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Published: February 21st 2014
This would be our tour guide, showing up a trumpet tree leaf (his name for it...)
February 5th, Rog and I woke up early to start our trek to Guatemala City so we could pick up his sister, her boyfriend, and our roommate at the intl airport. It's a good thing we decided on an hour earlier than normal because that was the day the chicken buses decided to protest the government and shut down all major highways. I wish I was joking, you guys. But nope. We get on our first chicken bus, and I pop a dremamine (super sleepy but no motion sickness) since it was supposed to be just a straight 4 hour ride there. Ha! After an hour the bus stops and no one has any idea whats going on. We finally get informed that the bus we're on is heading back to Xela and there's another bus just up the highway that can take us to another bus that will take us to Guate City...hopefully. So we grab our bags and hop off that bus, following a crowd of people on the major highway out of Xela to another bus. We wait for awhile and then it takes us to a major bus terminal. We figure because a ton of buses are
Antonio said people smoke these leaves to get super high. He then gave many impersonations of a high and drunk person
moving around that it was just something weird on that highway, and head onto another bus (the 3rd so far). This bus is beyond crowded (I'm talking around 100 people on a children's school bus) and eventually gets stopped as well. This time we hear people saying the roads won't be cleared until 4 p.m. -- it's only about 10 a.m. at this point, and we have to be at the airport by 12:30. We see a few random people walking and ask someone what's going on. He said the roads are blocked and about 8 km up the highway, we will probably be able to find another bus. SO.... off we go, hiking on the highway, passing hundreds, if not thousands, of cars just parked. People are playing cards on the side of the road, kids are running up and down selling waters and fruit. And we're just walking, with no idea where we're going. Roger was a major trooper here; I was still drugged up and so out of it. I had no idea what was happening ha. We stop by a tuk-tuk (mini taxi thingy) and ask how far the terminal is. He says for 10Q each,
he'll give us a ride. DONE DEAL. We hop in, zoom off to the bus terminal (still like a 15 minute ride, so who knows how long we would've been walking for), hop on a bus for Guatemala City, catch a cab and tell him to step on it and show up at the airport around 12:50 --- luckily, their flight was a tiny bit delayed and they got in shortly after 1. It ended up working out perfectly! (yay!!)
That night we stayed in Guatemala City, at a hostel near the airport. Our friend Sam came out and showed us downtown Guatemala City and we went out to dinner at a fancy restaurant with him. It was Teresa's birthday so of course some celebratory dessert was included 😊 The next morning we hopped on a tiny plane (no more than 30 passengers) to Tikal! It was only a 40 minute flight, which was amazing, especially compared to the 9 hours by bus it took us last time! We checked into our hotel (RIGHT IN THE JUNGLE) and then started our tour. It was the 5 of us, plus an older couple from Belgium and our crazy tour guide,
Antonio Diaz. He was probably the single most entertaining person in all of Guatemala. I'm not sure we actually learned much about the ruins from him, but we learned a lot about different plants, and animals in the jungle. The tour was long but we didn't see Temple 4, the largest one in Tikal so after lunch the 5 of us went out alone to try and find it. We were told we had to watch the sunset from there, and that after, we would have to walk back to our room. We got held up by a hole in one of the temples that Jesse and Jason climbed into, so we totally missed the sunset. We still hurried our butts out there hoping to still see some traces of the sunset. Right at the base, a guard stopped us and told us we needed the 100Q each sunset passes to be out there after dark. Since we obviously didn't have those, it took a bit of sweet talk, but for 100Q total, the guard let us have 15 minutes on Temple 4. Best 100Q ever (100Q is about $12.50). We were the ONLY people on the largest temple and,
even though it was foggy and hazy, could see for MILES. The fog made it so mysterious and spooky! When we got to the base the guard escorted us back to our hotel. On the way, he told us scary stories, pointed out fire flies and other bugs (like the giant cockroach that landed on Jesse!) and even made us a stop because... a JAGUAR WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!!! Ok, it was like 25 feet in front of and to the right of us, but still. His flashlight shone in the jaguars eyes and we could just barely make out the outline. IT WAS SO COOL! When we got to the end, we paid him and gave him some Thunder Cookies from Rog, Teresa, and Jesse's bakery (Positively 3rd Street in Duluth, MN) and took a pic with him.
We spent that night ordering in food and playing pictionary before waking up to monkeys pooping on hotel bungalows 😊 The monkeys were all over our hotel area, jumping from tree to tree and chattering around. We did some souvenir shopping before heading on the microbus to Flores. It was during a quick lunch in Flores that I
realized I left my purse with 3 passports and 5 plane tickets in it on the microbus. After a frustrating time trying to speak Spanish over the phone, the incredibly kind lady at the restaurant took over and eventually solved the whole crisis. We ended up getting my purse back with minutes to spare at the airport. Not a fun evening.
There's so much more to tell but this post is getting so long already! I'll throw in about a million and ten pictures and then write more of the trip later!
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