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Published: November 21st 2012
Cerro Cahui protected area.
Where our hotel was located.
Yaxha Park today – (sounds like, ja shou). As many of you know, Clay studied the Maya in his undergraduate. He saw for the first time, today, Mayan ruins which have been unearthed. What a wonderful and fulfilling thing. Even I (Ann) have to admit that although ruins are not my thing, they are pretty cool.
But let us start where all good stories must, at the beginning. This morning, we were to be picked up at our hotel at 8:30 a.m. so we made sure to get up and have breakfast and be at the appointed pick location. That location was actually way down a hill from the hotel and on the shore of a very stunningly beautiful lake. (See photos) At about 9:30, we determined that 8:30 was just a suggestion. (Remember, we are on Guatemalan time.) However, after about an hour and 15 minutes, Clay decided to make a call from the hotel. Understand that “in front of our hotel” is a dirt road, albeit across from a beautiful lake, but no place to sit. The result of the telephone calls was that they were coming, but in 45 more minutes. Really?!?!? Our hotel owner said they
Clay at the "front" of our hotel.
The hotel is actually waaaay up the hill.
were probably trying to rummage up some more tourists to go on our trip. About an hour or so later, the driver and guide arrived. We were the only tourists on this trip, so that was a bonus for us! We can only surmise that they failed miserably in rounding up more takers. We thought that our patience in the “time” area would be tested on this trip and it has! But, from what we read about Morocco, this is just a warm-up.
While we were waiting to get picked up, we met David. He is here from Colorado. Believe it or not, he was in the Peace Corps for three stints! (This is truly a small world!) David gave us some more insight into the Peace Corps that we did not have. He was just here vacationing. He is a forestry person and loves nature, so he picked this spot. If you have read through our blogs, you know how many people we have met already on this trip with things in common, truly amazing!
Back to Yaxha. It took about 45 minutes or so to get there, some of it on a bumpy, dirt roads (11km
Creepy little red bug party!
If anyone can identify this bug type, that would be awesome!
worth), but nothing like Sumac Champey. We were pretty miffed about the wait, but the guide was so nice that it was hard to stay mad for long. He was asked us if we were ready to do some walking and Clay replied, “Sure, we just had a two hour rest.” Touché! The guide immediately started to blame everyone he could but regardless of the reasons for the delay, he certainly became quite friendly after that jab. When we arrived, we got wrist-bands for the park. The site was almost empty. This is the newest excavation site and only a little bit of it has been done, so it is not touristy at all. What a find! There are mounds of dirt everywhere and under them are these unbelievable structures from 800 BC to about 1500 AD. Because only a very small part of the park is actually excavated, it is exciting walking among the mounds because each and every one could be filled with the next “big find.” Clay said it was “like hundreds of Christmas presents just waiting to be opened. You may not know what’s in each one, but you just know it is going to be
great!” Anyway, see photos. Clay wore his kilt today for the first time. The only person who even blinked an eye was a tourist from the U.S.
As is inevitable in Guatemala, Clay got bit by ants (no big deal) and then Ann joined the party (Ann has been allergic, so it was a little stressful). This place as more ants than we have ever seen in one place. The guide explained that there are many, many different types of ants, but he broke it down into the must know categories of “meat-eaters” and “plant-eaters.” Meat-eaters are bad. Plant-eaters are ok as long as you don’t disrupt their work. See photos. The mounds are huge! One mound we saw was about 10 feet across and it had tunnels to the mound from as far away as 20 feet! The creatures of this earth are truly amazing and these ants were a prime example of built for the task! They were orderly and their mission is obvious. Clay could have watched them all day, but Ann was not happy about them for obvious reasons.
On the way back, the driver and guide took us to lunch at a restaurant
which appears popular for tours. (In fact, it is at the mouth of the park and the menu only has four options… with no prices, because the “lunch” is always included). However, it was at about 2:00 since we were late getting picked up. It was fabulous - - soup, beef cooked right, rice, perfectly cooked vegetables, and of course, tortillas. While we were there, several more tour groups stopped for lunch, including a very interesting group of French folks.
After lunch, Ann was feeling a little worse because of congestion in her sinuses. (She is battling the onset of a cold.) We asked the driver to take us to the Farmacia for some cold medicine. As would be expected, Ann caught the first germ she found outside of the U.S. and started a cold today. Such is life for Ann the next few days, phlegm, sneezing and the occasional cough. For Ann, this will be a test of her immune system. For Clay, he will be in charge of tissues and medicine.
Back at the hotel, Ann took a siesta, while Clay decided to break (crack) the toilet seat. He had to go tell the Wife and
explain the problem as best he could in Spanish, while talking about sitting on the toilet and all of a sudden, “CRACK!” This situation was more than a little humorous, especially since it involved Clay. (NOTE FROM CLAY – Not particularly funny at the time (ok, maybe it was!) and certainly still a mystery as to how one can crack a toilet seat in half just by sitting on it! I’m not THAT heavy!)
We once again joined the host family for dinner. The meal was a wonderful piece of pork, mashed potatoes with fresh ground nutmeg and squash cooked with cheese on it. The wife’s cooking is wonderful. She is really nice and so are their children. Mealtime felt simply like having a nice meal with your friend’s family. Tomorrow we are off to Tikal, which is about 30 miles away. A shuttle is supposed to pick us up at another hotel at 8:30 a.m. What time should we expect our bus to arrive in Guatemala time? (That’s a trick question… we should NOT expect anything at all!) J
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