When we looked out this morning it was reminiscent of the South Pacific with the palm trees and thatched rooftops, but we were in fact docked in Port Quetzal, Guatemala. We had breakfast out on our balcony since I was heading out early for my zip lining adventure. I left Mom to her own devices today since I thought that this excursion might be the end of her. Surprisingly they had 2 large buses of people for this excursion, and some of them weren't youngsters. I did meet a couple from Charlotte, NC as well as another from Washington, DC. We started by heading into the town of Antigua. Guatemala is known as the "Land of Eternal Spring" due to their lack of seasons. We saw lots of farm land as we drove in including coffee and sugarcane. There were also several volcanos in the distance.
I believe they have about 25 active volcanos. The country is divided into 22 districts has has 23 different dialects. While this too is a developing country, it is much cleaner than either of the two places we've been. Once we reached Antigua, we got off of the bus and began our walking tour. The streets are all cobblestone, and a bit difficult to walk on. We saw stacks and stacks of wood outside of the homes and our guide told us that they still use wood to cook with as electric and/or gas stoves are not commonplace. They also wash all of their laundry by hand. The streets were narrow and full of shops, and in many cases the shop owners would live behind their store. Jade is a biggie here, but in various unusual colors including lavenders and blues. These were discovered back in 1999 after hurricane Mitch came through. We went through the Jade museum and then the option of shopping - of course a few items were purchased! We then walked around the town square and went to a few of the churches in the area. There is one that has the facade that is very detailed and referred to as the wedding cake church.
By 11:30 we were on our way to the Filadelfia plantation where we would have lunch and go zip lining. We ended up doing the zip lining first, which was probably a good thing. We left our busses to get on a jeep like truck and began the ride up the mountain.
I'm not sure quite how to explain that ride, but it scared the life out of me. We were going up suck inclines, switchbacks, etc, and no guard rails. The "road" was also made of cobblestones which added to the "fun". By the time we reached the top platform we were 6500 feet above sea level and it was noticeably cooler. We had to get strapped into all of our gear, had a brief safety instruction and it was time to fly. I wasn't really nervous until I was next up on the platform. When the clamp you onto the line and tell you to jump, it's a little scary. However, after the first run, I felt the rush and couldn't wait to go down the next line. By the 4th platform, I felt secure enough to go one handed and have my iPhone video the ride. It was amazing! After we descended through 8 platforms we had to again board the jeeps to head back down. I think that was the toughest part of the trip. It was almost 2 and time for us to have our lunch. We enjoyed sitting around talking about how amazing this day has been and we were soon on our way back. We finally returned to the ship about 4:00, and of course Mom was on the balcony watching and waiting for me to return. She had a very nice day on board, but was happy to see that I survived the experience. I'm thinking I will be a little sore tomorrow.
Tonight we were meeting our Dallas friend's Alan and Kay for a drink before dinner, so we had to start getting ready. We joined them in the Grill Lounge and had the most wonderful time talking, it was as if we were old friends. Then again, we do go all the way back to our trip to Dubai :) We had such a nice time that we didn't make it to the dining room until 8:45. I think our waiters had about given up on us. Dinner was very good as always. Mom had the duck and I had the ravioli and we both had the wonderful Grand Marnier soufflé for dessert. We did make it to the show, but struggle to get through it because we were both so tired from our early mornings. Tomorrow we arrive in Huatulco, Mexico.