Tikal

Trip Start Sep 25, 2007
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17
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Trip End Dec 20, 2007


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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, November 19, 2007

Flores doesn't have all that much to offer, but Tikal really is fantastic.  We signed up for the sunrise bus which means leaving at 3 am and making your way up to the top of Temple IV  I  think.  Tikal dates from the 4th century BC and the highest temple is 70 m tall.  There are a couple of masks depicting the long nosed deity still in place and also some alters at some ruins.  The 2 museums outside are very interesting, one contains the artifacts unearthed with the Chocolate king-- beautifully illustrated bones, jade jewellery and bowls.  When the Spanish arrived they thought that the people were very blood thirsty as they mistook the red streams flowing from the temples with blood.  Historians now believe that this was in fact only the dye they used for their artwork...camillo or something.  But they were a little blood thirsty!  I managed to cover every inch of the place and didn't leave until the last bus at 6.  The ruins are set in the jungle and I managed to see lots of wildlife--ocetal turkeys, toucans, spider monkeys, acoutis...and we heard lots of howler monkeys at sunrise.  Unfortunately we didnīt get to actually see the sun rise as it was too foggy but it was still pretty cool to hear the jungle wake up.  I spent most of the day with Fernando from Chile which was really nice- boys love climbing and ignoring rules!  And we also got to chat with a caretaker who told us about the murals in the tunnels which are elaborately decorated with jade teeth and earrings...unfortunately off limits to us though.  He is also of the Mayan religion and believed that none of the Mayan people who had occupied the city were actually dead and that he could tell the past and future among other things.  A really great day.
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