|Yeah! Happy birthday to me and the first day we were able to sleep in. I slept in till about ten, then went to meet the others for breakfast. I had a great traditional Guatemalan breakfast with beans and grilled tomatoes. I also found out that on the way home from Salsa dancing the night before two of my travelmates had been mugged and lost their wallets and cameras. They were OK though. We all were waiting to see if we could go climb a volcano in the afternoon. The weather has been really rainy since we´ve been in Guatemala, so we were waiting to see what the weather was going to do. It had stopped raining so we decided to go to the volcano and see how washed out it was. It was about an hour and a half drive to get there, and of course it started raining again about half way there. Everything was a little chaotic when we got there, with kids trying to sell us ponchos and horses for rent and walking sticks, but that´s kind of how Guatemala has been. We finally started the hike up the volcano at about 4:30. It was not an easy hike at all. It was very steep, and since it has been raining very muddy and slippery. We didn´t have any good views because it was foggy. After about an hour we reached some volcanic ash that we had to walk, or slide through for about a half hour, then we came to the volcanic rock itself. I felt like I was walking on the moon. The rock is in all kinds of weird shapes with crevices and huge holes and gaps everywhere. Plus a lot of it shifts when you step on it. We walked on this for about 20 minutes before we could see the lava flow off in the distance. It was starting to get dark at this point, so it was very cool to look it. We kept walking and about every 200 meters we would stop to let everyone catch up. Everytime we stopped I thought that was as close as we were going to get to the lava, and everyone would start taking pictures. Then our guide would tell us to start walking again and we kept getting closer and closer. Eventually you could see the lava between the rocks underneath you feet and you couldn´t stand in one place for too long or your feet would start burning. One girls poncho even started melting and sticking to the rocks. Finally we got right up next to the lava flow. We got to about ten feet from it. The rocks were falling down behind us as we were trying to take pictures. It was a great way to spend my birthday and the highlight of my trip so far. By this point it was dark outside, so it took us a long time to climb back down the volcano with flashlights. We were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel, but since it was my birthday we went out for dinner at about 10:30. I had a great meal and then our guides surprised me with a birthday cake.