Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
Antigua is about 1.5 hour drive from Guatemala City. My taxi driver from the airport yesterday spoke no English, and with my Spanish being so poor, I resorted to drawing a picture to communicate that I needed to go to an ATM before going to my hotel in Antigua (for an artist, the picture I drew was terrible and I’ve included it for your visual enjoyment). In the taxi, on my way to Antigua, I close my eyes and it’s just like my face is in an exhaust pipe… I’m practically commuting suicide by inhaling. There is no emission standard here and you can taste it. No doubt I’ll get the black lung as well as Zika. Travel presents from countries to me. Antigua is truly the sister city of San Cristobal. With cobblestone streets, lamp posts and similar architecture, it’s charming and familiar. In the morning, a small group of us walked the streets of Antigua and in the afternoon, I opted to take a the Pacaya Volcano hike. The hike was 4kms, moderate uphill and was made longer and less enjoyable by the fact I kept having to wait for the group to catch up by the guides instruction/ pleading. Clearly I’m the only mountain goat of the group with 3 people ending up doing the climb on horses. It’s illegal to do the hike without a guide… Apparently. The view to the volcano and mountains surroundings are great and the clouds lying in the valley give a real majestic feel. The volcano billows smoke but hasn’t erupted since June 2015. From the lookout, we head down to the base of the volcano and toast marshmallows in the hot pockets of lava rock. Due to traffic and poor road conditions, I didn’t get back to my hotel in Antigua until 9pm.