I Skyped home with my family on Christmas and afterwards went out on the dock to relax. A local Guatemalan family was also enjoying the Holiday with a swim. After a few smiles and chit chat, they offered me a cup of Coke and a fresh tamale. It was delicious. In comparison to lives back home, these people have very little. Little education, little possessions, little money. They have so little but they give so much. I can only hope I was able to give something back to them that afternoon.
The day after Christmas, Justin and I left the hotel at 5:30 in the morning to get up to the Tikal ruins for sunrise. We were the first ones at the gate just before 6:00 am. The road was excellent and I witnessed a baby chicken scream across the road narrowly missing Justin’s tire by inches. He probably lost a few feathers. For a second I thought I would be able to taste baby chicken wings. mmmmmm tasty. The entrance fee was steep, 150 Quetzals for foreigners ($20 USD) as opposed to the 25 Quetzals ($3.50 USD) for Guatemalans.
With hopes of a beautiful sunrise and spectacular light for photography we made our way into the ruins. Unfortunately, mother nature didn’t cooperate. A cloudy sky with poor light was the offer for the morning. Oh well. We spent 6 hours walking the expansive ruins and climbing the temples. Eventually the afternoon brought blue skies.
Justin next to the massive national tree of Guatemala, the Ceiba tree.
Keep an eye out for those defecating monkeys… I really wanted to see someone get the brown shower (so long as it wasn’t me of course). No luck.
Hey little spider monkey.
8 ft. tall mask on the temple face.
Funky little cousin of the raccoon. This guy digs around for grubs all day.
Amazing view from the top of Temple IV looking at the tops of the other temples poking out over the top of the jungle.
This guy dresses up as in traditional ancient clothing and walks around with a tip jar. Tourists give him a few cents to take his picture. I preferred to take a picture of the tourist taking a picture.
Climbing the stairs up one of the steepest temples, Temple V. These are built to code, right?
The view from the top of Temple V.
The architecture of Tikal was very different from any of the other ruins I’ve seen. The structures were very steep and inspiring.
Maybe I was getting a little dehydrated and overwhelmed with all the tourists but I had this strange urge to flip my shirt and run around shouting GOAL!!!! Jungle Fever!
What trip would be complete without one of these signs. Here’s to you Jim.
Back at the lake I decided to be productive (sort of)… My inflatable sleeping pad has come down with a small leak and I have to blow it up at least once in the middle of the night when camping. I brought it to the lake to put it under water and search for bubbles. No luck unfortunately; must be a very small leak. All that exercise made me tired so I floated around for a bit.
6 nights in El Remate… Every day swimming in the beautiful crystal clear lake, sun bathing on the dock while listening to Latin music, napping in the hammock, eating fresh fruit, watching a beautiful sunset, enjoying good company, playing card games, sleeping in an open air palapa with a cool breeze and no mosquitoes. I’ve never thought much of what heaven would be like but if it’s anything like this, I think it’ll be quite all right.
I was “stuck” here waiting for Charles as he got his bike fixed up. Blowing through the MX-BZ and BZ-GT borders in one day, Charles has finally arrived! He’s had quite an adventure and we’ll see if we can get some details and pictures up on the blog soon.
One more night at the Mon Ami hotel and we left early the next morning headed towards the town of Lanquin. An hour in the road was blocked by a large river. Huh, this wasn’t on the map… We took a ghetto ferry across and continued on. and the jungle gave way to beautiful mountains.
Another hour gone by and the Jungle gave way to beautiful mountains.
A few more hours gone by and the pavement ended and the dirt roads began. All day there was a continuous light mist and this made the dirt roads turn to mud. With too much tire pressure and myself with bald tires, we road on. Here’s Charles at the start of the dirt road, when it was in “good” condition.
The wide road (shown above) quickly turned into a “goat path” and became very rocky and muddy. Hour after hour we continued through the most challenging terrain either of us had encountered to date. At one point I went through a few big mud puddles and lost control and gently crashed on the side of the road. Really though, my bike was tired and needed to take a rest.
Eventually we made it to the town of Lanquin where we went into the river for
a relaxing swim and held on for dear life in the monstrous current.
Let the adventure begin…
So glad that the two of you are finally together on this adventure. I loved seeing pictures of Charles. The visual made me feel more at ease. Happy New Year to both of you.
Ben! Still following your adventure! I love it! So amazing! Keep making the posts! Sara and I are with you in spirit!!
Very cool pictures of the ruins man, and nice commentary on the architectural differences between these and others. Keep up with the pictures, and keep out of trouble.
We love reading about your adventures.
The sentiment about the local Guatemalan family; “In comparison to lives back home, these people have very little. Little education, little possessions, little money. They have so little but they give so much. I can only hope I was able to give something back to them that afternoon.”
—– AMAZING, Ben.
and finally, please see what you can do about sneaking home one of those raccoon things for me. They are so cute.
Jessi (& Aaron)
Nice pictures. I had a few days off for the New Year. I drove to north of this province and had a wonderful spa.
All the best from China and Happy New Year!
I trust you were both naked in that river.
And your beard is coming in nicely.