Tuesday, Christmas Day, 2012, around 6 PMImage

Last week Juliet and I, walking around the town, found a guide willing to work on Christmas and we made arrangements to climb the Volcan Santa Maria.  By yesterday my cold had turned to something like bronchitis and I just wasn’t up for Sta. Maria, so we changed our reservation to an easier hike, the Mirador (viewpoint) over the active Santiaguito volcano.  This in itself was a pretty strenuous hike for me, but it was a scenic trail and our guide was friendly and interesting. Eduardo says he has been a clarinettist in a popular band and a symphony orchestra, and has been an illegal immigrant in California, working in Chinese restaurants.  He was caught once and he told the immigration guys he was from Mexico, so they deported him to Tijuana.  He is now the president of the association of guides in Xela. He’s easy and fun to converse with.  He is 58 years old.  His son was our driver.  Up north, we might consider having have both a guide and a driver to be more personnel than necessary, but somebody has to guard the car.  We saw two eruptions of Santiguito in a period of about an hour.

This morning, walking to Eduardo’s office for the hike, Juliet and I found to our great joy that the coffee place on the main plaza was open, 7:30 AM, Christmas day!  This place charges Starbucks prices, and Juliet commented that they must make a fortune.  I told her she should open a kids clinic in Guatemala, with an associated coffee store to raise funds.

Yesterday I was energetic enough to walk about a half mile to a fried chicken restaurant that has internet, but not today.  This will get uploaded tomorrow at the soonest, and I will not read email today.