The lost world

Trip Start Jun 26, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2007

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

An early morning and our first experience of third world border crossings was what the day had in store and it was far from simple. Our 6am bus was slightly late and packed and only minutes after leaving we hit a roadblock. Oaxaca protesters had cut down trees and were blocking the road, we were told they´d be a slight delay so we sat tight and tried to take sneaky pics through the windscreen. That was until a dozen guys in balaclavas armed with machetes started marching up the road towards us. The lone police car did a runner and we were a little worried. Turned out they were only handing out leaflets and when they turned round and were all wearing tiny rucksacks they looked like little kids trick or treating, was actually quite funny.
Once we were let past it was quite a long journey until the breakfast stop where we discovered we were the only ones crossing to guatemala and everyone else was on a jungle adventure. Was a fab buffet breakfast, expensive at 5 bucks but just what we needed.
When we finally got to the mexican border we thought we were just being dumped but were taken to the imigration office where after a bit of ug ug uging we paid a few dollars and got our passports stamped. Then it was off to the boat.... the guatemalan border was 35mins by boat downstream. It was a beautiful boat ride and pretty fast. Strange thinking we were actually travelling between to countries.. where actually were we?
When we hit the other side it was an hour wait for our connecting bus. Then it was on to the imigration office to enter.... no ug ug uging this time, plain and simple.... we give them money and they´ll stamp our passports.
The bus we had was knackered, half the windows were smashed and the seats were extremely bumpy, add that to the fact the journey was 3hrs by dirt track through the middle of nowhere and you can imagine our discomfort.
so when a cheery guy got on and told us they were no cashpoints in town and refused blindlt to take us to the hostel we wanted to go to it annoyed us a tad.
We managed to sort some money and found the hostel. A little jungle like oasis in the wierd island city that was flores. It was dead cheap had a bar and served amazing food. Had hammocks everywhere and had turtles, a couple of cute green parrots and loads of plants, including bananas.
We sat around talking to some guys who´d been where were heading and were insistant we didnt wanna go to belize cos it was expensive and there was nothin there....gave us something to think about!!!!
The following day we had nothing planned, it was to be a rest day as we´d had such a hectic time and give ourselves time to do boring stuff like laundry etc.
Only as soon as we´d handwashed our clothes the heavens opened and it wasnt gonna to stop! that was until i donned my raincoat and headed out to explore and was immediately bombarded by the brightest sun ever. Went and got me sunglasses and it rained again.
Was kinda cool little island, you could stand by the church on the little hillock and see water in all four directions.
Explored across the bridge to Santa Elena, wish we hadn´t bothered was a big shithole, especially in rain...there were no pavements only mud...and certainly nothing to look at!
Headed back to Flores and some nachos for lunch. Then remembered we needed some money so got a cute Tuk-tuk across the bridge to Santa Elena again, cost virtually nothing and was kinda fun - they are like a little scooter with a cart thing on the back and carry 2 peole...hilarious!
That done we tried to buy me some cigarettes, except nowhere in the whole of Flores had any change! It seems to be a huge problem out here....if you have anymore than the equivalent of a fiver you can´t buy anything!!! They have to ask everyone in the town if they can change your note! Its crazy, i think someone somewhere must eat all the small change!
Back at the hostel, we were planning to have an early night, but a couple of Canadian lads insisted we join them and some girls for a drink, we agreed as long as went somewhere we could get food, cause we was hungry!
We ended up going to a little place on the lake, sat right out on the water on rather precarious bits of wood, where we enjoyed cheap spag bol and several beers....oh yeah and good company too!!! Stayed until the lads had to run to catch their night bus, and we headed home to a very early morning tomorrow.

