Sunday, April 30, 2017

Guatemala country # 3

We tried to see some resorts in Belize (monkey) but all were closed . We were in front of the tourist season. I'd read online that Belize city was a hot spot for robberies and gun point confrontations. We chose to skip the coastal area for this reason. The above monkey is at Tikal, where we saw and heard numerous monkeys.We arrived on 10/04, which to me seemed like it was supposed to be a day of importance, but couldn't remember why.
No crowds to speak of, and we actually had the place to ourselves.We spent 7 days in Guatemala and didn't even scratch the surface.This was another country I'd read could be very dangerous.
We climbed 6 stories of stairs to get this view in Tikal.
Below is an Ocillated Turkey at Tikal.
Cool roots and slippery when wet. Huh Stacie?
Another species of bird we saw up around where the few vendors hung out.
Large rodent in Tikal.

Below is a termite nest.

It was hot and humid, and after climbing all those stairs I was to say the least winded!
Stacie flapping her wings , probably needs some deodorant.
Our comfy bed in our lodge. We were given an upgrade and it was greatly appreciated.
 The Jungle Lodge bed was very comfortable and the mosquito net ensured we could get a good nights rest without being eaten alive.
It was about this time I remembered what 10/04 is, our anniversary! Enjoying a fine Cuban cigar.
Our lodge was located only a few minute walk from the foot path up to the ruins.

Semuc Champay located East of La Blanca, was a fun time. We had to ride from the upper mountains all the way down into the valley and it was quite tiring and stressful. First we had been riding all day in the heat and humidity, not to mention rain, as we began our descent. The road was rough, and quite a challenge. We made it, and immediately ordered a few shots of tequila.
We joined a supported tour for our first days adventure. This was a view point that we hiked, for I don't know how many miles, to see the seven turquoise pools. We then hiked down and swam in each of those beautiful pools. 
Sweaty, hot, and happy. After lunch we participated in the cave exploration. They gave you a candle to light your way. At times the water was above your head. Using a guide rope to stay above water with your candle high in the air using the free hand. The craziest part was on the return route you came to a hole in the cave. A guide told you to sit on his leg/lap, give him your candle, and then you were dropped into a black hole of water. Stacie remarked it was like a turd being flushed. She was dead on.
After this, we then floated part of the river and a bunch of local indigenous children threw their floats in with coolers. " You want to buy a beer?" it was hilarious.
This young lady was selling home made chocolate . I bought a disc and it was tasty. They spoke English as well as any of us. A boy ten years of age told us "In the morning, I go to school. I learn English, and my native language. In the afternoon, I sell beer."
The bridge crossing the river before going up a steep hill to the Semuc Lodge.
I think this speaks for itself.
Below, a view of the valley as we were departing en route to Antigua.
This is Tikal.
In Antigua we followed a guy to this Hostal. They had us park in the lobby .
On the Hostal rooftop my best friend enjoying a glass of wine. We had a great view of the volcanoes from here.
Below, this is how most places heat their hot water for shower's. Now that doesn't mean you'll have hot water.
Everywhere are young people back packing from all over the globe. Met a lot of French who disapproved of America's fixation with gun's. Good thing we had them to rescue their asses in the war!
Stacie remarked , I don't think there was a church that we passed without me snapping a photo. I'm sure I missed a few.
 Every floral designer would stop and admire this display.
Below, there were numerous floats depicting the crucifixion of Jesus. behind a locked gate. They would have parades during Holy Week, with these and more.
Vendors selling trinkets,souvenirs,and anything that tourists would buy.

Don't know why they are all dressed up but their masks were cool.
Watching mom prepare food.
The buses in Guatemala are quite extravagant and quite impressive.
Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes, Agua, Fuego, Acatenango. To ride into the town itself, you had to go over numerous passes, and the semi trucks made this a slow ordeal. At times we would pass 3-5 trucks on the uphill route, and pray for no oncoming traffic. The town of Antigua, is a National Heritage Site.
The markets are an adventure in themselves. I just can't for the life of me want to eat or buy a chicken that has been out in the heat and humidity all day.
I'm a car guy , you have to wonder, how it handles?
Below, picking up some fresh cigars.
In most of the towns on our adventure the roads were mostly cobblestone and rough.
Veggies,veggies and more veggies.
Fruit,fruit,and more fruit. The markets had everything under the moon and more .They were like a city, mall in themselves.