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Honduras

LASA Tour 2009-10

overcast 23 °C
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Sunday 07 June 2009
Took the bus to San Pedro Sula in Honduras. It was a bit of a risk with me run problem but the medicine worked fine so no problems during the seven hour ride. This is not a tourist town at all. In fact quite dangerous at night time. In case you hadn't guessed I came here as there is a football match on.

Wednesday 10 June 2009
I had been having lunches with a bloke called Luis who I met in a Wendy's and these past two days had taken me to restaurants in other parts of the city. Today we went to one owned by Jimmy Bailey who also joined us for something to eat. Jimmy Bailey is a former Honduran International who played in the 1982 world cup in Spain. Cool! Although he is, I hope he don't mind me saying, twice the size now. That evening I went to the Honduras v El Salvador game at the Olimpico Metropolitano stadium. The game was dull and finished 1-0 to Honduras but at least it's another ground to add to my list.

Friday 12 June 2009
Arrived in Copan, the journey was great as the views were fantastic - including the overturned lorry falling down the hillside. Copan is surrounded by huge hills and is extremely scenic. Also that night the original Star Wars trilogy was on TV. A perfect day.

Saturday 13 June
I visited the Copan ruins. The main difference between these and others I had visited is the number of statues still intact and on display. Also one of the stairways of the temples still had it's statues showing. Unfortunately my camera has started playing up, the zoom is knackered and running forward and backward doesn't give you the same kind of photo.
Copan_09.jpgCopan_12.jpg

Posted by Marcos92uk 16:34 Archived in Honduras Comments (0)

El Salvador

LASA TOUR 2009-10

overcast 24 °C
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Thursday 28 May 2009
I intended to travel to Santa Ana from Coban. I had to change bus in Guatemala City. Then on this bus you are meant to tell the driver if you want him to drop you off in Santa Ana otherwise he'll drive straight to San Salvador which is an hour away. I know that now! So I ended up in San Salvador and there are no buses late in the evening for safety reasons. Not a good start to El Salvador for me.

Friday 29 May 2009
Finally I get to Santa Ana. The bus dropped me off outside the city centre so I walked all the way down and around and around looking for a hotel. This is in 36c heat with a backpack weighing 15kg and a bag with me laptop in. I certainly stank as the sweat poured off me. After about an hour I remembered I had wrote down a name of a hostal given to me by someone who had stayed there. I got a taxi there and it was only a couple of blocks across from where I had got off the bus. Oh well. Things did get better as it turned out to be a great place although I was beginning to find out that El Salvador isn't that well prepared for tourists.

Saturday 30 May 2009
Went to Cerro Verde by bus with Bridgit, a German girl who was staying at the same hostal. The bus was so slow it took two hours to get there. From here you can hike up to the top of Santa Ana Volcano and look down into it's crater. It wasn't that difficult a hike as it's only 2,381 metres tall and the sights were amazing. Once again we had a police escort. Are the places really that dangerous or is it just me?
Santa_Ana_09.jpg

Tuesday 02 June 2009
Took a bus to Chalchuapa and visited the Tazumal ruins. Not that impressive compared to others I have visited so far but I think these are some of the few that El Salvador has so shouldn't complain. Although I walked down to Casa Blanca and those weren't even excavated so you pay $3 entrance to see six small mounds.

Wednesday 03 June 2009
It was my birthday so I spent all day and the next day in a bar drinking, like I had done the previous Sunday and Monday. The beer is only $1 a bottle but this week I managed to spend six months of alcohol budget. Nevermind, I calculate that I can start drinking again just in time for Christmas.

Saturday 06 June 2009
Went to the estadio Cuscatlan to watch El Salvador v Mexico. The ground was full three hours before kick off. It was lots of fun as anyone wearing a mask for protection against the swine flu would get beer thrown at them. Also the crowd all imitate the rowing action together, it looks weird I tried recording it.

Hope you can see it alright, it's cool.
I had a problem, best described as getting what Englands Cricket team can't get - the runs. The toilets in the ground were awful and there was no water. After two and a half hours I was feeling really bad so had to leave and head for a farmacy. So after taking a detour from my travel plan so that I could watch football and spending a few hours at the ground I had to leave twenty minutes before kick off, great!

Posted by Marcos92uk 14:32 Archived in El Salvador Comments (0)

Guatemala (Tikal / Sayaxche / Coban)

sunny 33 °C
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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!
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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!
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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.
Semuc_Champey02.jpgSemuc_Champey_25.jpg

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!!

Posted by Marcos92uk 17:26 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Belize

LASA Tour 2009-10

sunny 28 °C
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Saturday 09 May 2009
Arrived in Belize, decided to make an extra stop in Corozal before I go to Orange Walk Town. It’s on the way plus just happens to have a football match on tomorrow. Corozal has a population of about 8,000. There is also a large Taiwanese community here. Not sure why. At least it meant there were lots of Chinese restaurants to eat in. There is not a lot else to do in this town.

Sunday 10 May 2009
Walked to the field and all there was were some blokes training. I started speaking to one and he informed me that all league matches were cancelled because of the swine flu. I couldn’t Belize it!
They only had one reported case in the whole country and probably only get about 20 fans at the games. It turned out the bloke I was talking to was actually the owner of the team. We had a good chat for an hour about football.

What a waste of two days!

Monday 11 May 2009
I took the bus to Orange Walk Town. The journey was just over an hour, it was too bad I had left my jacket and mp3 player in Corozal. So back and forth I went. And to think I was sure I would never ever go back to Corozal.

