On the bus from Belize City to Flores the bus driver stopped on the side of the road to buy himself some lovely potatoes. When he got out of his seat his flies were undone and he had to struggle to keep his trousers up, Oh dear!
When the bus arrived to neighbouring Santa Elena the bus company transferred us and our luggage to the local mafia's collectivo to transport us to a hostel of their choosing. Trudy does not like to be told what to do at the best of times, so when she is asked/told/instructed repeatedly that this is the best hostel in town by the mafia she issued her own instructions back: "Tom, get our bags now - we're walking". We walked the 5 minutes to Hostel Yaxha which just so happened to be the very same hostel which housed Dos Mundos language school where we'd already booked three weeks of Spanish classes. So take that, Flores mafia!
On Monday after our first lesson we were picked up by Oscar who took us back to his family home, a posada (hotel) overlooking the lake across to the island of Flores (did we mention that Flores is an island in the middle of a lake?). In Oscar & Marta's posada we met the rest of their family as well as the other guests who stayed there. This included the crazy, old and fat American guy (winner of World's Most Annoying Human Award 2012) who showed off to us about living in Cambodia where he was approached by girls as young as 15 (perve-alert?!?). We didn't speak to him after that statement.
One morning one of the Dutch guys who was staying in the posada ruffled the family's parrot's feathers who squawked in dismay. Trudy turned to Tom and said "That bird has literally had his feathers ruffled". Possibly Trudy's best pun while travelling.
While we were in Flores we swam in the lake every day (it was unbelievably hot here, seriously, it felt like holidaying on the sun - even your eyelids sweat here and Tom had to shave his beard off). Tom swam across the lake to Flores and back 4 or 5 times, but Trudy couldn't get over her fear of deep water, which she figured was actually a good fear to have so she refused to even try to swim across. We visited an orphanage, where Tom accepted cake from a kids' dinner tray (literally taking food from out of the mouths of orphans) and Trudy launched a game of 'Guess the Animal' (William Gregory will know this game). We visited Tikal National Park at 7 in the morning before there were any tourists there. While walking through ancient ruins Trudy beckoned Tom over to see some Spider Monkeys she had spied in the trees just above her. As well as seeing some incredible ancient ruins (adding to Tom's collection) we also saw peacocks, toucans, parrots, a strange red ant-eater/badger creature and heard Howler Monkeys. During our visit to Tikal there was a tropical downpour and we had to shelter underneath a palm tree, which surprisingly kept us completely dry while everyone else got soaked.
We were duped into driving out into the jungle to search for an uncharted Mayan ruin (further increasing Tom's collection). While this sounds fun it was really quite a painful experience, more than we can convey here. For a start the jungle wasn't proper jungle but just deep and thick grass making it really hard to walk to the site. Trudy cut her walking foot, ripped her best trousers on barbed wire and got trapped in a sharp, sticky plant; Tom had to cut her free using the ever handy pen knife. The sun was especially hot that day (39 degrees C with no tree cover!). Once we got to the site we had to crawl through undeground caves to see the ruins (Tom's thought "oh look, I'm trapped in an underground cave, I hope I don't die here" kept recurring - Trudy didn't even attempt to look in). The best part of the whole day was leaving the site and crossing a river to get back to the car - Alfred (our efficient German guide) and Tom stripped down to boxers (heat-induced not homoerotic) and lay down in the cold river which on such a boiling hot day was AMAZING!
The Spnaish itself was quite difficult, particularly as our teachers didn't speak a word of English. Every time they tried to explain some obscure grammatical rule to us they could only do so in Spanish, which wasn't very helpful. Trudy named this method of teaching 'Being Beaten with a Spanish Stick'! However after three weeks it's surprising how much we learned, we feel we are now able to catch buses without panicking about being taken to completely the wrong place.