Guatemala happenings

Trip Start Jan 21, 2010
Trip End Sep 09, 2010

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, March 15, 2010

And after a bus to Punta Gorda (boarder post in Belize) where we met Anne and Chris (the german couple) again, we took a speed boat to Guatemala. Our first stop was a place called Puerto Barrios, where we had to walk around 150m into town to get our passport stammped. Back on the boat, we headed to a place called Livingston. We quickly found people advertising a hostel, so we went to take a look at what Guatemala hostels have to offer! Our hostel turned out to be a little haven in the jungle! Cabana's and bungaloes surrounded by hammocks and thick luscious jungle! unfortunately Livingstone didn't provide as much entertainment as we had hoped, so we moved on to the river running between Livingston and Rio Dolce. Here we were once again fortunate enough to find a little piece of paradise. We found a family run hotel (Hotelito Perdido) on the river, once again surrounded by jungle. Our little cabana was tucked away from view, but not from any creatures! We made sure to check our shoes quite regularly for stowaways! Every evening we would have dinner with the other guests and owners around a huge table eating traditional Guatemalan food with hot home made bread! If we weren't chatting to guests or the owners we were hammock swinging or swiming in the river - which we were told has 'nothing in it that will eat you!'
On the second day that we were there, we decided to take a canoe trip to a waterfall that isn't popular with tourists. After paddling for about 40 minutes, we get to where we need to start hiking! As we get closer we hear some chatter and laughter and soon we see bags and buckets filled with various toiletries and detergents! Quite puzzled, we looked at each other, shurgged and carried on walking.....only to be intimidated by around 40 women, doing their washing. As they heard us approach, they instantly stopped what they were doing and stared at us. Even as we were discussing what we should do, they continued to stare. Whether it was out of curiosity or to intimidate us we don't know, but we quite quickly turned and walked back to our canoe!
After that little 'adventure' we paddled to a restaurant that was close to our hotel. We are the only 2 people in the restaurant and the lady gives us angry glares as we study the illegable menu. I order chicken (something I recognise) and Sean orders a Guatemalan dish that's not to be missed.. consisting of coconut butter, a humungous crab and a whole lot of shrimp! They didn't have chicken, so Sean ordered something else for me. Anyone who knows me, knows my challenged relationship with food! One thing I would never never NEVER order is fish soup and definately nothing with eys, which unfortunately is exactly what Sean got me. I just imagine this brew made of fish insides and scraps with a fish head poking out of the juice and a beedy eye looking at me.  But have no fear, this is not what I was presented with. I was brought a watery vegetable soup with a whole fish, head sticking out the one end of the bowl and the tail out the other! Charming! While I stared out intot the river, Sean pulled the fish apart and made it eadible for me!
I'd say the events of that day were a bit of a disaster, but we had a fabulous day anyway!!
After tearing ourselves away from Hotelito Perdido, we took a chicken bus to Flores, where we planned to do a day trip to Tikal a Mayan temple site.
As we were dropping our stuff off in the hostel I heard a voice ask, 'Are you following us?' and who did I see when we turned around, but the german couple, who we now ended up sharing a room with once again! After a long day of travelling, a hot  shower was called for, so off I strip and gladly hop under the hot water. The hot water systems in Guatemala (and Cuba) have a heating device at the shower head, so you flick a switch and the water gets hot..faboulous!! NOT, fortunately as I was facing the shower head I heard a pop and literaly saw the sparks and electricity travel with the water and onto me, fortunately I was faster and shreeked like a typical girl and hopped out the shower, still all in one piece! That was my excitement for the evening!
Visiting Tikal in the erly hours of the morning were an amazing experience as these ruins are quite different to any of the others we have seen on this trip as they are deep within the heart of the jungle, which is still inhabitied by various animals. We saw wild toucans as well as parrots! It was amazing to just lie on the grass and watch them hop from branch to branch. We also saw spider monkeys and didn't get a chance to spot or hear any howler monkeys, which might be a good thing as apparently they like to poo on tourists heads to show their dominance!! Tikal is a huge site, which is spread throughout the jungle, so you walk through the lush environment while on the way to the next site - it certainly is impressive, but for me, the most impressive aspect was the wildlife!
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Elke on

It sounds like you are having a fab time!! Wow what an adventure!! Thinking of you all the time!!

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