Tuesday 12 May 2009
I took a tour to the Lamanai ("submerged crocodile" in Yucatec Maya) ruins. It’s about an hour and a half along the river. Used “Jungle River Tours” and recommend them. Along the way I got to feed some Spider Monkeys. It was really cool, they hang down from the trees and you pass them a banana from the boat. Then we saw some proboscis bats.

At the ruins our guide, Wilfredo, gave a good explanation as to why the Mayans deserted their cities.
In summary:
They eventually deforested their surroundings so when the resources ran out it made more sense to simply abandon the city and build another one. This has been backed up by evidence suggesting that around some cities the forest had receded by over 20 miles until it eventually re-grew and hid the cities.

Back to the ruins which had one tall building you can climb up and see over the forest, there was also the largest Mesoamerican ruin depicting a face. In the distance you can hear the howler monkeys which make a growl like King Kong.
Lamanai_07.jpgLamanai_13.jpg

Thursday 14 May 2009
I stayed in Belize city for a couple of days, it is well rough there – what a dump (that’s being nice!).
But at least I got to see my friend from Peru Michelle. She works on a cruise ship and they stop there for a few hours. Later in the evening I eventually got a game of football in as Belize Defence Force lost at home to San Pedro Bull Sharks, I was right about the 20 fans!

Monday 18 May 2009
I had been staying in San Ignacio and the previous day walked to the ruins at Cahal Pech but they aint much to see. I took a tour to Corocal. These are some of the largest ruins of the Mayan empire. The tallest building reached up to 135 ft. It was very impressive. During the tour you get an armed escort as it’s close to the Guatemalan border and there had been robberies happening. The tour also took in some pools in the river which we swam in and also on to the Rio Frio cave.
Corocal_09.jpgCorocal_26.jpg

Wednesday 20 May 2009
I Just wanted to complain as I had to pay £12 to leave the country, this is outrageous. Some countries you pay a departure tax if you leave by air but never by land. Belize you are now on my hit list.

Posted by Marcos92uk 09:59 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

Mexico (Merida / Tulum)

LASA Tour 2009-10

sunny 31 °C
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Saturday 25 April 2009
After a 14 hour bus ride through the night I arrived in Cancun. Although I loved Palenque there was an opportunity to get a game of football in so I left early and took a slight detour to here. The bus ride was nice and cheap with no toilet or air con. That evening I went to watch Atlante v Monterrey.

I was staying in a real cheap hotel in downtown. I wasn't keen on sharing my bed with the ants so I checked out early at about 3 am and waited at the bus station for the first bus to Merida. Got over 50 Mozzie bites!

Sunday 26 April 2009
Got a good hotel for a reasonable price. A bloke called Manuel told me about it, he also kept trying to sell me a hammock!

I relaxed for a day and then there was champions league football on the TV for a couple of days. Merida is a nice place to walk round.

Thursday 30 April 2009
I got up early to get a bus to the ruins at Chichen Itza. The bus driver told me that they were shut so I didn't go. Due to the Swine Flu all Archealogical Sites and caves were shut for a week. I was worried about getting quarrantined as my allergy might make me look like I've got it.

I ended up visiting Celestun as there is a lagoon there. I took a boat ride along it. I got to see some Flamengos and other weird birds that I couldn't name. The ride back to the beach was against the tide and although the waves were tiny so was the boat therefore it was real bumpy. One woman thought it was funny for the whole 30 odd minutes and kept laughing. She was really annoying me and I wish I could of pushed her overboard.
Celestun_01.jpgCelestun_08.jpg

Sunday 03 May 2009
Spent half a day at the beach in Progreso. Not sure why I went as I'm not a fan of sand as it gets everywhere but it was something to do as I waited for the other places to re-open.

Wednesday 06 May 2009
Finally things re-opened, I went to visit the ruins at Uxmal. I got there early but was told they were closed until late afternoon. The nearest town is over 10 miles away and the next bus wasn't for 2 hours. I hitchhiked for the first time and got a lift to Muna. A waste of time really as there was nothing to do here. Eventually returned to the ruins.

These ruins are also Mayan from 500AD to 1100AD. They were impressive but so too was the size of the lizzards here! They made the one in Palenque seem like an ant. So yes you guessed it, I spent as much time taking photos of them as the ruins. Got scared a few times so the laundry budget will take another hit.
Uxmal_05.jpgUxmal_14.jpg

Manuel, who was continously trying to sell me a hammock, and his friends were good company, especially as a lot of places were closed, and I managed to practise my Spanish with them One of his friends kept asking for my Hugo Boss T-Shirt that cost me £70. Luckily he settled for an old Man Utd one I had. His name was Jesus so we truly are the team of the holy ones!

Thursday 07 May 2009
Took a bus to Tulum, it was 39c in Merida yesterday and was going to be 41c tomorrow whereas Tulum is a cool 32c!
On the way I visited the ruins at Chichen Itza.
Chichen_Itza_15.jpgChichen_Itza_10.jpg

Finally found out the name of the Mana song I have been after for over 3 years. People would ask me to sing some of it so they could help me know which song it is but I didn't know the lyrics. It's called "Labios Compartidos" which they say many times during the song so I should of been able to figure it out myself.

Stayed in a hotel owned by Italians and have been eating their home made pasta for lunch and dinner.

Friday 08 May 2009
Walked to the ruins which took about 45 mins from the town centre, at least I had a good reason to be sweating now. These ruins are different to the others as they are next to the sea.

Posted by Marcos92uk 21:11 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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