I know I have been absent for a while, a new interest will do that to you. Last October I made a transition to international flying, which has made my job more interesting and enjoyable than ever. The picture I included here, was taken taxiing out of the Guatemala City airport. There are many active volcanoes in the area that keep things interesting. The volcano in the picture is popular with the local touring companies. I have been told that there are no safety rules at all on some of the tours. You can get as close to the lava flows as you want. One company offers shoes you can wear, so yours don't melt. FlyGuy likes a larger safety margin than that! I arrived in Guatemala City on new years eve, at 6:30 in the morning. I had high expectations of a loud and festive day and night.
I Googled "new years in Guatemala" and the first thing that popped up was a description of a popular thing that the men do. The men, it said, like to wear costumes mad out of fireworks. These costumes are quite elaborate and when lit, produce a running fireworks show. Compound this with numerous individuals running around at once, all on fire, producing a shower of sparks and explosive noises and most probably screaming at the same time. This was something that I had to see.
I asked the hotel employees where the action was on new years. I was told by everyone that "Today is a quiet day, everything will not be open." I ventured out of the hotel into a ghost town. The hotel staff was correct, everything it seemed was closed. We saw a crowd at the end of the block, so we went to see what they were doing. It turned out to be an organized run, with the participants wearing costumes. The first person I saw was running in a diaper. It was hilarious what people were wearing. I saw a guy in a barrel, Sponge Bob, Iron man, a pineapple, and all sorts of oddities. After about 20 minutes of this, the street once again became quiet and stayed that way for the rest of the night. We were lucky to find a small restaurant open, which was great.
I returned to Guatemala 2 days later carrying a large group of young performers, who marched in the Rose Parade in California. They talked about the excitement of being in America and how proud and honored they were by the cheering of the crowds they marched by. I don't think any of them was older than 18.
Last week I worked a flight to Jamaica. The Jamaicans are very fun people, who never seem to stop smiling. Next week I'll be in the Virgin Islands. I love this international stuff!