To the top of Central America

Trip Start Jan 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 05, 2007

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Hello readers!  May I first ask something of you--please send
comments!  Tell me what you like, what you dislike, what you want
more/less of, or just tell me whats going on in the States. I hear the
Mīs picked up Jeff Weaver.  Another brilliant move.  Guess it
fits with Bavasiīs strategy of signing as many old and oft-injured
players as possible.  God Iīm gonna miss Fenway this season. .
.  Anyway, Iīm sure most of you want more pix (Emery) and I will
try to oblige.  Unfortunately, sometimes the net in Guatemala is
painfully s-l-o-w and I canīt spend all my time in internet
cafes.  But Iīm here now, so heres the story from Xela (pronounced
Shea-la).  This is the second largest city in Guatemala and as far
as C. American cities goes, is pretty nice.  Its a much more
authentic representation than Antigua. Meaning its a lot dirtier. 
I guess when you barely have a functioning central government, garbage
collection and civic cleanliness is not to high on the list of
priorities.  I got to Xela on Friday and met my two Aussie friends
- Dan and Gidon (brothers) - at Casa Argentina.  I was
exhausted.  We all slept in the large dorm that night and despite
the noise, nights and pass of backpackers, I slept well.  Too
well, as I needed a wake up for our early 4:45am departure for the
trek. Luckily I had packed the night before, so I rolled out of bed and
into the back of a pickup for the ride to the bus station
Quetzatrekkers donate 100% of their profits to Escuela de la Calle-a
school for street children in Xela. Given that, we werenīt riding
around in air conditioned minibuses.  We took public transport all
the way to the start of the trail. Gotta love the chicken buses, esp at
6am! We hit the trail about 10am, climbing through common fields and dry grasslands.  In short order, the trail got fairly steep as we made our way up the scarred, deforested landscape.  Deforestation is a major problem in Guatemala, as farmers clear land for planting and villagers cut down trees for firewood to heat their homes.  The result are large canyons in the hills, carved by runoff in the rainy season.  There isnīt much that can be done as the government doesnīt have much interest in dealing with the problem and the locals need to eat, stay warm and make a living.  We made a lot of stops along the route and some trekkers decided to descend due to altitude sickness (puking, nausea, headaches).  For my tastes, we stopped too much but we had a large group - 16 people - so youīre at the mercy of the slowest hiker.  Regardless, it was steep challenging terrain, and the altitude really slows you down.  We arrived in camp at 10,500ft around 4pm, set up tents and then watched the sunset through the fog and gathering clouds.  The next morning, we got up bright and early at 4am and began the final trek to the summit.  Again, slow going but we made the summit at 12,500ft for a beautiful sunrise over the distant volcanos.  It was cold but the sun quickly warmed us as we descended.  It was a great trek, very beautiful but also slightly discouraging due to the environmental impact of the surrounding forests. 

Tomorrow is Tad and Ted Are Back Together Day!  Iīm off to La Ceiba Honduras on an all day bus.  I canīt wait to see the Tedster! 
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eeeeee on

well i am glad someone is doing this for me , i mean haaving fun at my town of birth i was born in XELA but have been in the states for 20 years now and its allways nice to have news about this place so Gracias for the in put enjoy C/YA!!!!

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