After Tikal we met our group in Antigua. The next day we drove to Panajachel in our chicken bus. Now let me tell you, these bus divers are C-R-A-Z-Y! There was at least a dozen times where I though “We are going to roll over!” or “Ahhhh we will never fit through there”. But every time we made it through safely. This bus driver would maneuver the bus in and out of the smallest places. These roads aren’t nearly as wide as the ones in the USA and he still managed to keep us all safe. Surviving the chicken bus was probably where the most ‘excitement’ was for a lot of people.
Panajachel is a lake town surrounded by 3 volcanos. It’s a very good spot for tourists to come see. We bought all of our tourist-y take homes from here. I saw all of these women wearing their children with a type of side sling wrap. It was so cool seeing it because I wore Audrey and you don’t see that too often in the States. I bought 2 wraps while I was there and they were each around $20. Of course Audrey wont let me near her, but maybe my next little one will………. Tom picked out a local painting of the lake with the volcano behind it. I also got a small painting of a lady carrying a basket of watermelons on her head. I had seen that painting the first night we arrived in Panajachel, but I didn’t think that I would get to have it. Of course you have to be great at bartering to get the prices lower, that is what I am good at. We also got Audrey another maraca for her collection. We bought her one in Nicaragua, Mexico, and now Guatemala. While we were here the group had 4 days to see patients. The bus would pick everyone up at 7:30am and they wouldn’t get back until 5pm. The mornings were nice and sunny, but at around 1pm it would get rainy.
May 9 we left Panajachel for Antigua. The ride in the bus was particularly draining this time. We had the option to hike a local volcano on Saturday. This volcano had erupted 8 weeks before so it was very exciting that we would get to see an active volcano. I don’t enjoy hiking but I have to admit that it was worth it. Once we got to the top it was a wasteland of lava rock and smoke. They let us walk on the lava rock and you could feel the heat radiating out. It was pretty amazing. Volcanos are just so incredibly powerful, it was hard for me to realize that I WAS ON AN ACTIVE VOLCANO! There was a tiny hut there where they sold handmade jewelry with lava in it. The money went to a local educational charity. The men working there had videos of the last eruption to show everyone. Apparently they were standing on a high point as they watched the lava flow burn their first hut down. We bought Tom’s mom a Mothers Day gift and I got a ring, bracelet and earrings. I have to say, seeing the volcano and getting to experience a sliver of it’s heat was the highlight of my trip.
Here is a picture of us in the Cocoa Museum in Antigua. We also stopped at the Jade Museum. I guess Guatemala is also famous for their harder Jade. Other countries have Jade but they say that Guatemala has the strongest Jade in existence. It was tempting to buy some Jade, but they were SO expensive. If they were sparkly like diamonds it would have been a different story.
Sunday we flew back to snowy conditions in Colorado. It was Mother’s Day so I was eager to see my monster baby. We were able to hop on an earlier flight to get home in time to get hugs from Audrey. She saw Tom first and she just ran to him. It was adorable. She grew so much while we were gone. I can’t believe how quick babies grow. They change so fast in the first 4 years. It was a nice trip, but I was definitely glad to be home. It’s just so nice sleeping in my bed and having all the luxuries that we have in the USA. We really are lucky here.