It is a warm Thursday afternoon, and we are all lounging at the internet cafe in Flores. The weather this week has been much cooler, so we have been enjoying the sun without sweltering in the humidity.
Last Saturday, we took a weekend trip to Tikal. We piled into a van in the morning and headed off. Along the way, we stopped at the fantastic Maxi Bodega to pick up some groceries – lots of bread, lots of peanut butter, lots of jelly. The ride there seemed pretty short and uneventful, except for when we came across an enormous herd of cattle in the road. Some of us snapped pictures as the (real, live) cowboys tried to move the herd along, so ask about the cow photos.
When we arrived at Tikal, we settled ourselves under some trees and had a pincic lunch of pb&j; sammies. Then, we worked out sleeping arrangements and headed to the Jaguar Inn to put our backpacks and groceries away. We doused eachother in bug spray and sunscreen, and headed for the ruins.
The structures of Tikal are spread all over the jungle. We would walk through the forest for ten or twenty minutes before coming across these unbelievable displays of stone and cement. Some were just crumbling remains, piles of rubble being taken over by the moss. But every so often we would stumble upon these enormous temples, wondering how they could still be standing after so many years. Some had ladders up the sides, for those who are brave enough to climb the practically vertical ascent. We snagged a perfect group picture at the top of one, so we will try to post it soon.
In the evening, we meandered back to the Jaguar Inn, had some dinner, and tucked in early. At four the next morning, we lazily made the trek up to one of the structures. The rain was dripping of the leaves above our heads, and we stayed contendedly silent as we followed the beams that our flashlights made. Then, we climbed the endless wooden steps to the very top and settled in among the dark. More people joined us – a group of Dutch travelers, some from Israel. We watched the mist seep across the trees and listened as the monkeys howled to each other from across the jungle. We never actually saw the sun come up, but we enjoyed watching the clouds turn from black to gray.
Tomorrow is our last day of language school in San Andres. On Saturday, we will pile back into another van and spend a weekend in Coban. Next week, we will be working alongside Peace Corps volunteers in the mountains. We will be in homestay houses with no electricity, so no e-mails or blog updates. But we all love and miss you guys at home, and we will talk to you again soon!
Week Two in San Andres