The trek up Vulcan Pacaya today was strenuous and our tequila hangovers quickly disappeared as we made it to the top of a steep hill and took our first glimpse of the active volcano we had volunteered to walk on. Small children tried to rent us branches to use as walking sticks. We were at the back of the pack and two children on malnourished horses followed us the whole way up calling ¨taxi¨
and ¨you want horse
¨and ¨Ti's good horse for you
. Tempting because the trek was difficult and they pushed us up quickly without time to catch our breath. We are thankful we have the Keens hiking shoes because your shoes melt on the molten hot lava rocks. The surface of Pacaya was black, sharp, molten obsidian rock hardened on top and still steaming and glowing red underneath. There were ten in our tour and the guide spoke Spanish so we didn´t get much information. We do know the volcano stands at 2550metres high. We trekked on top of the hardened lava and really close to the red hot burning lava streams which were flowing in mass like bulging, hissing, crackling snakes. No-one could believe we were allowed this close to the lava. We pocketed a couple of pieces of obsidian, the black glass like rock formed when the lava cools. On the way down our guide instructed us to leap like spacemen down a steep hill. Our feet sank up to our ankles in small, fine, smooth volcanic rocks and once you started you couldn´t stop running till the bottom. Lots of people arsed up, Loads of fun. This was an awesome day for us and we were exhausted by the end.
Crashed out for an hour then refueled with water, re hydration salts (to replenish our water stores depleted by our poo problems), organised our packs and ate some chow mien and Gadu Gadu Indonesian, a break from tacos and tortillas. The only question is whether or not we will become professional cavers or volcano chasers.
We leave for San Pedro La Laguna tomorrow. I have sussed out a small village in the Highlands that has a fiesta which is on annually and coincides with the dates we can be there. It is an all day horse race in which participants race and drink, whipping their horses with chickens and the last rider on, wins amidst massive celebrations with food, costumes, fireworks and dancing so stay tuned for the upcoming ramblings of the crazy cats.
Tonight we met the craziest travellers we have met so far. A couple from Canada are riding a tandem bicycle around Guatemala and the rest of Central and South America!!!! They rocked up at the hostel this afternoon after having been hit by a chicken bus two days ago. The tandem bike is loaded up with gear and water bottles. Insanity! They have done 11000km already and i asked them to pose for a photograph because they are now our inspiration if we ever complain of carrying the backpack. ¨Backpack Rage¨ is a serious condition, just ask Nadia.