Got up ridiculously early, like 4:30am!! Our bus was due to leave at 5. Headed down to bus stop still half asleep...who wouldn{t be? Still apparantly its the thing to do. Our bus to Tikal arrived if a little later and we all piled on.
Was quite a long drive, sure i must have slept for some if not most of it! The we reached the entrance the park, figured we must be nearly there, so tried to wake up. Actually it was still bloody miles....deeper and deeper into the jungle. The signs on the road were funny, apparantly we had to watch for turkeys, jaguars, snakes and some other strange creatures crossing the road! We saw millions of turkeys but that was all, did have to stop numerous times to let them cross!
We arrived, paid our fee and went off exploring. Neil chose the way, his thinking being we would get the temples which were further away out of the way first. Agreed, why not?
Problem was the temple we had chosen to see first was deep in the jungle...and it was kinda freaky to be in the middle of the jungle at 6am, with no-one else anywhere else to be seen, and trust me it really is in the middle of the jungle. Arrived at the temple was pretty rubbish, and then neil decided he should get his guidebook out to see what it was about, only to read it said you should avoid this temple because it was dangerous, people were often mugged or worse!!! Now i was very scared!!!! Headed to another group of trmples....were cooler, but still scary. Then we had no idea where to go, the paths and signs seemed to have disappeared...started heading into the jungle, but then decided...thank god....that it was pretty stupid, as we had no idea where we going and ended up retracing most of our steps, till we found a sign. Followed it through more scary jungle and eventually reached an open area and some people! Not many people around though, it was still early....and it was kinda you the whole spiritual feeling about the place, and it isolation. Checked out some cool temples opposite each other and the huge acropolis between them.
Went to find the loos, nice toilets! Were just leaving when the cleaner came out of the toilet to show us something....i was terryified it was some huge spider....i wasn´t far was the biggest beetle it was bigger than you could ever imagine....its was the size of his hand...and he had just found it in the toilets!! Creepy.
Went to find the ´lost world´ and its pyramid of the sun. This is the one to climb, so had to do this one at least. looked terrifying! The steps on all mayan pyramids are stupidly high....god knows how the 4ft mayans ever climbed them (someone said to us they reckoned someone had built the steps the wrong way up...they should have been wide not high!!), and these were very erroded. Still people were climbing it so figured it couldn´t be that bad. So up we went. God it was scary. some of the steps were bigger than me! Ended up virtually crawling up. One slip and you would have been in a crumpled heap at the bottom. Still we made it, and it was worth it. The views of the jungle and temples peeking trhrough were amazing! Very scary to stand close to the edge and look down though, and im not normally scared of heights! Sat and rested, taking in the view. Disappointingly didn{t see any wildlife, but it wasn{t a great day...misty and threatening rain. Then we had to go down. Now i thought up was bad, but down was a million times worse! The main thing being you had to look down!!!!! Took us hours to go down....well not literally but it was ages....had to go one foot at a time, having to slide down on my arse at times.....god where we glad to be on solid ground again!!!!!!!!
I was now cream legs were like jelly and my left thigh muscle had forgotten how to work! Neil decided i should hop, and for some reason i agreed, and my leg gave way and i nearly fell on my arse!!!!
Saw heaps more temples.....some of the biggest. One they were restoring painfully bu hand, chipping away at bits of rocks with chisels, and one which they have rebuilt (which was cool to see how it should have looked). Neil of course had to climb them all as he legs wouldn{t allow it. Went to the loo again, and it started to pour so we sat in the picnic area and ate pig skins!!! (thought they were crisps...but were actually some kind of pork scratching things). Explored one of the acropolises...and Neil went up some wet and slippery and very dangerous temple, just cause he could, and that was pretty much it. Had a long walk back to the exit thruogh more cool jungle...this a little safer with half decent paths!! I struggled to keep my leg from giving way...but somehow made it!
We then waited for our bus the pouring rain. Looked like we had timed it perfectly, would have got drenched if we had come any later. Was a cool experience....magical and scary at the same time.
Back at the hostel we were bloody starving, so ordered burgers for lunch from the hostel. Oh my god, i don´t think i have ever seen such a big burger! It had like 3 slices of bread, pineapple, advacado....and goid knows what else. Were stuffed. Ended up talking to a couple from Essex, who had come in for food, and had been waiting for hours for it!!! they do make you wait, cause it is all prepared from scratch but man is it good. Went for a walk and when we got back the couple were still there, they had finally got there food and agreed it was worth waiting for!!!
Chilled for the rest of the day, and forced ourselves to pack again....our washing still not had never stopped raining for gods sake!!!!!
Then Neil decided he wanted more food. I was still stuffed. He said the food was so good he had to have more!! He had beef or something...which he said was good....i had a pina colada instead!!!!! Then we went to bed...having another ridiculously early get up tomorrow
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