We're lying in bed on our last night in Guatemala. After being told that this was definitely not a party place, I'm having trouble falling asleep because of the boom, boom, boom of the bass and drums from some sort of "festival" they're holding a ways down the lake. But sound carries well on water, so we can pretend we're at the celebration.
We arrived in Flores right on schedule and for once I actually slept decently well. Ola didn't have the same luck. She couldn't believe that I didn't notice that we were getting bounced out of our seats every few seconds. Hooray for medication induced slumbers!! We hopped in a taxi and were in El Ramate, the town closest to Tikal, before seven o'clock.
We wandered around and found a spot for breakfast. El Ramate is only about two or three streets, so there isn't much to see, but it's very pretty, tranquil, and on a clean, clear lake which we enjoyed immensely. After eating, we grabbed a taxi and headed out to Tikal. One of the problems we've encountered here is that it's difficult to get around. We've ended up needing more private transportation than our budgets would have liked. Anyways, we got to Tikal, paid their exorbitant entry fee and started to wander around.
It's very big and very impressive. The timelines seem to range from about 600BC to 800AD, so similar to Copan in Honduras. The ways they differ are that Tikal has much taller temples and Copan's are much more ornately carved. We enjoyed several hours of wandering and climbing on things, but it was a ridiculously hot day, so once we were done, lingering was not on the agenda. We got back and jumped in the lake. The rest of the afternoon was spent swimming, relaxing and trying to organize transport out to Yaxha for the next day.
The next morning we had a leisurely sleep and then went wandering for breakfast. We had decided to go to Yaxha for sunset which meant that we didn't need to get moving until after one. We followed the signs pointing to La Casita, which claimed to be a "vegetarian restaurant and chill out place", but when we got there the door was chained closed. We turned back and met a man who asked why we didn't stay (apparently it's the only place in that direction, so it was obvious where we were heading). He explained that the door was only closed in order to keep the dogs in, so we went back and hollered until he opened up. We were met by an unusual artist and his dog. He asked what we wanted for breakfast and then started listing items. Then he said he had to go buy ingredients and we should show ourselves around. He came back, cooked for us and then chilled out and chatted for a while, showing us his books and crafts. Overall it was a very enjoyable morning.
We went back for a swim and then got picked up by our private minibus to head to the ruins. The upside to the minimal amount of tourism in these places needs no explanation, but the downside is that we had to pay more for things because we couldn't find anyone extra to make a proper group. We spent a couple of hours wandering around and climbing on more ruins. They were lovely, but after a while all the ruins start to look quite similar. We got to see some howler monkeys; they were very vocal, but happily did not defecate on our heads as they're apparently known to do. We trudged our way up the tallest monument, named 216, and relaxed and waited for the sun to go down. As the sun descended, the rest of the tourists in the park did the opposite. Luckily the grand total of people present was 13 (including me and Ola), so things were still nice and tranquilo.
We came back to town, had a tasty dinner and watched the fireflies flit around the fields by the lake. We tried to get to bed early since we have yet another early morning coming, but as you can see, I'm writing this instead. Hopefully the music will die down soon, so I can actually get some rest. Otherwise, I'm going to be a very tired girl tubing through the caves tomorrow. Last border crossing, here we come!!