, round and over slippery rocks, seeing a cave, and thinking there was then a way out. But no, we had to go the whole way back...I really felt like crying....getting there was hard, but we didnt have to climb up slippy boulders to get there, we had to crawl over them....the journey back was horrendous!
Everyone held onto each other, as one person crawled up a boulder, and a chain was formed to prevent someone from falling to their death.
Krishan and his condom balloon
...did I mention there is no safety here....no net, no rope, no pathway....just nature as it is. And in that moment, I thought, this is just a tiny example of the power of nature...it felt like mother nature was giving us a good old slap on the bum and warned us about her true power. I tell you....I don´t think I could get more scared...we managed to walk the 20m out of the waterfall in around 50 minutes, but got out....where came the even scarier bit. The jump! The 30m jump off the side of the waterfall into the pool of white water below, which is supposedly quite safe. It took 20 minutes, hanging on to the side of the cliff, and making sure your feet didnt slip to get to the jumping point....and we had to jump outwards, because jumping directly down would kill you...but omg, it was the best thing I´d ever done...a sudden rush of adrenaline pushes you off the edge, and you fall and hit the water out of breath...hoping that you make it up to the surface...but then worse... was the swimming to the side afterwards...as unfortunately, there was a current. And we were swimming against the direction of the flow...one of the volunteers that went last week nearly went over the white water rapids and rocks, but instead held onto the rocks and got a broken finger in the process. We cimbed back up the cliff edge, and decided to head back, we managed to make it through just about unscaved, cuts and bruises were prevolent, but nothing serious thank god...the ankle was hurting, but I needed to get back, and we did.
Buses and a radio advertising pick up later, we arrived back at our lovely cabins....for another amazing night of creepy crawlie fun. It was a bit better with electricity, although in the restauarnt the light was just above our head, so we enjoyed smacking our heads throughout the night. We met 2 New Zealand girls who were travelling through Central America and then Europe, who were really cool, so we conversed through most of the night with them. Headed back to our cabin and yeh, more pen knife and biting fun...till the morning. Took the bus back to La Esperanza, after waiting outside our hotel for around an hour before a pick up gave us a lift to the bus stop. Rachel and Al went kayaking on the lake...the rest of us were too shattered and biten to be bothered to go. But we got back to La Esperanza...and 4 of us (the usual 4 of us) went and had a chinese meal. The largest one in my life...a 1 quid chicken chow mein could probably feed a family of 6 quite easily. But yes was an amazing meal, especially for 1 quid...returning to our house for a good rest...and a plate of fried bananas, beans and rice...just to make the stomach feel that much better.