BITE! That´s right folks, bed bugs and the whole sha-bang. Oh well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Ayway, I spent this weekend on a 2 day pack trip up Tajumulco, the highest point in Central America. It was absolutely beautiful!!! I went with QuetzalTrekkers, a non-profit, volunteer-run trekking group out of Quetzaltenango, who I highly recommend! A group of 17 of us, from all around the world, left Xela at 5 on Saturday morning. We got to Minerva in the back of a pick-up (Cold!) and then took 2 chicken buses to get to the trail-head. Then we hiked up to base camp which is in the saddle between the crater of the volcano and the point next to it. The guides (all about our ages) said that we were the fastest group they had ever had, which was nice because it meant that we got to take a nice long luinch and hang out at base camp in the afternoon. Lunch was really delicious veggie food, including a beet salad and guac. That evening we climbed "La Corona" to watch the sunset, which was amazing because of the clouds we had watched rolling in all day. Then down to base camp for dinner, and early to bed.
We got up at about 4:30 the next morning to make it to the summit of Tajumulco for sunrise. We al took up out pads and sleeping bags with us to relax and eat cookies and watch the sun come up. We also had views of tons of volcanoes around us and theoretically we could see the ocean. On of the smaller and very active volcanoes, Santiaguito, errupted while we were watching it from the summit! Then we walked around the rim of the crater and back down to camp for breakfast. The hike down was fast and we ate at a comedor (which put hot dogs on the veggie plates) before taking the 2 chicken buses back to Xela. One of the buses had 4 people in most seats and 3 in come, with all 17 of us plus some others standing in the aisles. Not the worst ride I´ve ever had, but the other passengers were probably not happy about how we smelled. The trip was beautiful and it felt good to be out of the city for a bit and do some nice hiking!
Last weekend we went to Fuentes Georginas, which is are really nice natural hot-springs, and spend a few hours there reading, sunning, and getting all pruney in the pools. On the drive there we went through some beautiful farm land around Zunil, which is know for it´s agricultural market, and all of the nasty chemicals it is dumping into the river running through town that they use for irrigation. A couple of days before Fuentes, we did a nice hike to Laguna Chicabal, which is a lake in the crater of an inactive volcano. It is said to be sacred for the Mayans, and when we went we saw some small altars and flowers as offerings on the beach of the lake. The view from the mirador above the lake was stunning and we could see two inactive and one active volcanoes from there.
We also had a pot-lich and birthday party, complete with cupcake decorating, this past week for my friends Amanda´s birthday. The food was delicious and we had a blast all evening. Things are going great here, and I will be sad to see poeple go this week and then leave myself, but I am so grateful for the experience I have had here!