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Between Families Between Families
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Tikal

So during our trip we made a stop over to Guatemala to visit Tikal. We stayed in the national park at my request because I wanted to wake up in the jungle and hear the howler monkeys and see spider monkeys and do a sunrise tour of the ancient city of Tikal.

We arrived to Tikal in the afternoon on a Wednesday and ate at the hotel. The dining area was open and airy and you could see out to the well manicured gardens in the surrounding area. As we were eating, I freaked out when I saw this wandering around.

coatimundi

I freaked and went and got my camera and stalked him until my food was cold, trying desperately to get a picture with his face in it. Apparently, coatimundis usually go about in family groups but this old guy was a strange loner and he was really only interested in termites. So most of the time he was either trying to get away from the giant pregnant lady (who was trying to squat and take a picture) or burying his nozzle in a mound of insects.

We made our arrangements for a tour the next morning and went to swim in the pool. Did I mention it was fucking hot?

When we first arrived in Belize, there was a restaurant advertising "Gibnut Stew." Now, I'd never heard of gibnut before. And when you talk about 'jibbing" in skier slang, you're talking about jumping on rails or other things in the terrain park. So I immediately thought "gibnut" was really funny because to me, it sounded like when someone falls with their legs on either side of a rail and gets "gibnutted."

It turns out to be this
gibnut
Its like a 40 lbs mouse with no tail. Weird.

Then as the sun starts setting the Howler monkeys get going. There was a tree you could watch from the pool where they were frolicking and yelling at each other. Which was cool.

Later that night, Rob and I were eating dinner at the same restaurant and there was a bit of a ruckus with some locals. They were plowed. I mean, wasted.

This one guy starts stumbling out of his seat and as he staggers through the restaurant I say to Rob, "You know, I think there's an age where if you're that drunk on a Wednesday and no one died, you probably have a problem."

4am Thursday, who should be our guide for a sunrise tour, but Drunky McStumbleton.

There was an Italian couple we think was maybe going to come on the tour too, but we're pretty sure they thought our guide was a hoax. He wasn't though. Still drunk, he could have come from sleeping on a sidewalk. He carried no materials but a jenky flash light.

Then he starts explaining to us, (as he's leading us on a path through the jungle that is clearly not the regular entrance,) that the park has recently discontinued official sunrise tours. Now the only sunrise tours are ones where you take paths through the jungle and sneak in. Because at 6 months pregnant, I'm so sneaky.

In between phlegmy spitting and coughing, he occasionally stumbles and tells us to watch out for roots and to watch our step. He stops and explains that the money we've paid for our entrance and "tour" is really to bribe potential guards.

Because I want to bribe people in Guatemala. Especially people with semi automatic weapons slung across their shoulders.

But we continued on with the tour. And ended up seeing all this

Tikal sunrise

In case you're a starwars person (and I'm not,) yes this is that where they shot that one ewok scene.

tikal sunrise 3

Tikal sunrise 2

And yes, I did climb up to the top of this 212 foot temple at dawn led by a drunk Guatemalan. I could almost go faster than him.

We sat at the top watching the sun come up and listening to the Howler monkeys and birds. It was delightful.

Tikal after sunrise

Then we hiked around and saw other temple sites, watched spider monkeys and at one point I spotted an anteater. Which is quite rare to see I hear. I kept seeing signs about turkeys and thought, who the fuck cares about seeing a turkey. Until we saw this guy:

Turkey in Tikal

We saw toucans and parrots and didn't get hassled by any guards. We got back to the hotel around 9, hot and tired and happy.

2 comments:

Pia N said...

it sounds like an amasing trip. i'd love to have seen all that. nice fotos.

C. Andres Alderete said...

Very nice. As always when I see other people's vacation pictures, I experienced a sad, sad pang of jealousy.