Climbing Chikobal

by tuftsigl
Sep 11

Nicholas Nasser is in the class of 2017.  He is an Empower fellow.

Sorry for not posting in a while.  Been very busy with cultural lectures in the mornings and Spanish classes in the afternoons.  I am slowly growing more accustomed to the city and luckily it has not rained a lot even though it is the rainy season here.  On Saturday, I woke up really early to go climb a volcano called Chikobal which is about 45 min outside the city in an organic farming community called San Mateo.  The hike took about 2 hours to reach the top and then descend into the caldera which is basically the pit left behind after a volcano collpases in on itself.  In the center of the caldera is a lagoon which is a sacred site for the Mayans, and while we were there, we got to see a traditional ceremony performed on the edge of the water.  I learned that Mayans never used human sacrifices and that it was something that the Spanish had reported which is not true.  Instead, the Mayans sacrifice flowers during the ceremonies as they see all life as one single energy.  The Mayan concept of the world and life is pretty interesting.  All things material are both spirit and energy at the same time, and this energy descends from both the sun and the stars.  Makes sense because all the matter of the earth is from the explosions of other stars, and all our energy that animates life and drives chemical systems comes from the sun.  That is why the Mayans say they are sons and daughters of sun and the grandchildren of the stars.
So after Chikobal, we went to the Fuentes Georginas which are these hot springs heated by a volcano.  We got to taste the water that ran off the volcano, and the sulfur made it taste like lemon tea. Hopefully we will not get sick from it.  Sunday, I decided to sleep in and went with my roommates to the Xela Super Chivas soccer game in the stadium which is a few blocks from my house.  Xela won 2 to 0 and it was very interesting to see how animated and psychotic the fans were.  It was also funny but disheartening to see how many racial and homophobic slurs the fans would scream at the other team.  My teacher here says that is starting to change as the international soccer community has started to clamp down on the crowd behavior.  After the game, there was a festival of the bands all through the streets which kept me from taking a nap after getting sunburnt at the game.  My roommates climbed the volcano Santa Maria overnight so hopefully they will return safely and did not get rained on too much while they were above the clouds.  

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