Friday, 31 January 2014

Ruined again ...

At present I am sat in Cancun airport awaiting my flight back home to London! My opinion of Cancun airport is pretty much the same as the one I have of Cancun, but due to censorship reasons I can only describe it as 'unimpressive'. 

I can't believe how fast the last four weeks have wizzed by and what a great trip I have had, feeling really low about getting on that plane now, but I've gotta go earn some more money for my next adventure. Meantime I am still a few days behind on this here blog, so I need to cast you back to my last posting ...

You may remember I had just recovered from the 'Burrito' fiasco - now that definitely does sound like a euphuism!? And I skipped back to my hotel room with a relieved looking TC in tow; who (or is it 'whom' I never am sure) I think was more stressed out than me (no surprises there). 

We were leaving at 6am the following morning but I was still on an adrenalin buzz from the evenings events and couldn't sleep. However, TC brought me back down to earth soon enough, after I commented on a couple of photos I'd noticed Heather had posted on Face Book: "Oh my god!" (Sorry, there I go blaspheming again), "I look like a beached whale". To which TC replied and I quote: "Don't be so silly, you've got lovely hair and a pretty face."

She smiled at me innocently as I glared back. "You do realise that doesn't actually make me feel any better, don't you? That's not really a compliment!" Another bemused look from my tiny, petite, skinny, slim friend. "I just told you I look like a beached whale and rather than saying I don't, you comment on my ...", "But you do have lovely hair and a pretty face". She interrupted, still clueless. I sighed. "I suggest you shut up now." She still look confused. "Ok but you don't look like a ... " I threw her another look and we curled up in our respective beds, in silence and went to sleep. 

And so morning eventually broke and we were all up bright and early to set off for the border crossing into Guatemala. Loaded up with peanut butter and jam sandwiches, which were kindly made for us by the hotel staff, we climbed on board the coach and set off for country number three. 

This particular border crossing was quite a simple one. There was no interrogation, no pretences, we just had to show our passports, pay our departure tax and entrance fee then off into Guatemala. Which was quite lucky cause I don't think I could have gone through all that again - even if I do have lovely hair and a pretty face!!!

Guatemala is considered the most mountainous country in Central America - mainly due to its many volcanos, of which some are still smoking! From black sandy beaches and mangroves found along the Pacific Coastline to tropical forests and coconut trees over on the Caribbean side. Yet another country rich in Mayan culture, with one of the largest indigenous populations pro rata.  

Once through, our first stop was Tikal - one of the oldest Mayan ruins it is found in the heart of the Parque Nacional Tikal. 

It is a massive site with five huge temples at its epicentre (the largest rising up to 64m) and plazas leading out to more - even a Colossium. Generally you will find the usual Mayan layout: East, North, South and West. Sun and Moon temples and many more still hidden under the jungle. 

I doubt very much that most people would have the energy to go round the whole site in one fell swoop, let alone us lot, who were all still completely shattered from the cave climbing the day before, which was unfortunate for our local guide Miguel, he was extremely knowledgable and enthusiastic not just about the ruins but also all the assortment of wild life living there.  And the thought of climbing up yet another temple was starting to bring on palpitations, so I made my excuse for not being able to climb the first one; someone had to take the picture!!

Miguel was a really friendly guide who obviously wanted us to know as much as possible, but for the most part, our main responses were just tired grunts, the odd question and a few "Ahas". Though there was a bit if enthusiasm when we spotted a couple of spider monkeys in the trees. I turned to look at TC, check she was ok. You see she never really got over 'the monkey incident' in India. (See the posting 'Too Much Monkey Business' in the India blog). Apart from the slight cowering movement and quivering lip, I think she was ok.

And by the time we came across the big hairy tarantula sat watching us from the trunk of a tree, I was too tired to even be scared of it - usually a tiny British house spider would make me break out in a cold sweat and start wretching!

Actually looking at that picture now has made me break out in a cold sweat and start wretching!

But I did manage to force myself up the final temple we were visiting, slowly but surely in the blistering heat, pausing every few steps to get my breath and watching as Nick (tall lanky Aussie in our group who likes to refer to himself as 'A Geek' which apparently is better than being 'a nerd'!?) ran past me up the steps, three at a time! Well he has got longer legs than me and he's about twenty years younger than me and he's probably used to more outdoor pursuits than me and ... I gotta get back to going to the gym when I get home!

Lunch that day was at a lovely little restaurant by a lake in El Remate, where we soaked up the sunshine and some went swimming before leaving for our hotel on the tiny island of Flores.

In the evening, after our orientation walk round the quaint little town, a few of us sat drinking beers and piƱa coladas watching the sun setting over the water. It was a perfect evening, so serene and I was feeling sad that I had only two days left before saying 'Adios' to my new friends and this lovely country.

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