Friday, May 27, 2011

Tikal adventure day 2

So I made it up at 3:30 am to take my sunrise tour.  Of course I have to mention that at 3:30 am  its pitch black and you are walking around in the middle of a jungle. Its not like the paths are paved or lighted or anything. So of course I promptly tripped on something and fell on my ass. Lucky for me Greg my next door neighbor was on the tour as well and he offered to hold my had as we climbed up all the dark and broken parts so I felt much safer. Typical me being Klutzy right? What’s even better is that sometime after this I totally fell off one of the ruins and skinned my knees, basically I was standing there and suddenly I just fell. Even he couldn’t help but crack up. Sometimes I have no clue what is wrong with me.  But back to the point. The cool thing about being in the jungle this early is that you can’t see anything but so many of the animals are already awake and out foraging. You hear so many cries from the howler monkeys and rustling in bushes of things unknown.  After a long walk in silence we made this horrible climb to the very top of the tallest ruin, climbed to the very tallest point in the  whole park and sat watched as the mist in the jungle spread throughout and the animals all woke up and sang various songs. It was so peaceful and so amazing.   Just sitting there watching the world wake up. The howler monkeys were making all there crazy noises and at one point a coatimundi just walked out right in front of us completely oblivious of the tour watching it.  After about a half an hour you started to see a little bit of sun break out over the mist. It took about another 45 minutes until you could just start to see the peaks of the rest of the temples out of the mist.

the first break of sunrise

a little bit later

the first outline of a temple breaks through

A little bit more sun

a few more temples can be seen now

I have to say that I am not much of a religious person but being where so much of our world started and seeing things from the eyes that the Mayans must have every day, was as close as I bet I have ever been to having a religious experience.  We were lucky that morning because it remained kind of misty most of the morning so the wildlife was out in spade. A huge family of spider monkeys passed over us with babies in tow. They sat for quite some time in a tree directly above us enjoying some sort of berry or another. A little bit later we ran across a coatimundi having a little tussle over one tree with another male and it was pretty cool to watch.

one of the two who got in a scuffle

the other male on the look out

spider monkey just about to make a jump

huge tarantula

cool bird.. also very noisy

but it was just protecting its babies turns out.

wild boar just cooling off in the mud.

 We ended up having that same guide this morning as we had last night and that was nice because he had a lot of cool shit to say about the ruins. One of the parts I found the most fascinating was that this city so far has 3000 building or rooms that have been uncovered. But according to satellite pictures taken by NASA in the last few years really shows that there are about 10000 total that means that there are still 7000 different parts of the city that are yet to be discovered. It’s so crazy to think about these people taking all this time to build this city in a time when they had nothing to help with it. I mean it was mostly between 100 and 400 AD. Imagine all that work they did. All the things that they had to have perfectly in place and aligned. It’s so unreal looking back on.  The tour continued until about 8 am or so and over the next few hours we were able to make the climb to the top of a few more ruins if you desired. At this pint I was getting tired and hungry having not eaten or brought my water so I opted to leave the tour and just kind of wander back to the hotel on my own. I’ll admit that I had a few scary moments where I thought I would end up lost in the jungle because the path would suddenly end or just disappear into nothing. But I managed to find my way out and get back in time to breakfast.

One of the temples during sunrise

even all worn down its still pretty impressive

another ruin

 This is the one we climbed to the very top of to watch the sunrise

its so pretty here

part  of the plaza square

look at the tiny little people.. that's how tall these are

another of the larger temples I forget the number

The rest of the day I just walked around the jungle alone seeing the various ruins, reading about these amazing people and seeing tons of super cool animals that I know I would never see again outside of a zoo or something.   I took a crazy walk to this other ruin way across the other side of the park. On my way back I ran into some of the people I had met the night before and I joined them for lunch before waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the airport. I wish that I had another day to spend in Tikal but I had to leave that evening and return to Antigua as my tour had come to an end. I boarded the shuttle back to the airport and returned exhausted, broken cause of course I feel off one of these said ruins and hurt my knee pretty badly, sun burnt because of the up to 104 temps in the jungle,  but so fulfilled about taking the trip out. I had to suffer through a very annoying flight back that was running a little late and took longer the expected. When my flight landed I was worried my shuttle driver wouldn’t be waiting but much to my surprise he was and was holding the best name sign I have ever seen in my life. It said MRTA RYMRE TO ANTIGUA um how is that my name?  It ended up being quite a long shuttle ride from Guatemala City to Antigua partly due to the fact that I guess my driver wanted to run a few personal errands and make a stop to a friend’s house. Eventually he parked at the bus station and picked up a bunch of other people before finally getting on the road to Antigua.  Of course he had to drop me off very last. The funny thing was that right before he dropped off the last family at the hotel they were staying at he totally ran into a parked car. He didn’t seem to care much because he promptly just drove off and never looked back. I guess that’s what happens in Guatemala. It seemed to take forever until I got back to the apartment but in the end it was totally worth it and something that I doubt I will ever forget.  Even today I look back at the pictures and wish that I were still in Tikal.  It was probable the very best part of the trip and the part that made me feel the most like me. I got to be that world traveling social woman for those few days. It was nice.

during my final walk in the jungle

I wish I could have stayed longer

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