And Jan 18 2001 - after the El Salvador
earthquake on Jan 12 ... Kirsty wrote ....
been an earthquake down south until we read our
emails with messages from various people telling us it
had happened and there are several hundred fatalities.
We would have been sleeping in Panajachel at the time I think - a
village on the shore of Lake Atitlan. Since we canīt read the newspapers
and canīt understand the radio, thereīs probably a lot of
stuff going on around us that we have no idea of....
Well, we are safe and happy here in Guatemala. We didnīt even know there
Visited the Chichicastenango markets from Panajachel, which
were very impressive. Heaps and heaps of stalls selling
brightly coloured rugs, scarfs, masks, necklaces etc etc
Coley and I both bought a rug and a few other bits
and pieces. Hundreds of indian Guatemalans walking around the markets
in their indigenous ųniforms'... the men were very cute in their brightly
coloured long pants and long sleeve shirts, with a dark brown and white
pin striped wrap around their waste and a white cowboy hat!
Yesterday we did a bit of altitude training... We climbed Volcano Pacaya,
which is the active volcano near Antigua, where we are now.
ever think I want to go to Nepal and do treks around
there, can someone please swiftly remind me that it is
VERY VERY hard work!! The climb was two hours, the last hour
or so through volcanic rubble at about a 45degree angle.
So much pebbles
and rubble that when you take a half metre step up, your foot slips back
quarter meter when you put your weight on it.
So it was two steps forward,
one step back the whole way.... But the view from the top was well worth
it - absolutely gorgeous.
And there was a heap of steam coming out of the
crater. Was freezing up there, but sitting on the rocks was like sitting on
a heater. Ski-ed down the steep rubble at sunset (much more fun than climbing!)
and walked the last hour or so back to the bus under the stars by torchlight.
We`re catching an overnight bus up to Flores tonight to visit the
pyramids etc ruins in the jungle at Tikal. From there probably a couple of
days on an island off Belize, then back to Mexico and a week or so around
the Yucatan Peninsula.
Catch you soon.
And from Nicole ....
Yes, I am alive and well and we didnt know anything about
the earthquake in El Salvador until we read our emails
(the typical traveller keeping up with world events!).
Thanks for your concerns.
Kirst and I have been fairly busy the last week or so, so
read on at your own interest!! We had the most
interesting border crossing I have yet had, crossing in
from Mexico to Guatemala. What was supposed to be 9
hours and 2 buses turned out to be much much more! We
left at 6am and reached a very disorganised border
crossing where you had to push and shove through the
markets to reach the next bus, pay the corrupt border
officials and then onto the next bus. No luxury coach
though! The buses here are about third class.. they look
like those yellow school buses you see but all bright
colours and no air con. In fact a seat for two people is
actually a seat for three people!! We got quite a shock
the first time we were asked to move over for someone to
sit on the end! We also got majorly ripped off on the
bus and each bus we got on, turned out to NOT be going
to the destination that we thought we were going!
Luckily we met about 8 other travellers doing the same
thing, some who spoke Spanish so we made it to
Panajachel in about 12 hours and four buses! Quite an
experience! We had a few nights in Panajachel on Lake
We did a day trip to the biggest, brightest,
most vibrant markets in Guatemala and bought some really
practical things to lug around in my back pack - like a
big colourful rug! However, it has come in handy as the
nights have been a bit cold! We then moved on to Antigua
and have been here for a couple of nights. Yesterday we
climbed an active volcano - it was brilliant! It was a
two hour climb - all up and VERY hard work. the last
hour was directly up and in really loose volcanic stones
so really hard to get a foot hold. The top was really
worth while, getting to gaze down the crater at the
smoke billowing up. Makes me wonder how many people have
fallen into it since you are allowed so close. Coming
down was great fun - imagine running down a ski slope in
powder snow - swap that for volcanic stones and thats
what we were doing at high speed! We had extra security
to get us down the volcano in the dark, as the area is
known for bandits. Tonight we are
off on our first overnight bus (dread dread) to Tikal,
some mayan ruins in the jungle.
Then it is off to Belize
(a small country I hadnt even heard of before I left
London!) to spend a few nights on the carribean islands
(second largest barrier reef to QLD). So, we are not far
off the sun again to start on my tan after four weeks of
travelling! The food is slightly better in Guatemala,
thank god. I think we have enjoyed maybe one meal since
we left home. And there arent many icecreams here so
there will be no repeat of Dahab on my waist line!
Having heaps of fun. Take care