Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ancient People, Language Barriers and Coffee Shops - Tikal and Flores

We woke up early. Unfathomably early. 3:30 in the morning early.
We got dressed, headed downstairs and had to let ourselves out of the hostel, feeling bad because we had no way of locking the door again once we were outside. We sat on the stoop outside the hostel waiting for the van to arrive to pick us up, not 100% positive the bus would arrive.

Eventually, however, it did. We got on board and I immediately fell back asleep, as was becoming the norm when it came to me and buses. About an hour later we arrived at Tikal and waited for the group to gather. What was to be a "small" group was actually about 30 people. We were met by our guide who started us off on our walk.

One of the largest Mayan civilizations, Tikal is wonderfully preserved/restored, if not a complete maze if you're left on your own. Our guide, who's name I unfortunately forget, was hilarious. He got his information across by relating it to current day events and made references to Indiana Jones as well as Star Wars.

We were able to climb one of the high pyramids and were given an amazing view

After the tour we were able to wander around a bit before having to meet the group back at the cafe. Meg and I relaxed in the main square of the ancient city before venturing back to meet the group. While sitting at the cafe we amused ourselves by watching an enormous colony of ants work their way along the ledge behind us, through a sewer grate and back up on the other side of the walkway and into a different flowerbed.

I came across this list detailing our time in Flores... 

Shower. Cool Beans. Wander (find bank). Shop (buy snacks for tomorrow's bus ride). Wander (back to the hostel, try to pay). Shop (Souveniers). Mojito (Hard work, all that wandering). Shop (more souveniers). Cool Beans (dinner and free wifi). Wander (one last look at Flores).

Yup... that pretty much sums up the rest of the day, with the exception of it not detailing the experience of attempting to pay the woman at the hostel for our room. The hostel, as I mentioned, was above a restaurant. The women who worked there were very friendly and accommodating, however they knew very little, if any, English.

We wanted to pay for the hostel but we were having difficulty knowing how much we had to pay since when I'd booked it there had been a deposit. The older lady  quoted us the normal rate, but because I'd paid the deposit I didn't think that was correct. Between my flipping through my phrase book frantically and her not wanting to upset us, it was eventually decided that we could pay when the younger woman was back in the building. So we went out to wander some more.

Such a small little city, but very welcoming. We walked around the perimeter and watched the lightning of an impending storm in the clouds before seeking shelter at Cool Beans for one more serving of their amazing nachos supreme. Imagine our surprise when we ran into Teoma, a girl we'd made friends with a couple days earlier in Lanquin. We caught up on our days apart, enjoyed some drinks and eventually headed back to the hostel to get our bags ready for the next day.

So long Guatemala, we're off to Belize!

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