Sunday, July 15, 2007

tikal me pink

I reeeally hate having to wake up at 04.30 for ANY reason, but today it proved a good decision. It was Tikal day.

Tikal is the location in the northern Guatemalan jungle of some of the best Mayan ruins in central America. And arriving there early means fewer tourists and a beter chance of seeing wildlife. Which is exactly how it was.

The ruins themselves are scatterd over a large area which necessitated a lot of walking. This walking was along tracks through jungle that sounded, at the very least, full of life.

Almost immediately I could hear the sounds of many different birds as well as the howler monkeys. Many of the bird species I didn't recognise though I did see a woodpecker that was entirely black except for a vivid red crest of feathers on its head. And quite a lot of toucans.

It was a while later that I finally got to see the monkeys, swinging, as one would expect, high up in the trees.

It was cool and cloudy at that time of the morning which made walkng around very comfortable. A few hours later it began raining fairly lightly and at one point I took shelter under some trees. No sooner had I done this than a 'troop' of coatamundi (what is the collective noun for coatamundi? a 'wardrobe' perhaps?) romped out of the jungle into the clearing right in front of me and began feeding. I sat and watched them, fascinated, for about 20 minutes, before wandering off to leave them to their breakfast.

The bus trip back to Flores was interesting. About halfway home the bus broke down.

Several Guatemalans on board abandoned the sinking ship (the rats)by flagging down passing vehicles and getting lifts. Fair enough thought I.

But then our driver did the same thing. Hopped on (an empty!!) minibus that stopped, and took off leaving about 12 foreigners wondering what the hell had happened. Not a word to anyone.

Well he eventually returned with some fuel and a hosepipe and we limped back to Flores.

truncated pyramid

partially unexcavated ruin

dont know if it is clear but this tree is festooned with an 'air plant' that it looks like a Christmas tree

los trios americanos ... Jeff, Matt & Nick (Hey guys - told you I would put you on the blog!)

climbing one of the pyramids. like going up a 5 story stepladder.

there's people down there...

the coatamundi

finally got breakfast 5 hours after waking up. the lump of dark matter that resembles the coughed up left lung of a chronic chain smoker is actually refried beans and is one of my favourite local dishes.

local foodstuff

"dust... anybody, dust."

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