Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tikal

I feel like I have been up for hours and hours and I really want to sleep because tomorrow starts the last week of school. I cannot believe that in two weeks I am going to go home, that is just too insane, I don't think I want to go home but a part of me does so it is all bittersweet.

So on Saturday we all left to TIKAL in Peten Guatemala it was AMAZING!! Except that I was up since 4AM and had gone to bed at 11PM. I also found out that night I was allergic to Penut-Butter. I made PB&J sandwiches for Danny, just jelly for me and then I broke out in hives it was super intense. I also packed all of my stuff and was proud that I was only taking a backpack. When I saw everyone else who some had two luggage I was in shock it was only a weekend!!! But anyway we got picked up at 4AM and then we drove to a small airport in Guatemala city. The plane was so small it only fit 19 people so two of the people in our group left in a previous flight.

View from the plane! Can you see the volcano?

Danny & I in the plane! The aisle was in between us and we still look squished, which gives you an idea of how small the plane was

Danny & I in Peten after the plane ride

I am not sure how long we were flying but I think it was for an hour maybe hour an a half. We left at 6:30AM and arrived at like 7:30AM. When we arrived in Peten it was soo bright! But after a while of waiting for peoples bags to come we got on the road. On the way to Tikal our shuttle stopped in Alligator Island and it was amazing the water was so clear and you could see everything. We only stopped for about 10 minutes and it was a bummer because it was so humid hot that I wanted to just grab my swimsuit and jump into the water and cool down.

The water was soo blue and clear!!

The sky was also blue and this little hut thing was adorable!! Quite a place to take pictures!

I am standing on stairs that lead down to the water!

Danny & Me, the green you see behind us looks like an Alligator

After ten minutes we all headed back to the shuttle and headed to our Hotel which was near Tikal. After sometime we finally go there and it was so pretty. Well our hotel was it had a pool and there was a lot of butterflies just flying around or on the grass. We were all excited to finally be there and we were even more excited after we found out instead of having a tour right away we would have it later and it would be split up. Meaning instead of going from a long trip and being up since 4AM to a 6 hour tour we would have time off to rest and relax, and our tour would be turned into a two day tour. So the down side was that tomorrow we would be having to wake up at 5AM, but it was worth it.

Nora & I outside one of the hotel rooms

View from April & Emily's Room, We were right below them!

The pool was tons of fun!!

This is Robert, he was hiding underneath the pool!

Danny and I went to explore!

After a long time of relaxing which was definitely needed we all met up to go on our tour but not before spraying ourselves over and over with Deet to keep the mosquitoes away. Honestly, I felt like I had showered in Deet & OFF but also I was happy because for a while it had rained and so that meant that mosquitoes would not be out.

Before starting out on our tour our tour guide took us to see this model of the park. He showed us this model that was huge and then explained to us what we would be doing today and then tomorrow. I was a bit upset because it looked like there was going to be a lot of walking and I was still tired and grouchy from lack of sleep but we headed off on our adventure.

The model of Tikal

Our tour guide and the owner of Tikal Inn, the hotel where we stayed

But before we left we found out that there was alligators in the swamp looking small lakes nearby. Danny and I had actually come earlier and had seen one. One of the people from the place told us about how there used to be a big alligator about 2 meters long that used to be there in the swamp but them got killed because it killed a man and a little boy.

One of the signs that warned people about the alligator

A small alligator


When we stood outside the park there was a sign that stated all of the things you could not do in the park it was intense to just see a sign with all the don'ts. Our tour guide mentioned that he would be focusing a lot on the floral part of the tour and he would be pointing out a lot of trees, flowers, and other flora that he thought were important.
The tour started with him first explaining to us that there was two trees that could help tourists. One was a tree whose leaves could help with Montezuma's Revenge, the sickness that is diarrhea pretty much and then there is another tree that helps with sun burns.
We then moved on to another tree that e said inspired the producers of AVATAR. It was a gigantic tree, in one photograph I was not able to fit in the whole tree, but it looked amazing when you looked up top. Our tour guide told us about how the Mayan people believed that if you buried people underneath this tree their souls would then be taken to heaven because they would reach the top.

After visiting the magical and gigantic tree we moved on to another part of the forest where there was a branch hanging from it and we could swing on one of the branches. I waited with a couple of other people until most of our group left because I did not want to be embarrassed if I could not hold on long enough but it was a lot of fun!!

Finally after a lot of walking we reached one of the ruins. It was amazing to finally see them up close and to touch them and actually be able to climb them. It was incredible to just be in the presence of structures that were years and years old.

We got to climb this ruin behind me and even though it does not look tall it actually was!! Anathony and I were the first ones up there!

If you remove the top brick of this structure it won't fall apart!

