Friday, July 2, 2010

Semuc Champey-Paradise

The Friday, that was the last day of school we had a lunch with our teachers and then Danny and I left early at 2PM because a shuttle was going to come pick us up, for a 7 hour bus ride into Lanquin, where we would then take a trip to Semuc Champey the next day. So at 2:15PM we were on the shuttle and read to go, it was an intense ride and we hit some traffic after a while. The only stop we made for food was at this gasoline station where I managed to convince the lady that she should cook my Cup of Noodles in the microwave, which she did and thank goodness or I feel like I would have starved. Once we were all ready to go we got back on the road and about 4 hours later at 9PM we stopped in a hostel in Coban. So ever since seeing the movie hostel I have been afraid of hostels and I have never stayed in one nor wanted to stay in one so for me it was a big thing to even set foot in it but I did. I layed in a hammock there and it was a really nice hostel, so I was excited to see the place where we would be staying. Once we were back on the car we noticed that we were switching drivers and we had about 2 more hours to go according to the new driver. During the whole trip I felt like I was drugged or something because I was so exhausted and all I could do was just sleep. I kinda feel sorry for Danny because during the whole time I pretty much laid on him and drooled all over him.

After about an hour we got on this very steep rocky road and there was a lot of turns and what not so I felt like we were going to fall of the little hill or something, we stayed on this road all the way until we reached our destination, El Retiro Lodge. We arived at 11ish at night and walked carefully to check in, I thought Danny, Christina and I would be staying in one of the cutest little wooden/bamboo huts, boy was I wrong. So Christina and he friend got to stay in a hut and Danny and I had this horrible room with rock on it and a huge bug by one of the beds, Danny's bed actually and so I had to share my bed with him. I was not a happy camper, I did not like our room and it was soooo hot and humid humid hot not dry hot. I think because we were so exhausted we were able to just fall sleep easily.

The next morning Danny and I finally were able to switch into a different room that was held up by corn husks and bamboo and on the top there was mosquito netting hung to keep the bugs out, I was skeptical about it but this was better than the last room. We went to check on Christina and we hug out for a bit outside her room, I layed on her hammock and was having a blast. The bathrooms I noticed were very clean and I was very happy about this, we had breakfast and prepared for our day.

The new room!!! The Hut and Hammock!!! Yay!!

The View from the hammock!!

We payed for our tour and the bus and finally got on this big bus that took us to Semuc Champey which was almost like the jungle but in comparison to Tikal it was not that bad, actually Tikal wasn't bad at all. We started the tour by stripping down to our bathing suits and handing our bags to a man behind a desk in a little hut which was supposed to be the office or something. I was wearing flip flop and so were Danny and Christina but Thankfully our tour guide tied some little strings to it and turned them into sandals it was very creative. I wish I had taken a picture.

The first adventure was a rope swing, in which you swung out into the river and jumped, just like that you just jump. I did not dare to do this but Danny did, what freaked me out was that the current was super strong so no way was I going to try it. I wanted to live to go home next weekend and drowning was just not in my itinerary.

The second adventure was tubing!!!! It was soo much fun and my favorite part of the whole thing I actually wish we could have done it longer or for a second time. But I got on my little black tube and practically flew down the river, the current was super strong. I struggled a lot at first to manuver myself around the rocks and stuff but I was such a pro, it was a little hard to stop at the place in which we were supposed to stop but the tour guide helped me out a lot. Once I was out I climbed on top of the rocks and tried to walk and boom I just slid down again into the water. It was a little scary but I just laughed at the whole thing, because I would fall back in.

The third adventure involved candles and caves. I still can't believe I went caving and I swan in there sure I have some serious bruises and a scar or two but I had an amazing time!!!!! At the entrance of the caves we were given candles and lit them and them we jumped in. We were able to walk and swim through the caves, it was very hard swimming with one arm and then flip flops on as well. We also had to climb up some ladders, jump off rocks into an abyss of nothingness but water, slide natural waterslides and even had the opportunity to climb up a small waterfall. Keep in mind that hile doing all this you held on to your candle, and so it sucked that we could not see the water or what was underneath and so I crashed into many rocks and got some bruises and what not. The cave tour was probably two hours and then we exited back to sunshine.

After the caves!

I was starving at this point and was happy when we finally got some lunch, from one of the local ladies there. After lunch we began to hike, and I mean hike, this was the most intensive hike I have ever don it put the hikes in Tikal to shame. We went straight up the mountain which was about 7,000 feet in altitude Danny and I were the first to be climbing up for a while but I was so tired and the altitude was messing with me. I was thankful and angry at the same time that it was raining. Thankful because it helped with the heat and angry because it made the ground very very slippery. Everyone I think slipped and almost fell at one point, but once we made it to the top, which is called El Mirador we had an amazing view of the natural pools that once we hiked down the mountain we would be able to swim in. Going down I almost twisted my ankle and it hurt pretty badly but I really wanted to go swimming and Danny was really supportive so I sucked it up and just went down. It was so beautiful down there that pictures definitely don't do it justice. The water was clear you could see everything I had some fun trying to catch the little fishies but they weren't having it. After about an hour an hour and a half we headed back to bus that took us back to the lodge, I was looking forward to sleeping in this new room, but I was so exhausted.

The Natural Pools

The View From El Mirador!!

Danny & Me, After the long hike up the mountain!!

Swimming in the natural pools!!


We had some dinner, I tried having steak which doesn't really work when you havent had meat in years and so I entertained my self by feeding it to this cute little dog near our table. Our dinner was lit by candles and it was so cute and AMAZING!!!! The hostel employees announced a bonfire & music down by the river after supper, it started raining and so they moved the party closer to the entry lodge, but we were all so exhausted that we all went to our rooms. Danny and I laid in hammocks for a while but soon after headed to bed. I was a bit annoyed after a while of music because I wanted the noise to stop so I could sleep, eventually I dozed off, but I did cover our room in Deet so that just in case bugs crawled in or something.

On Sunday we woke up at about 7AM and then proceded to geting ready for our 7-9hour rde back to Antigua. We stopped at a gasoline station again and so we stuffed our bags with chips and junk food and also got again a cup of noodles. After a while we made another stop at a place where it was like a restaurant and there was ice cream!!! I was stoked for ice cream because it was so hot. After that we got back on the bus and again I slept on Danny's Shoulder less drooling this time I think.

We were finally back in Antigua at like around 4PM and so Danny and I took a tuk tuk home and showered and rested for a bit. Because it was Sunday we had to provide our own food and so we headed down to the Market. In the market we bought my Guatemalan obsession (corn with lemon) and then headed towards the ferris wheel. I love the ferris wheel but little did I know this was like no ferris wheel I had ever gone on before. There was nobody on the ferris wheel so I convinced Danny to come on it with me. It was sooo scary!!!!!! It went forward and backwards and it was just a bunch of benches put together and manual. The guy at the bottom would press on the gas to make it go fast or slow. Because we were th first ones on Danny and I were on that thing for half an hour!!!!! they waited until the whole thing filled up and it was just too intense but soo much fun!!! I don't think Danny liked it as much as I did but I loved it!!!! Even though it was terrifying!!

After the ferris wheel incident we grabbed some dinner and headed home.

Finally we were able to sleep and we would be able to sleep in because volunteering wasn't until 1PM the next day!!

PS I need to get a water resistant digital camera, hint hint!!!

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