At 02:30 the Unicorns of my alarm that goes off are telling us to wake up, so we crawl out of bed and head down to the lobby. Our driver is exactly on time. After 2 more stops, our group is complete. To our luck, he asks us if everyone got their extra 250 GTQ (33.40 USD) for the entry and the guide. Hmm, noone had told us. There is an ATM on our way though. Just before we get to Tikal, Luis, our guide joins us. A very energetic, fun guy. At the entry he already starts talking about the jungle animals, plants… and lots more. He could really be Steve Irwins long-lost brother – a true nature guy.
There are a lot of hazard-signs on our way to Tikal: Pumas, snakes, anteaters, turkeys… I drink the first Irish Cream Coffee I took with me – I still feel half-asleep. We switch on our torches and start walking to the temple area (I really love my new Fenix-torch: The moment I switch it on, everyone in front turns around, surprised. A small gizmo, but with almost the brightness of a spotlight ). There are 7 different temples. We are going to see the sunrise from temple #4. We pass temple #1 and #3 which is totally overgrown and reach temple #2. Here, we switch off our torches and Luis tells us a story about the former residents of this area. Unfortunately, my mind can just grasp “King Chocolate” at this time of the day.
On our way to temple #4 we wake up some howler monkeys in the trees above us. The T-Rex soundeffect from Jurassic Park? Thats right. Those guys here! After climbing over roots and going through bushes be arrive at temple #4. Now that was exhausting. Some endless steps later, we arrive at the top of the pyramid. It sure is worth it though. Meanwhile, it began to drizzle. Slowly, temple #1, #5 and #2 appear through the fog… and disappear again. You can just guess where the sun is, though all the mist. It starts to rain a little. Too bad. But it still is a really intense atmosphere. “Tikal” means “Place of sound/echo” – and this sure nails it. The absolute silence of the night starts to be replaced by birdsounds. Some howler monkey shouts in between. I guess George Lucas had the right idea by chosing this location for the rebel base in Episode IV .
All the temples are built in symmetry to each other. Various astronomic constellations also had some influece in this. The positioning of the pyramids is responsible for an interesting echo-effect here. If you happen to clap your hands, the sounds gets reflected and returns from 3 different locations, making the echo sound like a quacking duck. After a while, we descend from temple #4 and make our way to temple #5. We make a break at a termite hill. Luis grabs some of the termites, and encourages our group to follow his example. “Tastes like carrots” – a few try them. The confirmation of our group is enough for me, I decided to not like carrots today. Meanwhile it started raining badly, and it’s getting slippery. We climb up to temple #5. A great view . My fear of heights is now fully active though. Getting to the top is easier than getting down again .
Since the park attendant is not here, we can also climb up to temple #1, which is actually not allowed. Some awesome view, yes – yet, it starts raining even worse now. Everything is getting slippery. I have a hard time getting down without falling. But even the ground under my feet is not that secure – on the way to temple #2 I slip quite badly and hit my left big toe. Shit, damn. I bite my teeth and go on limping the rest of road – I think my shoes are not made for slippery ground. Nevertheless, we still climb on temple #2, discover a tarantula nest and visit the Necropolis and the Acropolis next.
The Sun Temple
At the Sun Temple Luis shows us once again the echo effect by the 4 surrounding buildings. We climb on the highest one. After all, the stones started getting dry again and we are rewarded with the view of some Spider Monkeys on the tree next to the temple. After our descend from the Sun Temple we go to grab a bite at the nearby restaurant.
Everywone seems to be exhausted. We chatter a little with a group of 3 Scots about itineraries. They are halmost having the same itinerary as us, yet travelling in the different direction. As we talk about scuba diving in Caye Caulker and the Manatees (cute, chubby, clumsy and very short-sighted) we conclude by our comparison to pandas: “Manatees are the pandas of the sea”. We fill out stomaches and have a look at our watch: Almost 11 am. We are waiting for the bus. Unfortunately, it starts to rain again. Well, now it is too late to get back to the restaurant. As Luis joins our group again, we see the bus approaching. Somehow, contrary to everyone else, I’m wide awake now. Almost everyone seems tired – more than half of us are asleep on the way back.
The first thing to do in Flores is get in the shower. My toe started getting blue-ish… purple-ish and I can not move it. Damn . But it doesn’t seem broken. Since Verena needs some sleep, I have a short walk through Flores – now it’s sunny.
Back at the hotel I have a power nap too before we have a stroll through the island together. After a little shopping for tomorrow we end up in the same restaurant as yesterday. As usual, everything is delicious. We do some light painting at the balcony of our hotel and go to bed afterwards.