Yesterday afternoon only Hannah, Ebony, Mark, Brandi, and I made it out for the volcano hike (and I only just barely made it...). Apparently after that long, crazy night, a lot of people weren´t in bed until 8AM, including Ben. He sent us off with a guide with almost no command of English. We drove about an hour and a half to a volcano that you actually can´t see from Antigua. After a very long, steep hike up what feels like a normal mountain, we came out on a cliff overlooking a field of dried lava, with the peak of the volcano rising beyond it. We were totally awestruck, and the guide was giddy that we were so amazed by it. Then, just when we thought it couldn´t get any better, he lead us out onto the lava. We climbed over sharp, steep rocks for at least the length of a football field. We felt intense heat coming out of the ground and at one point the guide threw some brush on a particularly hot area and it just burst into flame. He walked us all the way out to where two or three streams of lava were flowing (very, very slowly). We could walk in between them, and I thought my sneakers were going to melt... the heat coming out of the ground scorched my ankles and made my eyes tear. We got to see some dramatic lava movement, though, where a few large pieces fell over. It was definitely a huge highlight of the trip and well worth braving a hangover and four-hour´s sleep for. Who needs sleep anyway? I´ll sleep on the plane.
We spent so much time in the lava field that we literally ran back down the mountain... also, Brandi really had to use the bathroom and was not keen on 'el bano natural.' We had big plans for dinner... but then we all started dropping like flies. In the end, Katherine, Katie, Andrew, Mel, and Belinda all ordered pizza in Katherine and Katie´s room (again, the line was split between the 'oldies' and the 'newies'), Hannah and Ebony went to an Italian place, Nadia and Scott went to a Japanese place, and Mark, Brandi and I wimped out and veged in my room with more pizza and movies. At least this morning my room smelled like pizza instead of vodka and cigarettes.
I woke up a little early this morning to get some last-minute shopping and atmosphere in. I figured I really shouldn´t leave Guatemala without a little jade... so I bought a bunch. I have to head back to one of the shops again now to pick up a ring they are sizing for me.
The van picks me up at 11AM to take me back into Guatemala City and to the airport. None of us have high expectations for this airport... I just want my flight to be on time. I´m trying not to think about having to go back to work later this week, but this trip really relaxed me and re-energized me... for the next one!