Planet Kapow 27 : Antigua to San Salvador

¿Donde esta la lava?!!!!

Yes, I was somewhat shattered to once again not get to see lava. But “thems the breaks” as they say. But I can’t complain, the view on top of Volcán Pacaya and the surrounding areas was incredible to say the least. It had just rained (actually whilst we were climbing), which meant the water turned to steam and made the whole scene very dramatic. To demonstrate how hot it was up there, our guide had brought a branch of a tree and held it above one of the volcano’s vents. Within in no time it caught on fire and I was chuffed.

But I am fibbing somewhat. A night or two before we were sitting on top of our hotel, having a beer and soaking up the nighttime atmosphere of Antigua, and something in the distance (in the direction of Volcán Fuego) caught my eye. IT WAS LAVA! Even though I think we were 10km or so away, this amazing lava stuff was shooting into the sky and then rolling/dribbling down the edge of the volcano and slowly fading into the darkness. If only we were half the distance away. But it was still incredible.

Whilst Erin was making her journey back to Mexico to collect a replacement/temporary passport (after getting robbed in Lake Atitlan), Danielle, Lachlan & I crossed over to El Salvador.
Lachlan has a great piece of what we go up to there. Head on over the Planet Kapow to have a read and check out the latest video that is Planet Kapow 27 : Antigua to San Salvador.

http://www.planetkapow.com/1707

Planet Kapow 26 : Nebaj to Lago de Atitlan

This episode we get off our asses and do some hiking in the mountains around Nebaj and I show some kids how to do armpit farts. After our cultural exchange we head south the Lake Atitlan and take a 5 day spanish course at the San Pedro Spanish School.

Warning: This episode contains some rather stunning scenery.

Come read Lachlan’s post and sit back, relax, and spend the next 5 minutes watching episode 26 of Planet Kapow:

http://www.planetkapow.com/1697

I also have some pictures and a write up from the time up in the mountains: http://adamteale.com/1617/

Planet Kapow 25 : Finca Ixobel to Semuc Champey

Hanging out on a Guatemalan farm then cruising the Rio Dulce, then relaxing in the natural hot waterfall of El Paraiso to then swimming in the amazing natural water wonderland that is Semuc Champey. And MORE!

Come have a read and watch the ep!

http://www.planetkapow.com/1688

Planet Kapow 24 : Caye Caulker to Tikal

Caye Caulker, Belize. Beautiful glassy water, coconuts, and not much else. This was the perfect place to revive ourselves post Cuba and get ready to hit up the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal over in Guatemala!

Grab your beach towel, a pina colada, and come chill in front of ep 24 of Planet Kapow:

http://www.planetkapow.com/1678

 

 

Guatemala: hike around Nebaj (Cuchumatan Mountains)

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Ok, I’m jumping the gun a bit with my backlog of posts I should be getting on top of, but here is an update that I really wanted to get up.

A few days ago we got back from a brilliant 3 days up in the Cuchumatan mountains around Nebaj in the province of Quiché, Guatemala.

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Danielle & I headed of with our guide Asinto from Guias Ixil in Nebaj and spent 3 days hiking 40km up, down & around exploring the small Ixil Mayan communities whilst trying to get our heads around Asinto’s explanations in Spanish about the brutal Guatemalan civil war that he fought in.

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The folks up in these parts, especially the women and children, came across as quite reserved/apprehensive at first. We couldn’t work out why, especially after having found that most people in Guatemala are quite open and up for a chat. Later we heard that there had been a few incidents of foreigners “adopting” children (basically stealing them) which ended up with some unfortunate tourists being murdered after picking up one family’s little kid whilst walking through one of the communities.

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Also, I’d say that the civil war has left a lot of the indigenous people up here quite suspicious of strangers.

Most people are subsistence farmers as far as I could tell and fortunately for us we didn’t come across anyone who tried to sell us anything! There are chickens, roosters, turkeys, dogs, cats, pigs and all the baby versions of these running around the place.

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The women by far have the most interesting garb – purple, green and yellow pom-pommed hair braids, huipiles (blouses/dresses) and rebozos (shawls).

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Most of the dads & sons seem to leave in the morning for work in town, or farm, or head out into the forest to log trees and collect wood.

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The first day was some of the best hiking because we ended up walking from a hot sunny day up in to a thick fog on top of a mountain. It was beautiful.

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The second night we stayed with a family and ended up putting on a bit of show to about 20 kids who had gathered around staring at Danielle and I through the kitchen door.
What to do? I showed them how to make fart sounds with their arm pits, and we exchanged different whistling techniques and sound fx. It was one of the best cultural exchanges I have had! 🙂

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There seems to be a rather massive evangelical church presence up here too.
Both nights we tried to buy a beer or 2 and ended up having to go to the edge of each community to find the one family who sold alcohol. It was a little weird, but a lot of fun to be one of the outcasts drinking in the little watering hole.
With so many people living in cramped wooden houses with dirt floors I couldn’t see how it was ok for there to be so many reasonably sized churches built out of concrete/cinder blocks that had hard floors and electricity (to power the “jam session” that was blasted over the PA across the whole town & valley).
I have no idea what the medical facilities are like up there but we saw/met a lot of people with bad coughs and kids that didn’t look too healthy (one family had 3 kids who were all covered in what looked like hives, red eyes and sniffling noses). I felt really sorry for these little guys (especially when one of them nearly poked his eye out whilst trying to climb a tree).
It just seemed that the little money that is up there is kind of going into the wrong places (but i ain’t judgin’!).

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Our time up in the mountains was fantastic and I’d really suggest to anyone who is going near Nebaj to take a few days and go explore!

The Photos

[flickr album=72157625886803871 num=101 size=Thumbnail]

The Route


View Larger Map

GPS track file (GPX)
http://adamteale.com/gps/Hike_CuchumataneMountains.gpx