We landed in Guatamala City around midnight. after a day of easy travel. If you’ve ever glanced at a travel guide, you’re fairly warned. It might as well say that you will be knifed upon arrival. I was happy to see a very small man holding a sign that said ‘Ivey Patton” outside the doors of customs. We jumped in his van, and sped into the night city. It looked not unlike any other city, except for an extraordinary abundance of Burger King’s. Sometimes even across the street from each other. We left the city and into the dark countryside and began to wind up and around on progressively smaller roads. Suddenly our driver slammed on the brakes and pulled over. Because I like to worry, I assumed that he had called in a posse and we were soon to be robbed and slaughtered. He was frantically pointing into the night sky ahead of us.
“Volcano! Volcano! he shouted.
And yes, straight ahead, were fireworks from Mother Nature and a hot lava carpet suspended on a dark mountain.
Della grabbed my leg. “We have been here for 45 minutes and I have seen a volcano erupting.”
And then the road tuned to cobble and we bounced into Antigua and made our way to our hostel. We were starving and pleasantly electrified so we decided to wander the night streets looking for a late night snack. The town was shutting down, the street vendors loading their wares and large families into the backs of ancient pick-up trucks. We tucked into a brightly lit tienda. We grabbed an odd assortment of Guatemalan crackers, chips, bright bottled drinks and a brick of cheese product, paid a darling small child who was minding the store, and made our way back to the room….giddy with travel and fatigue.
In a room too small to for all of our luggage, with a burlap ceiling, fluorescent lights, a concrete floor, and an outdoor bathroom we ate the first of many, I’m sure, oddball meals and wondered over our day. We did it. Our cozy beds are a million miles away. We sat in a tight little circle and laughed and joked and it all finally feels real.
We are a family afar.