Ten cuidado con el fuego (It’ll burn you!)

My lack of updates is due to normal life setting in. Most days I’m pretty sure I’d trade the beautiful backdrop for a reasonable Internet connection, but I’d like to be at the point where I wouldn’t make that trade, but it’s difficult to get there with a bad connection. Vicious cycle, right?

So after a couple weeks of lots of work and just surviving Guatemala, my brother visited for a long weekend. When all is said and done, I feel like he got a pretty good taste of traveling and made the most of the weekend.

We took the 4-hour shuttle to San Pedro, and I got some work done while he got lost in the streets for a while. He took a boat to hippie town and enjoyed the lake a bit, and then we headed back to Antigua for our grand volcano hike.

Acetenango is a big volcano near Antigua that overlooks Fuego (an active volcano that was constantly steaming, but unfortunately didn’t erupt). It’s an overnight hike, so we left with our group around 9am, started hiking by 11am, and then spent 6 hours or so walking up a volcano. Because for some reason that sounded like a good idea.

We made friends with a couple Indian guys from Austin, one of them bailed before we left, and I ended up carrying a 4-person tent unable to strap it to my backpack. The years of childhood “run with the egg on a spoon” finally came in handy as I just balanced it for most of the walk.

As seems to happen whenever my brother and I do something (see the first post ever on here), it was really foggy on the way up. Here was our beautiful view:

Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
If you look really closely you can see things in the distance

That was the jungle level. I went for a pee at some point in there, which caught the eye of a giant hummingbird. I’d never envisioned a situation where I would be afraid of a hummingbird before, but I’d never had a giant one hovering, curiously staring at my junk before either. My snap reaction was to sort of try to pee on it, which successfully scared it off. Anyways, I’m adding “going looking for a hummingbird” to my vocabulary as a euphemism for peeing in the woods.

Once we beat that jungle level it actually cleared up quite a bit. Here’s the view from where we camped for the night.

Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
From this volcano you can look down on inferior volcanoes
Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
That is Fuego. You can see it steaming because God is making tea

After a night of freezing in the wind, we got up bright and early at 4am to a foggy morning. My brother and most of the rest of the group wisely decided to stay, and they had a great view of the sunrise. Things turned out ok for the group that decided to trek straight up for an hour and a half too though. Here were some views of the sunrise from the top:

Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
If you enlarge this you can see mostly darkness, but bigger
Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
Lights from a town where people are smart enough not to sleep on the volcano
Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
Cloud blanket
Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
Less of a cloud blanket, more sun
Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
Ok it’s a cloud blanket again
Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
You can kind of see Lake Atitlan if you squint
Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
If you squint here you can go blind

This was our new British friend on his way down. It’s that cool sandy stuff that is terrible to walk up but so much fun to slide down.

Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
Stop asking if everything is “nice,” man

We paused for a moment to grab this nice panorama before heading all the way back down to camp.

Acetango Volcano in Guatemala
One of those moments where it’s almost difficult to hate everything

Once there, we packed up and left. Since it rained, and was dirty, the tent weighted like twice as much and I got to carry that stupid thing all the way down too. Surprisingly I avoided back and neck cramps, so I guess that’s good.

After the trek, we drank on some terraces in Antigua like I had mentioned before. My brother got a good taste of the general travel experience sitting around the table with two British guys, an Aussie, two Indians, a German, a Dutch (can that be singular?), and the two of us. It makes for an entertaining time.

And then he had to get up at 4am to catch a flight back. Definitely a full weekend for him.  I stayed in Antigua an extra night to take advantage of the nice WiFi, plus the guys at the hostel know my name so it’s like a Guatemalan Cheers episode.

Also, I need to do laundry. My clothes smell horrible. Maybe I’ll do that now. A final note, what is it about underdeveloped countries and always stopping on 4-hour bus trips. We leave at 8:30, we get there at 12:30. You do not need to stop for a meal at 11. That is not a meal time.

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