Today started out with a touch of yoga and a side of fresh air. I decided to give myself a gift with the breaking of this new day … the present of thought and time. An opportunity to think about writing out and memorizing my Spanish Antonyms. I decided to take to day off from school (Juan Sissay needs a days advance notice if I decide to play hookie — that is if I don’t want to have to pay the teacher $25 for my absence) so that I could focus on some of things that I wanted to do and not get swept away by the quickly passing days, as I have been. However, even with some spare time on my hands, I didn’t get as much Spanish done as I had wanted. I took my clothes to the laundry, bought a few groceries and sifted the sand from the shells that collected last weekend at Monterico. Before I knew it, half the morning was gone!
Today’s activity? An hours walk up one of Xela’s magnificent mountains (name??) to ‘Los Vanos’, a natural sauna with steam and heat provided from a neighbouring volcano. It was really cool … or rather, should I say warm?? I was surprised that only myself and Heidi (from Austria), plus the teacher, turned up for the event. However, it turned out to be extremely interesting and absolutely beautiful … Heidi is quite a bit more advanced in her Spanish than I am, so she spent most of the time speaking with our guide Mario. It was a good hours ascent up the mountain and by the time we reached the top, we were all grateful for the hour that we had allotted for the 20 quetzales we paid. Mario opted out and Heidi and I enjoyed sitting in the dark little cavern, every now and then, hopping out into the cool shower or the even cooler adjoining room. It was incredible! More like a steam bath than a dry sauna, but at 5 minute intervals, the heat was quite a bit more than I was used to, even in Ed’s sauna :). The rain that was threatening to fall on our way up had passed us by by the time we descended upon Xela. I felt like a million $, and all for the low price of $3US ;). Now I much prefer these nature-based outings, out of smog’s way. Plus, I was able to take a ton of photos, especially of a Mayan altar that we passed not far from the city’s edge.