After some more walking we actually walked over to the tallest ruin in South America, according to our tour guide and when we go to the top I could see over the trees. I could actually see the top of the trees. At first there was some fog but after a while the fog moved a way and far in the distance we could see that there was more ruins that stuck out far above the trees. During the time there our tour guide asked if anyone would like to make a call and so I called my father! HE was very excited for me and told me to take lots of pictures so he could see, to which I said of course.
Almost at the top!

I was soo excited to be there!!

And one more picture of me

Finally after the fog cleared we could see the rest of the ruins

We were bold enough to take a jumping picture!

One our way out of the park, this is a picture of the ruin we were on top of in the previous pictures

It turned out to be a great day and a great tour despite the lack of sleep! On our way out it was dark and I got bit by 1 mosquito which was a great accomplishment. But I also made sure to put more Deet on.

When we were finally out of the park we were all starving and out tour guide recommended that we eat at one of his friends restaurants instead of at the hotels because he said they could really use the money. When we got there the place seemed fine, but they took forever to make our food and serve it to us. Actually people were done with their meals and our table had not been served. To make matter worse once we were all getting ready to leave and were paying we say a huge and I mean HUGE rat scurry out from the kitchen. It was so gross. Nora said that it was not in the kitchen that because this place did not have walls like the rest the rat probably just ran though. I don't know I just know I was really grossed out, I don't like rats/mice/hamster at all they creep me out and are really nasty to me.

After our meal we all headed back for a late night swim, I swam for like 20 minutes and the showered and went to bed I was super exhausted!! I was supposed to actually go back after my shower and wait for our tour guide so that we could go look for a Jaguar but I could not stay up. At 10PM I woke up from my sleep to Christina's screams that the lights went out while she was showering. It was hilarious but I was too tired to help her so Danny helped her out I think.

The next day we were up again by 5:30AM and got ready to head out for another tour. Again we showered ourselves in Deet and OFF to keep the mosquitoes away I did not want to get bitten because I had seen some of the other girls and they had too many bites. I was also not taking my malaria pills so I did not want to catch malaria.

Even though it was super early I was excited to continue the tour because the night before we had passed by the main plaza, which we would be visiting today and so I was excited!! During this tour we mainly walked until we came to our first attraction which was a ruin that was gigantic and then we climbed up these wooden stairs to the top where we took pictures.

A Map of Tikal, just incase we got lost I took a picture!

You wouldn't believe it but with my strength I split the tree and was holding it apart! haha

The stairs we had to climb
At the top!!

The white flower that you can barely see, only blooms once a year and today was that day!!!

The Christmas Card Picture like our tour guide called it

Nora and her favorite students, Danny and Me!!!

Clara and I, Clara was afraid of heights but she conquered her fear!!!

Michelle wanted a picture too I was honored!!

We could see the top of the trees again!!

It was soo easy to fall, that Michelle and I were the only bold ones enough to take a jumping picture!

Once we were down from the ruin, which by the way we had to climb down the stairs the same way we climbed up, we all saw a big spider. It was a little scary that in Guatemala all of the bugs are huge!!! But this was a 7 legged huge spider! Our tour guide actually tried to catch it with his are hands, and everyone flipped out. The spider was also unique in the sense that it did not crawl but jumped instead that just threw everyone off and everyone screamed and ran away.
As we were searching for a glimpse of the howling monkeys which sound like dinosaurs by the way, I found, well actually Danny found this hobbit's home as we like to call it. It was in the middle of the ground, there was a door and it was locked and I really wish we could have gone inside and seen what was in there.
It was a little sad to take the picture below because it made me upset that people really think that inside of a tree is where the garbage goes. As you can see this tree log was hollow and people put in there their plastic bottles, styrefoam cups, paper bags and chip bags. Sad that they couldn't just put it in their backpacks and throw it away later but they just disposed of it in Nature, which is not fair because nature didn't create these things so it doesn't know how to dispose of them. So PLEASE STOP RUINING THE PLANET AND PUT YOUR TRASH IN A TRASH CAN!!!!!!!

We finally found the holler monkeys

After a little more walking we finally made it to the plaza, where we all went nuts taking picture. I climbed one of the ruins and the view was breathtaking. Our trip there was cu ery short though because we had to go but nonetheless it was great!!

Christina & Me=BFFs
Danny is a great photographer! This Particular Ruin Plays a role in the Calendar

When people think of Tikal they often think about this particular ruin!
It was way too bright so my face is funny!
We finally all head home exhausted but completely satisfied with our trip! I had such an amazing time and learned so much and saw much more than what is in these pictures and honestly no picture in the world could capture everything I saw and how truly beautiful it was!

Danny & I by the plane heading back to Guatemala, City

I would like to give a special shout out and Thank You to the school of International Studies at Pacific who funded my trip to Tikal!

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