Friday, February 22, 2008

Climbing the active Pacaya volcano - oops false start

If you have not already notice, I started my volcano part my trip already - the first one being volcan Izalco in El Salvador.

I signed for a cheap $5 guided climb of the Pacaya volcano nearby. You needed a guide and security guard since it is dangerous and robberies do occur in the park. Like people always say, it is too cheap to be true. The tour agency told me to be there at 1:45PM, but at 2PM a guy show up telling us the van has been stuck in Guatemala city due to traffic - why is the van in Guatemala city in the first place is beyond me. Anyway we waited till 3 and was told it will be another 30 minutes, at 3:30, still no van, so I asked for a refund and luckily I got one. I then decided to go with $8 one for tomorrow at the same time, and I hope it is a more reputable tour company.

Other than waiting for climbing the volcano, I spend the day wondering the city, shopping for breakfast and local market, catch up on my pictures and blog, shop for souvenirs, and backup my pictures - i.e. nothing active or exciting.

Then at dinner I went to a "non-gringos" hangout place and ordered some Mexican food and orange juice, for some reason the waitress brought over the orange spice tea. And when the bill came, she included the cost of the tea on top my meal and drink. I could not fully understand what she was saying, but I think she insisted that I ordered the tea and then changed my mind and want orange juice. She refused to take the tea cost off the bill. When I thought we had an agreement she returns with change for the original cost, but I was slow to realize that and walk out with the wrong change, but I did realize the change was wrong and went back to demand my full change, but again she refused to refund me the difference, so I went to the bartender and he was able to refund the cost of the tea. After couple such of bad incidents, I started to dislike the people of Antigua, too many tourists and scams, and unfriendly people.

Little about Antigua, it was founded on March 10, 1543 and served as capital for 233 years. It was destroyed by earthquake in 1773. It has since been restored and declared UNESCO heritage site in 1979. There are tons of tourists here as well as Spanish schools. It is almost a gringo town.

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