Gone to See Central America and the Panama Canal. Semester at Sea Spring 2011 Enrichment Voyage on the MV Explorer. Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop II with Michael Mariant. Day 6: Guatemala.
We arrived at San Francisco de Sales, a small hamlet in Pacaya Volcano National Park. As soon as we got off the bus we were mobbed by children selling (or renting) wood walking sticks. The price started at $1 US per stick, and quickly dropped to 2/$1. Before starting the hike we had lunch (chicken or beef with rice and vegetables). We were also given the option to ride a horse for $10 US. I decided to take this option since I had a good experience riding horses earlier this year in Patagonia. Unlike the ride in Patagonia, each horse had guide lead the horse up the trail. My guide was Antonio, and the horse I rode was named “Champion”. Much of the trail was in the clouds. Each time the group stopped to rest, the horse guides without riders yelled “taxi taxi”. Rob soon decided that he needed a taxi. At one point it started to rain, and I got to wear an authentic poncho. Near the end of the trail, we got off the horses and did the remainder of the trail on foot. We went past some hot vents — warm enough for some of the folks to roast marshmallows. There was another large tunnel that the more adventurous entered. When we got back to San Francisco de Sales, the kids that had earlier sold the walking stick looked to get them back. There was a real pecking order, with the larger boys retrieving more of the sticks. Some of the passengers did take the walking sticks back to the ship. There was a concern that the kids guiding the horses and selling the walking sticks should have been in school.
Author: David Mathre
I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, sky, and seascapes, travel, and astrophotography. I look for unique ways of viewing the world and presenting my images. I have traveled to over 55 countries in six continents, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on home renovation and expansion of a wildflower garden/meadow.
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