Adventure travel isn’t for everyone. You need nerves of steel, a body made of sinewy muscle, and a willingness to endure the harshest conditions. My wife and I, through both our genetic gifts and passion for the extreme, were seemingly custom-built to live life on the edge. Yet nothing prepared us for our experience in La Antigua, Guatemala
We booked a tour to visit a finca, which is the fancy foreign way of saying coffee plantation, which is a fancy way of saying coffee farm. We were to be outside our hotel promptly at 10 am, which is about two hours before we typically wake up. The bus rolled up and we knew s**t just got real. There were no windows or even doors; you had to climb a ladder up the back of a giant converted military transport truck. The conclusion was obvious…there was no air conditioning on this trip.
Our fellow adventurers were already on board from exotic places such as Australia and Florida. They said things to each other like, “I wonder if they make pumpkin spice lattes.” Not quite jihadists, but close. We took our seats behind the Floridians, our knees almost touching their seat in front of us. My hip surgery was in a month; the injury was the result a previous adventure (going up some stairs). How could I stretch my achy joint if I couldn’t straighten my legs?
We arrived at the finca and were given an excellent tour of the facilities. It was almost enough to make us ignore the heat, our sweat, and the couple from Florida. We saw coffee being planted, harvested, roasted, packaged and shipped. Our particular finca primarily exported to Japan and some to the United States. I vowed to drink more coffee so that ‘Murica could return to # 1 as God intended.
The tour was over and now it was time for the coffee tasting! It was an incredibly hot day and we were sweating. In this weather, my wife and I knew what we wanted: Large iced mochas, easy on the mocha, no whipped cream, and an extra shot of espresso for me. The guide shook his head, “Sorry, no iced coffee of any kind. You’re getting hot coffee. Black.”
We arrived at the finca’s cafe and had ourselves a nice hot black coffee on a hot day. We sipped it delicately so as not to overheat our bodies which had been through so much already.
“You were so brave. We made it because you kept this family together. I love you,” my wife said to me with a gentle peck on the cheek. Yes, this time, but what about tomorrow? We were making homemade chocolate.