Friday, September 7, 2012

Ancient History, Volume XXVII

Previously, I discovered a sad lack of pirates in the Caribbean off the coast of Guatemala. The following day, we were up at the ungodly hour of 5am. After a nutritious breakfast of orange juice and tortillas (seriously), we were on the bus by 6am for the one and a half hour drive to Tikal. Upon arrival, we had half an hour to stretch our legs, which seemed REALLY pointless, considering we were about to spend several hours walking around awesome ruins, but apparently my "OMG MY ARCHAEOLOGY NERD SELF CAN'T COPE CAN WE JUST *GO*?????" pleas were overruled.

Eventually, the tour started and we were less than thrilled to discover that Tikal is basically overrun with enormous and very bitey mosquitoes. (Public service announcement: never Google "giant mosquito". You will give yourself the heebiejeebies) Suit Pants, a tour leader in training (who dressed almost exclusively in cheap suit pants bought from op shops/thrift stores for $5 and cut off at the knee) who was travelling with us for half of the trip, decided that it would be an awesome idea to swat the mosquitoes with his metal water bottle. That lasted right up until around the time he swung vigorously, missed his leg, and whacked himself in the groin instead.

ANYWAY. We started out with a visit to Group G, which - according to Wikipedia - dates to the late Classic period and consists of palace structures. Mostly, I thought it was SUPER AWESOME SAUCE.

After a mosey around there, it was off to Temple V, which you can climb. The view from the top was pretty spectacular, but the seven flights of fifteen stairs that were so steep you had to climb them like a ladder was less than enjoyable!
Temple V

Wheeeeeee, stairs.

The view from the top

From there, we headed to the main plaza. On the way, I became intrigued by the restoration technique being implemented by a work crew - hack apart bits of rock with a machete until they were roughly the shape you wanted, then throw they to the next bloke in line, who would add mortar and apply it to the building. Bizarre!! We stopped off at Temple IV on the way to the plaza, which had a pretty nifty view too:
Somewhere in there is an entire ruined city

Then it was on to the plaza for badly taken group photos (I got cut off the edge in all of mine) and a quick wander around on our own. I basically ran around like a lunatic, taking photos of anything and everything I could find:
Main plaza and Jaguar Temple

I have no idea what this is. But it's cool.

Stela in the main plaza

Temple II

View of the main plaza and temples

From there, it was back to the bus and, after a quick bite of lunch, the two hour drive to the border with Belize. Hey Australia and New Zealand? Did you know that in South and Central America, it's perfectly normal to WALK ACROSS AN INTERNATIONAL BORDER????

I did not, and it blew my mind. I guess when you can't get to another country without crossing hours and hours of water, these things just don't occur to you! Anyway, we walked across the border into Belize, because the bus was only licenced in Guatemala, and then had a 45 minute car trip to San Ignacio.

Aaaaaaaaand once there, it took approximately five minutes in (English speaking) Belize for me to forget all the Spanish I'd managed to learn in the previous four weeks. Well done, me. Well done.

Next up, spelunking with skeletons and snorkelling with manta rays and manatees!

K xx

6 comments:

  1. A ruined city in the forest! How fantastic!

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  2. Please tell me someone was reacting Indiana Jones?

    Also are there more official names of these things - Temple IV seems...boring considering how spectactular it is.

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    Replies
    1. I did spend quite a bit of time wishing I had a fedora. But sadly(?) there were no ancient booby traps, and therefore no running away from giant boulders. Shame...

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  3. Giant bitey mosquitoes!
    Cut-off suit pants!
    Self-inflicted groinage pain!
    Steep temple stairs!
    Pretty temples!

    EVERYTHING.

    Love the Ancient History series, it kicketh ass.

    xoxo

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    Replies
    1. The self inflicted groinage pain would somehow have been far more satisfying if it had been Arizona Boy and not Suit Pants who was the recipient. But still!! And thank you <3

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