The Last of Guatemala
Trip Start Feb 03, 2006
37Trip End Jun 20, 2006
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Also, the driver decided to take his extended family on the road trip, so the bus was actually pretty full.
Flores is nice, an island on the edge of Lago Petén, connected to the mainland by a causeway. Cortes stopped through here on his travels and left a sick horse
Flores is nice, though everything is geared toward the tourist industry. Lots of travel agencies, hotels, and non-typico restaurants. We are staying in an okay hotel, and perhaps for the first time on this trip, the cost is actually lower than what our guide book lists.
Today we woke up at 3:45 to eat breakfast and catch a shuttle to Tikal. Numerous places say that they open at 4:00 am, but nobody opened until at least 4:15, and the first place to open had basically no food. I asked for cereal and was told there was no milk. I asked for toast with butter and jelly, and was told there was no butter. I said that just jelly would be fine, but then there was no jelly. We decided to move to the restaurant next door, where I was able to procure my banano y corn flakys.
Tikal was, of course, great. We were not aware how different it would be from Copán--you go to Copán to see the fine details, but you go to Tikal to see the SCALE. Everything is great and grand, and they have very rickety ladders going up the sides of many of the temples--very scary indeed. Andrew rocked them back and forth as he made his way up and down. Patches of rot were evident.
We met our first Slovenian of the trip, Katarina, who was very interested that I have family there
The reasons we went so early: (1) to beat the tour-bus crowds, (2) to beat the heat, but mostly (3) to see the wildlife. The wildlife was definitely a highlight, as good as the ruins themselves. We saw monkeys, a fox, many oscellated turkeys (which make a booming noise like a sage grouse), lots of green parrots as well as smaller blue parakeet-looking things, yellow-tailed oropendulum montezumas, chachalacas (as noisy as monkeys), as well as many other birds. The highlight for me, though, were the flocks of toucans (see picture). While Andrew´s trip goal was to poke lava with a stick (done), mine was to see a toucan, which had evaded our peering eyes until now. They are really stupid looking.
We also went to the Museo Tikal, a small display of artifacts. Andrew was especially impressed by 16" long gray obsidian ceremonial implement. They don´t allow photos, so we´ll have to explain it better when we see you, if you are interested. They also had an interesting display on the bats of Tikal--16 species have been identified.
As it got to be afternoon at Tikal, the temperature began to rise precipitously and the hoards of fat tourists descended, so we decided to get back to Flores. We have booked tickets tomorrow to Belize City (English-Speaking Land!), so we only have a week or so before we are out of Central America and in to Mexico.