contains mild peril

Monday, February 27, 2006

first day

OK, these are my notes for my first day in Guatamala. Don't worry, I won't be repeating this stuff as a daily blog. It would get tedious, as I now realise I ain't as full of adjectives as i once thought (honestly - it may be the alcohol - but I had to just look up to actually find the word "adjective" as my mind had gone blank)

I'll skip the Jenn entry as you already have that...

"Its hot - yippee!"
yep this is the first thing I wrote. Based on the idiocy of my comments from now on I'll paraphrase my entries.

actually the first entry is:
"Its hot! yippee
Not the first thing to say but as I write I'm (not so gently) burning.

So who have i met (in my first day). Alexandra, Lisa, Judith, Liz"
Ok now I'm gonna paraphrase to save me typing (excessive) shit.
Alexandra I met on the plane. Really nice Australian girl/ woman (take your pick postmodernists). Great first leg. We chatted a lot but somehow (miraculously) we both shut-the-fuck-up when the other person needed to just sit and mong out to the dumb film on the seat in front of us. This is no mean feat. We were stuck together for a trip across the atlantic. maybe 11 1/2 hours to SF. Coulda ben that we utterly ignored each other but instead we had a good chat, watced the nonsense, ate our food, and as far as I'm concerned she was a perfect travelling companion. Do they breed Aussies this way??

anyway, landed at San Francisco - then flight to LA and met Lisa who spotting my cut-down Lonely Planet asked if I was going to Guatamala. we agreed that we'd hook up for a cab together. She was far more together and sussed than me. This was later evidenced when we dropped me off at the hotel I'd zeroed in on (via LP) which to her mind was a bit far from the centre of town and I think she wondered how I'd get on with zero Spanish. Nice woman but never spotted her again and no great loss to either of us. Needless to say my reasons for going to said hotel (good write up and English speaking owner) were untouchable, and for someone who regularly walks an hour into 'town' 5 minutes was hardly beyond my limit!!

At Gutamala airport, me and Lisa met Judith and Liz. 2 real characters. When I retire (or get near that point) I want to do what these two are doing. Leaving their husbands (and kids!) for a few months and travelling around Central and South America for a bit. And unlike me they were so NOT green. As Judith said at one point "you can buy a taxi in Mexico for $25 and it will take you anywhere - I ain't paying more than that for a cab from Guat to Antigua". Met her agian a few days later and it was like she'd adopted me. Needless to say, they were in the bestplace to be an were just leaving - they knew how to have fun, find the best places etc from experience - I hope I'm halfway as good as that in 10 years time. Sadly I don't think I'll have sailed down the coast of America to SA by then....

sorted out my hotel. My Spanish is nonexistent (I can't stop emphasising this) but everyone I met was fantastic even if they had little English. At worst we'd both just smile and laugh and I'd try shadow puppetsof what I wanted. (at moments like these I tend not to eat well).

So, I arrive in Guatamala airport at 6am. I travel to the prettier Antigua (town) an arrive around 8am. sort out the hotel and am ... welll... what do I do now? after walking around for a bit I join up for a climb up Volcan Pacaya, the only active vocanoe in Guatamala. set off at 1pm.
Meet a whole bunch of good people on that one (Jenn, Alex, a German couple who I meet again later..). Its exactly what I needed after being cooped up. A few hours easy walk and then a small bit of hard walk at the peak. OK the conditions at the top weren't good (zero visibilty, choking sulphuric fumes leading to days of illness) but still. Best day's walk I'd had in a while!

On the incredibly bumpy trip back, I was sitting between 2 seats in a minibus. Still, I managed to sleep. I guess it was the previous 20-odd hour journey to Guatamala with no sleep as much as the climb.

But I DID find the cure to jet lag! I didn't suffer a jot from then on (unlike now that I'm back)



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