Tikal arch site, and more travel troubles - Central America - CycleBlaze

December 20, 2022

Tikal arch site, and more travel troubles

Today was off the bike completely, as I wanted to visit Tikal Mayan site. I had paid yesterday for a 5:30am shuttle ride there and then back and the hotel host told me to wait out front beginning at 5:15.  I'm always up early anyway, so that was no problem.  I was out by 5:10 actually and waited, and waited, and waited.  Another local girl came up about 5:25 who was  waiting as well who worked at Tikal as a guide.  About 5:45 and now bus still, and the girl was getting nervous since she had a 7:00 tour (it is an hour drive).  She and another local shop person were making some phone calls and texts and it sounded like our bus was to be here at 6:30.  Another couple came up here from a hotel down a side street saying their bus did not come to their hotel either, so they thought they'd walk over to my hotel which is on the major road.  He was originally from Guatemala, but lived in the US for a while, and his daughter (looked like around ~20 yo) lived in England.  We all talked about how frustrating this was and the young worked girl (didn't get her name) was getting very worried now.  She flagged down a local van with some other laborer-type workers at about 6:15 and said the driver could take us all for 30Q ea (about $2), so we took this sure bet.  

It was like a Ford Econoline but imagine that has been Guatemala for a while, that they squeezed in four bench seats, and two captain chairs - so 2 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 4 = 15 seats, and there was only about 12 of us.  As we travelled down the road though, the driver stopped at several stops to put up a few people and some large ice chests.  I watched this older man throw these heavy ice chests on his back/shoulder/neck and balanced that as he climbed the small ladder attached to the van to put on the roof.  It was incredible that he was able to balance those, just like the girl yesterday balancing the 5-gal bucket on her head!  Soon we were at 19 people in this van - in a van designed for 15.  It was extremely crowded and I felt bad for everyone else that the four of us joined them and made it that way.  Hopefully, it would not be long now to the park though.  But wait - another stop - now we have 20 in this van!  There are three people standing right at the sliding door entrance, and two others crowded around the driver.  It is impossible to add another person in this van.  We all hold our breath and keep moving, hoping the park is soon.  Hold on though, one more stop!  21 people in here now!  It totally looks like a Guatemalan clown van now!  Eventually we arrive and all spill out.  Or maybe explode out.  

The rest of the walking around the park was incredible and I'll let the pictures below speak for themselves.  The park was huge - like Disneyland.  You could probably spend a couple days there.

My ticket said the return was at 12:30, so I left the park early not knowing where or when exactly my original van was going to come, or what it looked like, so I had some breakfast at the restaurant and was lucky enough to find a cab for the way back, which was another whole experience.  He stopped a couple times to get out and push on some part of the front of the body of his car, as I think the bumps were causing it to fall apart.

When I got back, I told the host at the hotel my story, and he refunded my ride ticket price, so that was nice.

While I was out working on my bike outside my room, a delightful  young lady in another room near me came up to start talking.  She is from Germany, and said she was down here when she was about 18, fell in love with the area and sites, and so went to school and got a PhD in Mayan Hieroglyphics.  She has seen every site in Mexico and Central America!  This is her farewell tour of many of the sites (she looks over 70 yo).  She invited me to dinner, so I need to finish this post so we can go out and share stories!

Check out the distance times between the different temples and structures
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Some of the structures had stairs going up, as the rocks were very steep and slippery with moss 0 even dry.
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A coatimundi chillin'
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more coatimundi
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baby coatimundies
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I'm not sure what kind of bird this are, but they were big and pretty!
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Scott AndersonOcellated turkeys. Tikal is the only place we’ve seen these.
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1 month ago
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Recognize this scene from Star Wars IV?
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No Millennium Falcon today.
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The Force is strong in this area.
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Giant leaves
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This place is so huge - you hike around here for hours, and then see things like this within the trees!
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My breakfast break at Tikal - some kind of scrambled eggs with rice, with beans on the side and fried plantains. Yum.
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