Wed 20 May 2009 - Thu 28 May 2009
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Wednesday 20 May 2009
I took a mini bus from the Belize / Guatemala border to Flores. My first impression wasn’t good as there wasn’t much of a road, more like a chalk trail with lots of big holes to avoid. But after an hour it got better and there was even tarmac.
Flores is an Island on the Lago (lake) Peten Itza. There are plenty of restaurants here. Unfortunately the jungle tours were a 3 person minimum when booking so I couldn’t do any.
Thursday 21 May 2009
I visited the Mayan ruins at Tikal which was close by. Unlike a lot of the ruins I had previously visited most of these remain unexcavated and still surrounded by the jungle. The main six tallest ones had been part or fully excavated. These were really tall and one of the steepest ones had wooden steps which were more like ladders on the side so that you can get to the top. It was high up there and I was a little bit scared, yes I know I’m a wimp!
Friday 22 May 2009
I took a mini bus Sayaxche, that afternoon I hired a boat which took me to Ceibal. The boat driver docked nearby and I had to walk up and find the ruins on my own. I was scared as my sense of direction isn’t great and here I was in the jungle all alone. I came across some ruins but eventually gave up after a few hours and headed back, it was quite hard trekking around in that heat.
Sayaxche itself is tiny and every where seems to be closed by 18:00. There weren’t any proper restaurants either.
Saturday 23 May 2009
I hired a boat again but this time we went off in the opposite direction to the Aguateca ruins. The jungle wasn’t as dense as yesterday and I was better prepared today with me trekking boots and whistle in case I got lost. Plus I had me penknife too so if anything went wrong I reckon I could survive for about a day fending for myself. One part of the trek took you through a gorge which was really scary as it looked quite dark and I kept hearing strange sounds. Eventually I came to some ruins and there were also a couple of workers there. I helped out a bit but am sure there are easier ways to cut the grass than using a machete. I gave them a packet of biscuits and continued on. The next part was amazing and not because of the ruins, there were loadsa Mono Rana (Spider Monkeys). These are amazing and are not noisy at all. I spent ages just watching them and filming them. (Note to self – always carry a Banana with you as you never know when you might bump into a monkey). I was very sad to leave them they had been very entertaining, I want one for Christmas!
Sunday 24 May 2009
Do you know how many people you can fit into a tiny mini bus? The answer is 19 adults 3 children and a chicken on the inside and 2 adults on the outside. This is what happened on the way to Coban, I’m just glad I was sat by the window, not sure why the kid had a chicken in his bag – maybe he had watched Borat?
Monday 25 May 2009
In the afternoon I went on a bike ride to a coffee plantation with Jaime who works at the hostel I was staying at. The history was explained to me and there were a few rapples to do as well.
Tuesday 26 May 2009
This day was one of the best ever. I done a tour to Semuc Champey, it takes a few hours to get there and then you start off with a nice steep 1,200 metre trek upwards but the view down once you get there is amazing. Then you head back down. You can swim in the pools created by the river and our guide Charly took us along the stream for each different pool the way down was getting steeper. Eventually the final one involved using a rope to climb down about four metres, ok doesn’t sound hard but try doing it bare foot with the water crashing down over your head. Then after exploring the caves below you have to jump twenty five metres into the river below. I can’t believe I actually did it but am glad I did, unfortunately I landed like a right muppet with me arms and legs all over the place. The whole group – Me, Martin, Taylor, Guillermo, Kara and Yael had a great time. Our guide Charly might of been crazy but we trusted him, even when it seemed and was dangerous, and got to see some great sights.
During that night at 2:30 am I woke as the room was moving from side to side, this was my first experience of an earthquake. I was a little bit frightened, not because of the quake but the thought of having to get out of bed as this was one of the days were I was wearing me pants inside out to save on the laundry bill. Fortunately it stopped after almost a minute so I got to stay in bed!
Guatemala is great!!