I elected to head for the hills before starting my studies in ernest on Monday. To the south Antigua is encircled by a mountain range including a number of volcanoes, one of which is active right now. Dominated by volcan de Agua rising to nearly 4000m, ice capped during the winter, it is now extinct. Further to the west is volcan de fuera. At least a few times a day on. At least a few times a day, one can hear the bang and fizzle similar to a jet engine as the volcano bursts into life followed by the visual confirmation of the vertical stacked plume of debris rising into the sky.
Here at Earthlodge, I indulged in some hearty eating and stimulating conversation with alternative thinkers that this venue attracts. Interesting ideas and megabytes of “learning Spanish” mp3s were swapped. I also took the opportunity for my first reading of the landscape. I ventured out on a long rambling walk in the midday sun. The locale is set at 2000m above sea level, the rich volcanic soil is owned and farmed by local people over many generations. Here I wandered through the cornfields and the coffee fincas. Maize is a staple crop here, grown to be ground into flour for the making of the ubiquitous tortilla. Personally, I would take a chapatti every time!
Most interesting to me was the waterfall that I stumbled upon. The air danced to the tune of myriad butterflies. In shades of yellow, mauve and brown, these preoccupied insects are really tough to photograph. However, one specimen posed for me. Upon my return, I recollected a previous trip to Laos in South East Asia involving camera shy butterflies. I wonder if they are related. Oh to be a botanist!