In Search of America

Guatemala Dia Tres


Our alarms woke us bright and early this morning. We both stumbled around in the dark room finding our clothes and backpacks. The volcano Pacaya was calling our names. 

As we stood outside waiting for our shuttle, we met a sleepy pup outside the restaurant next door. He was curled in little ball just like Scharff always does. A man soon walked up, and the dog immediate perked up, and went into the restaurant with him. A couple of minutes later, the man came out with a half a chicken on a plate. I’m not sure if I have ever seen a more excited dog. He was doing a dance around the man with the biggest smile. A few feet away from us, the man put the plate down, and the dog began to eat. A minute or two later the dog started to cry. Both of us had no idea what to do. In the dogs mouth, there was a bone stuck and keeping his mouth pried open. I ran over to see if I could pull it out. Before pulling it out, the bone released itself. I walked away relieved, but also almost in tears knowing that probably happens a lot with the dogs around here. 

Shortly after, our shuttle came for us, and we headed towards Pacaya. An hour and half later of rough roads through small towns, we arrived at the base of our hike. 

We were greeted by our friendly guide from the small town of San Francisco, Guatemala, that is located at the base of the volcano. He had two assistants, a short tan dog named Percy and a black lab mix that had the goofiest grin. You could tell the black dog was part lab, because he was constantly begging for food. The black dog left us to go back down to the half way point of the hike, but Percy hung out the whole time. 

Shortly into the hike, we had made our way from the back of the pack, to the front. We made friends with our guide and learned phrases like “Dame esos cinco! (Give me a high-five)” Our guide (I cannot for the life of me remember his name) chatted our ears off for the entire hike. He was impressed with our hiking pace.

At the top of the mountain, was a gorgeous view of four volcanos. Pacaya and Fuego are two of the three active volcanos in Guatemala. We were at the base of Pacaya and Fuego was off in the distance. However, there are a total of thirty-seven volcanos in the country. 

It was kind of surreal to be at the base of an active volcano. We were at a distance, but could clearly see lava. After regrouping, we continued hiking up the volcano. We traversed across the sharp lava rocks and were joined by two of the cutest dogs I have met in the country. We stood far enough out of the direct fall lines of the lava, but could still feel the heat radiating through the rocks we were standing on. A local guide cooked marshmallows up for us to enjoy. The pups stood attentive, hoping one of us might share a small nibble of the sweet treat. It was so hard to not stuff the sandy blonde one in my backpack to bring home with me. 

After our treat, we headed back to our bus. When we got back into Antigua, we showered and headed back to our favorite cafe to enjoy a hearty lunch. We enjoyed another slice of the rosemary lemon zucchini bread. Before leaving, I asked the man behind the counter if we could have the recipe. He smiled and grabbed a tattered hand written recipe book from the back.  

We decided to walk around the city a little more later and stumbled upon a chocolate shop were we enjoyed a rosemary and cardamom chocolate bite. Rosemary everything. It’s hard to be disappointed with the chocolate here. 

For dinner we went to a wine and cheese place. We found a secluded table on the patio and enjoyed a grenache from Spain. It  was dry and spicy just the way I like my wine. Then we walked back down an alley where we found a tiny wine shop where we had one more glass before calling it a night. 

Today was wonderful. Hopefully, we will find another volcano hike to do on Lake Atitlan. 

Buenos Noches.

Sarah TumaComment