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September 3rd 2010
Published: September 3rd 2010
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I was miserable after leaving Utila, but I clung to diving friend Tim´s sleeve to make sure I got to San Pedro Sula where he left me - far enough away not to spring back. So, I had to keep moving... I´d spent a lot of time in Utila and had changed my exit flight from Mexico City to Guatemala City. But with just over a week left, I still needed to get a wiggle on if I was to see anything of Guatemala. I decided Tikal would have to be sacrificed to the time god, and so Copan was a must... And it was well worth it. As I walked into the site, a strange pang of Rougemont Gardens came over me. I hadn´t expected the place to be so green - or in such good shape. The ruins are in tact enough that you can really picture life happening there, down to the ball court where the citizens population here apparently played a game where you have to keep the ball in the air without using your hands... Something like that!
After my bus from Copan to Rio Dulce was cancelled at 5 in the morning, I changed plans again and decided to head straight for Antigua Antigua. This is the tourist hub for Guatemala and where there isn´t a church or a ruin, there is a hostel or a restaurant or a travel agent. I decided to spend the weekend in Antigua and then do a three day tour up to Semuc Champey before my flight to Miami for Barbados (tomorrow). These decisions paid off, as on Saturday, I joined some people from the hostel for a rugby tournament. At first, it seemed like a wild goose chase. We walked further and further out of the city (where there were no longer hostels or ruins or travel agents!) until finally we came across the ´cultural centre´ where, sure enough, a rugby 7´s tournament was fully in swing. It turned out that this was four teams, three of the best teams in Guatemala and "Antigua" - a team made up of three Irish (from our hostel), two Argentinians, a Frenchman, an Englishman and one local Antiguan. After some spectacular rugby, "Antigua" came out on top..! Obviously the Dutch and English cheerleading helped!! and I was invited to the trophy presentation / afterparty to witness some great sporting Guatemalan party traditions.
Then it was goodbye AGAIN and time for Semuc Champey. It´s a geological wonder and the day there was packed with scary candelit water caving, enourmous swings across (and into) the river, a climb to the awesome mirador, and jumping and swimming and messing about in natural pools in the enourmous cliff valley. Another great day - and a bit of Irish luck that some of the rugby boys were also there.
Now, I have no more tours, no more long bus journeys (the one scheduled for 6 hours yesterday took 11) and no more money!! But still one last treat before home... Two weeks in Barbados! Okay there may be some hurricane weather, but visiting The Griffith´s, I won´t have a problem having a great time.

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3rd September 2010

Looks amazing Nik! Think you're going to be a bit disappointed by the tourist-fest that is Barbados after being spoiled with such secluded exotic locations. Also there happens to be Tropical Storm Gaston heading straight toward us and due to hit Wednesday...but hey, all excitement eh?? Looking forward to seeing your smiling face on Saturday, much love xxx

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