Spent the last few days roaming the town, sorting flight to costa rica and hotel for the week.
There are loads of hotels and I found a good clean one at low price. we have to share the bathroom and toilet with the otehr guest and we can use the kitchen.
Mostly families here so lots of babies crying and kids throwing tantrums.
Styed for 2 days and headed to next one which is slightly more expensive but it has your own bathroom and toilet and it has no windows to the outside. only to the inside corridors. it is of course surrounded by other buildings but most important it close to the centre of town so 2 mintues to get home after a night out. compare this to the last place which was 15 minutes walk into the slient night but bright streets. the second hotel with the kids was about 5 minutes from the centre.
I finally went up an active volcano - well not so active.
I think it is a dying volcano but the local guide refuses to acknowledge that it is slowing dying as it reduces the amount of lava it throws out.
It was a nica and early start to the day (5 am) Got up made some sandwiches for the trip - hot dogs with rolls - no butter or ketchup. I am staying in a hotel and I can use the kitchen but there is no condiments and for one day I could not be bothered to buy butter and ketup that comes n large containers. we are in a family style area so no mini bottles. On reflection I should have paid burge king a visit and "stole" some ketchup.
Had time for a quick banana and then ran to catch the bus at 6.
5:55 and I am at the right place but no one to be seen nor any buses.
So I waited and had my breakfast of prepack yoghurt with muelsi - yes they do have them here and one of those delicious hot dogs. well it was a cold vienna but it tasted good even without butter and ketchup - but guys dont try it unless you have to it was sad meal but did the job.
Anyway 15 minutes later a chicken bus rounds the far corner and a person yells out to me. yep that is my bus which normally holds 50 seated but in practice like london tubes - there is always place for one more.. only 6 people on board with sad faces- my travel buddies for the day - yippie!!!
Anyway, we head to the otehr 3 stops and pickup a few more people and we have a group of 18. not bad - what I was promised but not sure why they needed a large bus.
Got to the volcano and can see it. can only see tree line and then clouds but there is something behind it. frst thing that strikes me is there is a town with its own elective that is build on the side of a volcano that is ACtive!!!
Loads of kids try to rent broom sticks to us- to walk up to the volcano they say.
I am a strong healthy guy I dont need a stick.
Walk to the volcano is about 3km. The walk starts out strong with a 60 degree incline. Most of the first 2 km is a varying incline of 45 to 60 degrees. still did not need the broom sticks. although there where guys on horses that shouted taxi every now and then - it slowly became g}funny as sometimes they said "Lady, (not to me) you want a taxi" she says " no Gracias" he says, " you sure , it is is muy bien" ( Very nice) it is more his tone rather than the words.
It slowly starts to level out and then we see one last gradient and then low and behold we pass through the clouds and a massive black peak of coal is visble.
The volcano is impressive and we can hear it make some grunting noises - I guess that is why people once thought dragons live there.
Then the walk became interesting. the next 500 hundred metre or so it to the top and walking on volcanic rock. not all of it is hard. most part it is like walking }on a mound of large gravel stones. now I need that stick. Alot of the time was }walking on all fours. there were loads of hot spots and sometimes you step on a rock and then thing what is that smell - ah my shoes.
I did slip'once and land on a hot spot with my hands but sadly left no scars!!!
a small reminder is good not a major one of course.
Anyway, one of the guys who took a stick put the tip on a red hot spot and it lit in a few seconds. the other hot spots where dark rock so not that bad.
We walked to about halfway up the cone and the heat increased drastically which was as far as we were able to climb. while taking a some picture the rocks began to fall which was a bit scary see red hot rocks hurtling towards you but it is small quantities so we could move out.
As the rock moved the heatd eminating increased like nthing I felt before. Imagine 40 degrees celcius on a hot day in south africa when the road starts to melt. That is what the dark hot spot felt like so now imagine what the hot spot that was clearing out felt like. walking down was fun but we got back safe with only one person who had blood drawn by falling but it was a scratch. Oh one american guys, walked up with socks and a flip flop stype shoe. the one with just the rubber bottom and 3 clips to hold the shoe onto foot.
On the way down, started a converfsation with one of the girls on the tour. she is from Kentucky. I had to ask how many KFC branches they have and she said loads. She is in journalism and once travelled through lesotho.
Then everyone got involved in a conversation which extended to the bus. then everyone fell asleep. There was a couple from Holand travelling with there 22 year old son. turned out they staying at the same hotel I am moving to today.
Our group was small and we seemed to be able to stick together for most parts so we dd not have much injuries as we followed our guid closely. I paid $10 for my trip. most other places charge $7 and dont give exact details of how many people are on the trip. here max is 20 people.
We saw a anotehr group ascend the volcano and they were like 50/60 strong and it was like a rush into Next on boxing day sale.
One of the ladies at the end fell on hit here head with lots of blodd coming out. here guide was so far in front that he had no idea until our guide shouted for him.
$3 extra is nothing to squibble about.
and if you climbing the volcano do take two of those broom sticks.
Came back to Antigua and that American girl hurridly exited the bus and walked away - not sure why. Anyway, I moved to the new hotel. went to get some water and then it started to rain heavily. pulled a chair in a cafe and had a fresh juice and watched the rain for an hour. how nice to spend an after noon.
Was supposed to join another tour (free) to the top of a small hill which has a really huge cross on it. but rain was heavy and the police who were to escort us had left so we did not even leave town.
Anyway, was chatting to the others who were to go on the tour and arranged a date for dinner on Friday with this Swedish girl who is in the same school as me.