Tuesday, April 10, 2007

thoughts from Guatemala (SB07)

I often struggle to answer the question, "What is the craziest thing you have ever done?" How exactly does someone define crazy...? Risking mortality or laughing in the face of danger (not one of my hobbies ;)) I usually think of the time when we skinny dipped in a lake formed in a crater in Nicaragua. Or that time in college where we sled down the steep hill in a row boat filled with a dozen people onto a just barely, not really, frozen pond. These days, I would probably answer moving to Honduras to teach second grade :) but I'm quite sure that yesterday takes the cake for craziness in my minimally risky life.

Walking down the street in Antigua, Guatemala we met Manolo, a Guatemalan man with a long, curly ponytail and a quick grin. He talked us into to paying $8or so to take a bus 2 hours away and hike up Pacaya, an active volcano--one of those things you don't tell your mother about until much later.

It immediately started out funny because everyone who got on that bus with us were members of our ¨peer group Antigua.¨ There was the beautiful guy with floppy hair named Ian that Anna met and kept running into on her first day here, and calls her ¨substitute boyfriend.¨ There were the two girls that went to the same teacher conference with us in Tegucigalpa whose house we went to for Thanksgiving. Yeah, weird, huh. There was a guy named Vance who went to Hope and roomed with a guy I went to high school with. AND the guy who spent the whole 10 hour drive next to me on the bus to Guatemala sat with me on this bus. And there was also the guy who tried to sell us his writing at a bar the previous night. So so random. We had to laugh.

The actual hike was ridiculous—only worth it for the story. It downpoured the ENTIRE time up the volcano as we hiked uphill through the woods. So giant streams of muddy water cascading towards us as we thought of mudslides. It finally stopped raining when we got to the part where we had to hike over the loose lava rocks. That was the tricky part. Probably over an hour of careful stepping over sharp, loose rocks. We didn´t go all the way to the lava, though we had some about foot from our feet. We could see it glowing red down beneath the very rocks we were stepping on. Some of the rocks were white with ashes. Think super unsupervised. After we got to the loose rocks I never saw our guides again.

A lot of our group headed straight to the lava. Like next to falling, burning liquid. So so scary. I decided that I didn´t need to get that close. (As it turns out, my bus buddy Jacob melted the soles right off his shoes!!!) Anyway, it started to get really foggy. We couldn´t see more than 10 feet ahead of us! And we knew we only had half an hour before dark! So, without our group, we decided to start heading back. The only problem was that we couldn´t see which way to go and it was a giant field of big lava rocks. This (not very encouraging) man kept telling us to hurry because we only had a few more minutes of light. What got us to the end of that part was seeing a light in the distance of what we later found out to be a man sitting on a blanket with his daughter. WHY? Anyway, after that we still had to hike down a steep, wet hill with the tiniest flashlight known to mankind. Anna teared up with fear. But I thought it was awesome. I mean, when will I ever do that again?! I knew we would make it fine as long as we went slow and stayed together. It started raining really hard for the last part of the hike. People kept falling in horse poop that they couldn´t see in the dark. (That was another funny part. The whole beginning of the trip we were surrounded by men with horses that kept saying, ¨Taxi? Taxi?¨ hehe :)) But we made it safe and sound to the bottom. And took a picture. I felt like I was on survivor.


Anonymous grace b said...

i LOVE this story. and i have such fond memories of "sledding" down that hill in the canoe. oh, funny college days.

10:38 AM  
Blogger HeatherK said...

that's one of the craziest things i've ever heard. seriously.

4:51 PM  
Blogger June said...

SWEET!!! And the picture is where? I'm so stoked that you're having all these great adventures! Today's adventure for me involved going to the supply closet and getting an organizing thingy that I call the zig-zag file. Life on the edge. :)

6:43 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Wow- sounds like an exciting adventure!!! I miss you Sarah!
Love you, aunt pam

1:45 PM  

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