el cielo

The best part about traveling, besides the adventures and the sights of nature and buildings, are the people you meet and the stories they tell. Everywhere we go, we meet and adopt lovely boys that become the four or five to our threesome, and end up being the most fantastic people ever. I’m so happy.

It usually goes like this:

We were hanging out in the open lounge area of our hostel here in Antigua, sprawled out all over bean bag chairs (surely infested with fleas, but whatever) attempting to read our new books. We had actually planned on a mellow night. I had traded in two books for a copy of Jane Eyre that we had to duct tape back together. There is something weird about reading Charlotte Bronte while crammed in chicken buses running all over Central America, and it makes me talk in a British accent, but I loveMr. Rochester. Then all of a sudden, these two Israeli dudes pulled out guitars and started jamming. I´ve missed my guitar so much and have regretfully let my fingernails grow and and watched my callouses fall away. We invited them over to jam.

who wouldn’t want to brush teeth with us?

Pretty soon we were singing Radiohead and listening to “Knocking on Heavens Door” in Hebrew, and I led some rounds of “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” The hours passed and day turned to night. The stars came out, brighter than at home, and eventually we lured the whole hostel out to our back porch with our vibes. We were singing at the top of our lungs the same five songs everyone knew over and over, passing Gallos and meeting people and feeling ¨closer to the sky¨ as Natasha put it. We went out dancing, and David from Georgia taught me how to ¨shag¨ which apparently is Southern for “dancing really fast in circles,” and we ate bags of Cheetos and Snickers when we came home at 4am.

We’ve met a ton of Israelis on this trip, fresh out of their army service. We’ve had so many interesting political debates. I have learned much about their country and am now convinced that my next trip is to Israel. Our favorite Israeli so far is Gev, the boy we just adopted. He brought a small red guitar with him on this trip. He´s focused in Antigua, volunteering with children for the next month and attending Spanish language school. He´s very tall, with a shaggy Jewfro, light blue eyes, and a small beard growing over a large scar that I think is from a cleft lip operation. He´s like a giant gentle teddy bear. He always has snacks for us in his backpack and will carry heavy things for us, too.

volcano. no biggie.
roasting weenies and mallows on lava!

Last night we went with some of our Israelis to climb Volcan Pacaya, outside of Antigua. We did the evening hike, which is somewhat dangerous…groups tend to be robbed of everything but their underwear by bandits who roam the volcano. Exciting!

We were climbing up through a jungle and clouds with huge walking sticks, and then scrambling over lava rocks, to get to actual flowing lava, literally beneath our feet. The steam and heat waves almost hurt your skin it was so hot, and we roasted marshmallows and turkey dogs over the lava streams. We had to hike back down the mountain in the pitch black dark, and all the former Israeli soldiers started calling out whatever we were about to encounter in the path, apparently that is a soldier practice. We joined in the yelling “rock, stick, roots, tree,” and eventually translating into Spanish, “roca, raices, arboles, mierda!!” when we started running into the horse poop. So funny. I love Israelis.

Tonight we head to XELA!!! Its Guatemala Independence day tomorrow, and the country is already going crazy; flags everywhere, firecrackers, ballooons, the street vendors crowding everyone, kids running up and down the streets yelling ¨¨NACIONAL!!!¨¨ over and over.

I love Guate

Wish you were here!