The Day I Went up a Hill and Came Back down with a Bunch of Jehova’s Witnesses

The glorious day had come, one of the highlights of my trip through Latin America… Today I’d climb an active volcano. Pacaya near Antigua (Guatemala) last erupted in 2010 – I expected sulfuric steams, fresh(-ish) lava, adventure… don’t really know why though, after it’s been quiet for three years. I also did expect to be with a group of young hikers or geological interested, fun people. So when I eagerly entered the tour van I had to learn that it would be me and a group of 8 people who all knew each other (turned out they were related to each other too). Oh boy, at least they spoke my language – wait… it’s more like I spoke their’s.

As we arrived some guides asked us if we wanted to ride up on a horse or – even worse – a donkey! Have I carried my hiking boots through 4 countries to saddle my lazy ass up and make some poor animal carry me?? Surely not! Though most of the others chose to travel on horseback.

IMG_0451 Kopie

So I walked up through beautiful landscapes, all thrilled, still expecting hot lava for some reason, when after 2 hours the guide told us we couldn’t go any further, that’s it, but we could roast some marshmallows since the rock’s still hot.

“Whatttt?? Can we not get to the very top to see the crate at least?” 

“Nooo, some tourists have fallen in and died recently!”

I could feel my blissful face drop and my features turning into disappointment. I mean, I’ve lived in Iceland for a year, I have stood on volcanoes before.. only difference here was it wasn’t effing cold and windy. So, I guess I made the best out of it and had marshmallows for the first time in my life. Awesome experience to have white sticky stuff all over my face and hair but oh well.

IMG_0cc451

When we watched the sunset and began to descent some people from my tour van started to talk to me about how beautiful it is and “would that not be proof of the existence of a creator?”  – “Err, creator? What?”  She didn’t stop talking and gave me a lecture about God and bible things. At first I didn’t get suspicious. After all they were Americans, and it’s widely known that they talk about God and Jesus a bit more than, well, Germans. So eventually I zoned out and enjoyed what was going on in my own mind – you must know I have man-like skills in pretending to listen!!

But however hard I tried to mind my own business, these people wouldn’t refrain from asking me question about my own religious views. I soon realized they were a bunch of Jehova’s Witnesses I couldn’t just send away from my door step. I was trapped!! Resigning I started to converse with them and asked questions like: “Why’d you oppose to receive blood transfusions, why’d you not celebrate your birthdays, why’d you knock at people’s doors to talk about God?” Well, I don’t remember the answers, but they were neither satisfying nor convincing. Only thing I do remember is them telling me even without birthdays, x-mas, holidays in general, no partying, no drinking,…. they do have fun!

DSC_8563Ehrm.. having fun doing what exactly then? No drinking, no parties? Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to play board games every now and then. And alcoholism is a bad bad thing. But.No.Drinking? Even Jesus – and I just read up on it and know they believe in him – turned water into wine. So what exactly would be wrong with that really?? Jaysus does it – we can do it. It’s simple and right! Ever had altar wine at church? It’s really good; I understand why people go there. Anyway, folks do have some weird views out there, I can tell.

What I learned out of this is, next time I have to make sure to hike up volcanoes with some geologists since talking about tephra, volcanic bombs, magma chambers, degassing, eruption types and pyroclastic flows is much more appealing to me than having a debate about “the creator”!! I know, I know, most of you might find that weird too…

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