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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.

Flores and Tikal

GUATEMALA | Thursday, 15 May 2008 | Views [1625]

Tell me that isn't impressive

Tell me that isn't impressive

I opted for a flight from Guatemala city to Flores - i didn't fancy the 10 - 12 hours on the bus this time.  As i step off the plane the heat slams into me - 90+F and the humidity to match.  I will now sweat non-stop for the next 2 days, I've become adjusted to my high altitude escape called Xela.  Damn, i need to get that place out of my head, and enjoy where i am.

Deep in the jungle, still partially covered in vegetation, surrounded by birds and animals, Tikal is an impressive site and worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage status.  It's hard to believe that the Maya and their magnificent structures were around from 700BC to 900AD in this area - before mysteriously 'collapsing'.  It's hard to get a feeling of where everything is, and the scale of the place - there's just so much jungle everywhere.  I'd opted for a guide for once, and although he proves to be a smart, intelligible and informative young man, most of what he says washes right over my head and in between my ears.  I should have done my usual, and spent the day soaking up the feel of the place.  Even our noisy group sees lots of birds, a grey fox and several pisotes - raccoon looking things.  This is a place worth seeing more than once.

I'd based myself in Flores, a small sort of island in a lake that is linked to the mainland by a thin causeway.  It's an attractive tourist town, full of cobbled streets, colourful houses, gift shops and places selling tours.  Tuk-tuks zoom up and down the winding lanes and there is always someone nearby who can 'help' a tourist.  This isn't a bad place to be, just an expensive, slightly characterless and overly commercial one.  A pity because Flores was once one of the last Maya ceremonial strongholds - untouched by the Spanish until the end of the 17th century - then the Spanish destroyed just about everything.  Us conquering countries have a lot to answer for.

 

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