Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Volcan Pacaya

The part we didn't get to. Photo by Issac
Antigua, Guatemala
I just read that volcan Pacaya first erupted 23,000 years ago but we just got there today and M. Lee griped the whole way up and down. This was his second visit and when the guide took us on the short cut instead of the loop trail it really pissed him off. The two of them even got into an argument at the crossroads (in Spanish) which was interesting in itself but to no avail. We missed the ridge view and best approach to the lava field however it didn't end there. On no. By the end of the hike, M. Lee had explained to everyone in the group what the guy had done so no one tipped him although he made a point of shaking all our hands so we could discretely slip him a little cash (which people are generally happy to do for a job well done). When that didn't work, he walked us to the van for a second good-bye. I didn't feel sorry for the guy. He earned it. When he wasn't playing the sport he spent a lot the time talking and texting on his phone. WTF?

Anyway, lava is incredible no matter what. A couple of people set their walking sticks on fire just because they could. The rest of us kept a little distance. It was shoe melting hot. Caliente. Muy muy caliente. Infierno. Hell hot. And dangerous. A sudden shift of direction and all bets would be off. We could see dual rivers of lava coming off the ridge (see photo). Unfortunately, because we had a lazy guide, we were not that high on the slope but hey... lava is lava. Where we were, it had slowed down cooling the surface so that a deathly hot tinkly gray ceramic partially covered the roiling fire flesh from which glowing eyes of flame appeared and disappeared and boulders rose up and broke free. In the hour or so we were there, the front advanced about 50 feet downhill and I suspect that when the guide lit his cigarette on one of the boulders, M. Lee hoped it would reduce his face into bubbly pizza. Just sayin'.


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