Well, I'm officialy exhausted. We hiked the City of Stairs today which was a 2 and a half hour hike up the mountainside. I have nicknamed Guatemala, "The City of Neverending Hills". We have biked and hiked up the longest, windiest, roads and paths that keep going on and on and on. Everytime we turned the bend, I was praying for the top, but it doesn't come! The hike, while challenging, was gorgeous. We were dropped by boat at a small village and then hiked up the steep stairs of the village into the countryside. Again, we had amazing views of Lake Atitlan the entire time. The views became better the higher we hoofed it up the mountain. Luckily, we stopped a few times so we all could catch our breath and enjoy the views. We hiked by Mayan farmers in the fields along the hills. We passed several Mayan women carrying huge bundles of firewood on their heads, wearing full Mayan dress and flip flops. It was humbling to think these people hike up and down these trails everyday with alot less gear than us AND huge loads on their heads! Going on a hike like this offered us a great opportunity to experience more rural, Mayan culture in Guatemala. I'm so glad we did it (even though my legs ache like crazy!).
Yesterday we hiked from our hotel on the lake to a town called Santa Cruz. I got to see a school yard full of Guatemalan children playing fruit basket mix-up. THey were so cute! Today is a mardi gras type holiday in Guatemala. As we were hiking, we came upon towns that were celebrating. All the kids were dressed up in costumes and dancing. It was sort of like Halloween in the states. They have these hollow eggs filled with confetti that people smash on each others heads. We had great fun with that one!
We are back in Antigua today after our hike and a 2 hour van ride. I opted out of the salsa lesson to rest and then walk around Antigua for some alone time. I found the market, which I almost got lost in. There are rows and rows and rows of stalls of colorful textiles and various items. It's easy to get completely turned around in that place. Venisha, I wish you were here to shop with me! It was a Thailand flashback, but with completely different things to buy. I kept myself in control. I'm saving up to buy lots and lots of Guatemalan coffee to bring back to the states. I didn't forget about the coffee you want Trace!
Well, I better head back to our hotel or my travel friends will think I got held up or kidnapped. We're actually eating Thai food tonight. Go figure! I'm ready for something other than Guatemalan food. I hope everyone is enjoying all the snow while it lasts!