Monday, November 28, 2011

Catching up on last week... Volcán Pacaya, Thanksgiving, leavng Antigua

Well, I've finally made it to a place with decent internet connection, and I have some catching up to do.

First of all, some pics of Volcán Pacaya, which I visited over a week ago but never got time to write about:
View of Volcán Agua from Pacaya
Like a completely different planet

Vents that expel hot air. I was only in that thing for about 10 seconds and when I got out I was drenched with sweat.

So last Thursday, Thanksgiving, was my last day in Antigua. Antigua is a great place, but I was ready to move on. I didn't have any turkey, but did get some pumpkin pie at the apartment of some of the other volunteers. I'm slowly but surely getting used to meeting really neat people and then leaving-whether its people I meet while traveling around or talk to on long bus rides or other volunteers that I've gotten to know. For example, I met this German guy who studies in Mexico on a bus ride back from Copán. We talked for the entirety of the 6-hour bus ride about... well, pretty much everything. Then he got out of the shuttle at the airport to catch a flight back to Mexico city, and that was that - never even knew his name. It's a weird phenomenon thats happened countless times now and that I just have to get accustomed to. Anyways, below are a couple photos from my last few days in Antigua:

Walked up to Parque Cerro La Cruz, which sits on a hillside that overlooks the entire city of Antigua. A really great view and a nice place to lay on a bench and doze for a bit.

One of the other volunteers and I coordinated the kids' painting of a mural, which turned out great and resulted in a lot of my clothes being paint-stained.
On friday morning I jumped on a chicken bus bound for Panajachel, Guatemala on Lago Atitlán, the deepest lake in Central America. Apparently, the crater that holds the lake was formed some 11 million years ago by a huge volcanic eruption whose ash has been found as far away as Florida and Ecuador. I'm staying in a really small town called Santa Cruz la Laguna, since Panajachel itself isn't the most relaxing place. Most of the inhabitants of this area are native Maya, who speak Kaqchikel to each other and Spanish to everyone else. This lake is pretty amazing. The entire lake is surrounded by deep escarpments and three volcanoes located to the south.  I've spent most of the past three days taking a SCUBA diving certification course. Not a whole lot to see underwater here, but it's super cheap to get certified here in comparison to Belize, where I'm headed in about a week. The idea is to be already certified when I get to Belize so that I can dive the coral reef there as well as the Great Blue Hole. Here are some pics of the lake I took the other day:

On Wednesday I'll leave here and head to Tikal, one of the most impressive ancient mayan sites discovered so far. And "heading to Tikal" entails a bus from here to Guat city and then a really long overnight bus ride from Guat city to Flores, the closest town to Tikal. This afternoon I plan to visit the natural reserve in Panajachel. Pics of that coming soon.

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