Monday, June 11, 2012

What a an incredible adventure this has been. This past weekend all 6 of us girls went to Guatemala. Astrid, one of our brilliant professors, basically set the whole thing up for us. We first took a bus from Belmopan (which is the capital of Belize and we are living on the outskirts of it) to the boarder. It was super hot and sweaty but easy and cheap. From the last stop we had to take a taxi about two or three miles down the road and walk through customs and across the boarder. Which by the way was surprisingly easy, like pay the exit fee and walk out the other side. Waiting to pick us up was Luis who was suggested to us by Astrid. He picked us up and drove us to Flores. I have to tell you if you are EVER in Guatemala stay in Flores. It is actually an island (on a lake) and is absolutely beautiful. It is not very big, easily walk able and is surrounded by a beautiful little boardwalk. We stayed at hotel Sabana ( I highly recommend it) and ate dinner both nights at Cool Beans cafĂ©. Possibly the most chill restaurant I have ever been in. There were hammocks you could sit in and all kinds of crazy decorations. So that night we just walked around, went to the top of the hill in the center and saw the church and some Stelae that were in the little park thing they had, did a little shopping around and went to bed.

The next day we got up at about the usual time and we schedueled for a van to pick us up at 6:30 or so to take us to Tikal. We got there around 8 and went right it. The site is HUGE! And we walked up and around to start at Temple 4 which is the tallest and the place where they shot the Star Wars rebble base from. It was so increadible and at the bottom we saw howler monkeys and spider monkeys in an battle. Just to let everyone know spider monkeys may look cute but they are the bullies of the jungle. They will chase and harass and corner the howlers and grab and shake or the branches they are on so they will fall off. But they are big scardy cats because if they get too close the howlers will grab their tails and throw them off the tree. We spent a lot of time watching them and it was like being IN a nat geo exclusive. One of the spider monkeys was going along chasing the howler and it stopped right above us looked down and pointed at us!! You could just here him saying “Your next…” We continued on soon after that.

From there we made our way through the other complex’s eventually to Temple 1 and 2, which are the most famous. We climbed temple 2 right away and looked at the whole plaza from above which was totally awesome. We had lunch up at the top and took a little nap. When we were up there about 8 belizeans came up and were holding a camera and kind of glancing at us so I asked if they wanted me to take their picture and they said yes. So I got their camera and they all went and sat around the rest of my group. And the girls started to get up and they were like no sit we want a picture with the gringas. So I took the photo and they scurried away, so that was an interesting.

After lunch we went down the temple and then went back to the visitors center and arranged for Katrina, Evelyn and I to Zipline through the jungle. It was sooooo cool. I was totally freaked out for the first couple of lines but you are always attatched and when your actually going its super awesome. On the first platform we were going over how to do it and about three Spider monkeys came right above us, about 10 feet away and tried to intimidate us. They grab as many branches they can and shake them vigorously. They are all talk because if you just gesture at them they back off. After that it was pretty peaceful. There are 9 lines and you could flip upside down or hang from your back and fly through like superman but I just did it the regular way every time. But Katrina loved going upside down and they both did the superman. After ziplineing we went back, met up with the other girls, and went back to Flores.

The next morning Luis drove us back to the boarder and we got through super easily, again, and got back on the bus. The problem was that most of the staff were down south at the beach and the one truck available only hold a couple people in the cab, but mostly there was a lot of miscommunication and so basically we got off at the West star which is the 24 hour gas station at the start of the access road to Banana Bank and had no transportation from there. We had no cash left for a taxi so we bought some snakes put on our sneakers and walked the 5 miles in. It really wasn’t a bad walk at all, and on the plus side we did get through all 99 versus of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. Check that off the bucket list! Ellie felt horrible but she thought we were getting off at a completely different stop and totally missed that we didn’t have money left. All in all it was really just character building.

More to come very soon!!