Dag terug Hoofdpagina Taal: nl Dag vooruit

Dag 14: Tikal and transfer to Belize

Guatemala - Friday 3 December 1999

We sleep in until 6.00 am! Well, it's still early, of course, but compared to the past days, it's immensely comfortable. Today, we're heading back to the ruins of Tikal, wanting to be there before the buses of day-trippers arrive.

We have breakfast at a small restaurant across the entrance. Everyone is still very sleepy.

We have a friendly guide, though not particularly captivating in his narration. He does know and see all the birds and animals, and that's what he talks most interestingly about.

It's quite a climb up!

There are lots of monkeys in the trees here. Especially from the higher temples, you can see them very well!

Not only are there many monkeys, but also other creatures. I have no idea what they are called; we don't have them at home. They're a kind of cross between a squirrel and a raccoon. They come quite cutely towards you but might snatch your bag if you're not careful!

When we arrive at temples 1 and 2 (the most famous ones), it's already quite crowded, but it's still very beautiful. Of course, we all want a photo from the top.

We have lunch at the same restaurant where we had breakfast. The owner prepares a delicious meal with rice, meat, and vegetables, for just a few quetzals. Thankfully, we're almost out of money!

From here, we travel on to Belize. At the border, it's chaos again, but different from the Mexican border. Here, there are mostly a lot of money changers. Gail advises us to exchange currency on the Belize side, also because bribes might be asked at customs. The exchange rate is equally good on both sides of the border. It's said that the rate here is better than at the bank. Later, it turns out to be true.

Prior to our arrival, Gail mentioned it would cost us 10 quetzals to get out of Guatemala, as a bribe. This time, I protest. Official border and airport taxes are fine, but a bribe seems like a problem of GAP. Gail is again annoyed and says we can try crossing the border ourselves. I tell her it's about the principle, that it's her job to help us cross the border properly.

Once we're out of Guatemala, we get our bribe back. Gail says it was a lot of trouble for her, but she didn't have to pay. I remain somewhat doubtful about this, but okay.

This time, we're staying at a nature center in the countryside near the border. They use rainwater for the shower; the toilet is a hole in the ground, and we sleep in small huts in the field. It's more primitive than we're used to, but I find it very enjoyable!

The restaurant's cook prepares an "authentic Maya meal." It's very tasty, even though we're not very hungry. The main course is a meat and bell pepper roll in banana plant leaves. As dessert, we get delicious homemade cookies!

Although it's primitive here, we can still watch videos. We watch Monty Python's "Meaning of Life." Very enjoyable.

The starry sky is beautiful here. I remain breathless looking at it for about fifteen minutes.


Dag terug Hoofdpagina Taal: nl Dag vooruit