Mayan Ruin(ed)

Trip Start May 23, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2010

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, May 31, 2010

Another killer early start this morning at 4:30am - we'd never have managed this back home, you know.  Off to see Tikal, perhaps the most famous of the Mayan ruins.  I was, of course, delighted when the very same minibus that ferried us in such comfort from Belize City to Flores arrived as mode of transport for the day.

A couple of hours later and we had met up with our guide for the day, a chap with excellent English and a very technical looking bumbag.  He gave us an excellent tour around the site, which is pretty huge, spreading across 16 square kilometres and dates back to 600BC.  The whole site is found amid a fairly dense area of forest, making the experience rather Indiana (were it not for the other tourists!).   There are 5 large stepped temples to explore, all but one of which is scalable.  Again, the Mayan culture is fascinating.  The way that the used to burn crushed limestone to produced water and quicklime was remarkable, but less happy was their approaches to human sacrifice.  IŽll spare you the details but some people were luckier than others!

Talking of unlucky, Ems decided to liven up proceedings by taking a bit of a tumble down the last few steps of the first temple we climbed.  Fortunately, she wasn't hurt much at all, just a slight scrape on the forearm, a sore side and a dink on her camera.  Quite the stuntwoman!

I was rather more adventurous, ascending what was virtually a ladder to get up one of the temples, where the views of the tops of other temples breaking the canopy was stunning.  Being amongst such lush vegetation, the wildlife is also very varied with parakeets, raccoon-type things, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, toucans and many other types of bird, including one with a beautiful 'gargling' call.

Rather exhausted by the ruins, we headed back to the hostel for about 2pm, where we just chilled out for the rest of the day and took refuge from the intense heat of the day.
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