. About 10 minutes later I hear Agnes's voice! They had received my note from the other hostel and have come to find me. I guess they got rooms real cheep at another hostel. I was able to get my money back from my room and was off with them. The room at the other hostel was really bad, but it was super cheap and it was only for 2 nights. Before dinner we decided to go hike the local active volcano the next morning and purchased our tickets. So I carbo loaded at dinner, that thing looked steep!
The next morning we were up early again and out the door ready to concur Volcano Pacaya. You had to drive about 1 1/2 hours to meet the guide who would take you up the trail to the top. Due to past violence on the trail everyone is required to go with a guide. The first 100-yards of the trail were straight up hill, nice way to start a hike. After a short break we all continued on, this is when the Israeli girls hopped on the horses that were brought along to help those who were too weak to do it themselves. I guess that is what happens when you don't treat your body well. Anyway, the hike was really not that hard, I have had worse (South Zapata Lake). The view was amazing but I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to get any pictures. My camera, even though I had recently charged it, was saying the battery was dead. However, there were two other people in our group with the same camera who offered to let me use their batteries
. Somehow mine held out. Anyway, like I said the hike was fairly easy until we got to the base of the volcano, which had been visible all day. Clouds then slowly rolled in and we had to walk straight up on super loose rocks. It reminded me of hiking up the sand dunes in southern Colorado... two steps forward, one step back. Once we were at the top of the volcano your lungs were filled with the smell of sulfer and every few steps you would get blasted with really hot air. The view would have been breathtaking, if the clouds hadn't engulfed the top of the volcano. The colors were view enough. The extreme temperatures and the sulfer had changed the surrounding rocks all different colors of green, yellow, and red. It was great. We even were able to see the glow of the lava flowing below. I'm just glad that was all it was doing. Agnes really surprised me by coming all the way up the volcano; I was a bit worried about her. The Israeli girl however waited at the bottom... I hope they don't tell anyone that they climbed a volcano, because they didn't (at this point of travelling with them they were really getting on my nerves, if you can't tell). Now for the best part. If seeing the lava and the vibrant colors wasn't enough, the only way down was to slide down the super loose rocks. It was a blast, kind of like skiing, but your pants would rip if you fell. I even thought about climbing back up just to slide back down. Agnes spent most of the way down on her butt; I was really surprised her pants weren't torn. It was great fun! Once at the bottom I started talking with this guy, Michael, from Denmark. He and his FiancÚ Kitie (I think) had been travelling for 8 months with 4 left. He had all sorts of good info about scuba diving and other great places to visit. I talked with him, while Agnes talked to Kitie. Before getting off the bus we all made plans to meet for drinks later that night.
After a much needed shower, my legs were black from the lava rock, Agnes and I went to find ceviche (raw fish cooked in lime juice acid with salsa) at a place she had seen
. We walked for, what seemed like, hours and tried to ask a bunch of people, but no luck. We finally settled for this great little pub for a light dinner and drinks. While sitting talking about men, Michael and Kitie walked by and stopped in. My second beer came in this really cool Gallo mug that I wanted. In really bad Spanish Agnes and I tried to ask the waiter if we could have it. At first he really didn't want to let us, but as Agnes put it in her bag, he didn't say anything. Once outside, we hit the street running... just for fun! After the hard day of climbing we definably deserved some ice cream while hanging out in the square. We then met the Danish couple and found a cool little bar that had nice relaxing chairs on the sidewalk. We talked for hours about great places to travel and not so great people to travel with. It was a lot of fun but Agnes and I needed to get to bed in order to wake up bright and early for the morning market in a town called Chichi (biggest market in Guatemala). However, before bed we had some cake to celebrate Dana (one of the Israelis) birthday. Just because I don't really like them doesn't mean I won't eat their cake.
Finally in Antigua I headed to the Hostel that Agnes and I had talked about staying at, but since I was 2 hours late, they were not around. They didn't have any rooms available anyway. So I waited around a while before reserving two rooms across the street and going to breakfast. I left a note at the first hostel before going down to the city centre to have a look around. The town square was really nice, lots of trees and restaurants. The first thing I noticed about Antigua, besides the European feel, was all of the tourist. Sure I too and a tourist, but in no town so far have I felt like there were more tourists than locals. It was a bit crazy. I headed into the main cathedral on the square. It was originally built in 1773, then destroyed in a earthquake and rebuilt, then destroyed, so they stopped rebuilding it and left it for a museum. It was really cool; you could tell that it was magnificent in all its glory. After walking around a while I headed back to the hostel with the reservations in order to work on the internet