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Bats and midnight hiking

GUATEMALA | Monday, 16 March 2009 | Views [1350] | Comments [1]

Boat Trip and Mayan Ruins

A group of us left Belize together and headed to Guatemala.

Renee and Andrew: hilarious Canadians who remember every funny line from every funny film ever written

Alexis: fashion designer who should be a comedian, made me laugh constantly

Paul: has the best job working on a boat for a Stringfellow kind of guy, has brilliant stories

Benny: smooth with the ladies Hungarian who I think had a different girl in every town we stayed!

Martin: brilliant Swedish guy, seems quiet but comes out with the best one-liners ever...

So anyway we stayed in Flores for a couple of nights. The first day we took a boat to the 'beach'. We swam in the lake for a couple of hours and then were picked up again. The only problem was that the guy broke his engine. We ended up in the middle of this huge lake with a broken engine, no oars and no radio system. Shit. We were f?*!ed... we floated around for a bit wondering what to do, and why he wouldn't have any emergency oars and then he managed to get the engine running a tiny bit, turned the boat backwards and the 15 minute ride back took over an hour. But we got back, that's the most important thing.

The next day we went to the Mayan ruins of Tikal. We didn't want to take the tour guide from out bus, consequently he hated us for the rest of the day. I don't know what the big problem was, we wanted to see the ruins in our own time...anyway they were my favourite ruins...surrounded by jungle with lots of interesting animals wandering around. We saw some brilliant monkeys close by and other animals whose names I have forgotten...the park rangers became our guides for a bit too, so we didn't need the annoying guide with his weird American accent and huge attitude problem!

We spent 8 hours walking around, chatting, seeing the sites and listening to the sounds of the jungle, then crawled back to the bus.

Beautiful Guatemala

After Flores we headed off to Lanquin in a very 'cosy' minibus. We shared this with a couple of other guys, one being Tom from Sweden. He seemed OK for most of the ride but when we stopped in a town to get some food we ended up alone (the only vegetarians) and then I realised he's actually a bit strange. I quickly found the others and we continued on our journey. On arriving at the hostel we were all pleasantly surprised. The dorms were cabanas surrounded by green grass with a river running by... beautiful and tranquil. They also had a cow which made it for me.

While there we visited Semuc Champey - a stunning group of blue-green fresh water pools. Heaven. We had a brilliant day here swimming with the boys being boys and jumping off every rock they saw. After we went to the bridge and while they all jumped off it I realised I should represent the girls and I jumped off too - very exhilarating, like the bungy but with no rope... AGGH! :) We took our truck back through the mountains and returned for the all you can eat buffet - could life get better than this?

Another great place there was the Lanquin cave. In the evening we explored the cave and then waited in the entrance for the bats to exit at sunset. Millions of bats flew past us in a constant stream...I could feel the air from their flapping wings as they whizzed past my head! This was an amazing experience I will never forget. I don't think I'll ever see so many bats all at once in my life ever again.

Cross - dressing and a disgusting boy.

One night at Lanquin was designated 'Ladies' Night' were all the girls get an extra 2 for 1 Happy Hour. The other condition for this was that any man dressed as a girl also received the same. The boys seemed reluctant at first but once the fancy dress box came out there was no stopping them - Benny in a sexy dress, Martin in a lacy green corset and skirt...they looked brilliant. We all had a fantastic night but the boys seemed to enjoy being girls too much hmmm...

The next night was a quiet one for me. We had the buffet again and went to bed. When I woke up the next day the people in the dorm next to us told me what happened in the night. If you're eating it might be wise to read this after.

At around 3 a.m one guy woke up to see a guy roaming around the room naked. He didn't really want to see anymore and so turned the other way and fell back asleep. Someone else woke up to hear the guy being sick but for some strange reason didn't do anything about it. When everyone started to stir in the morning they began to smell something horrific. The guy had been sick all over one of the girl's bags and ALL her clothes too (yuk) and had somehow mistaken the dorm for a toilet. Yes. For number 2. He 'took a dump' right in the middle of the room. To add insult to injury he stole 250 pounds from a girl's purse and wiped his bum with one of her receipts! When I asked if they knew who it was they said that all they knew was his name: Tom and that he was from Sweden. By the time they woke up he had gone. Noooooooooo Tom from Sweden! I had even spoken to him that morning before he left! If only I knew. We arrived on the bus with him only a few days before and he was going to stay in our dorm. The only reason he didn't was that the receptionist realised there was already one person in the room and therefore no space for all of us, so he slept next door. I was so grateful that he didn't stay with us but felt very bad for the bunch of people who had to deal with that. What a big loser. Who would do all of that? I'm still confused today but will never forget Tom from Sweden.

Midnight Volcano Hike

We arrived in San Pedro which was a chilled out village by the beautiful lake (Lago Atitlan). Unfortunately we all got bed bug bites from our first night there and Paul got them in the new hostel on the second night. We left for Xela the next day by tuk tuk and chicken bus. The chicken buses are old American school buses, decorated elaborately by each owner and generally named after the owner's wife, like'' Lulita''. They are EVERYWHERE in Guatemala. They're cheap but also many thefts occur on them with armed men often shooting the driver before stealing from the passengers. We saw a few gunshot holes through the windows which didn't really fill us with confidence - but that's Guatemala.

Anyway (I'm not there now mum so don't panic). We arrived in Xela and decided to climb the volcano Santa Maria that evening. We rushed around the markets and bought cool 80s style jackets from a second hand market stool. The looked awesome and ready to climb!

I've never been so cold in my life!

We were picked up at midnight and started climbing around 1 a.m. It was one of the toughest hikes I've done (including Everest Base Camp and Macchu Pitchu). The climb was so steep and the air seemed to disappear. I'm not sure where it went. Renee was like Mr. Motivator up at the front whereas Lex and I struggled to find this elusive ''air'' substance. It seemed to last forever, almost everyone in the group fell over at least once in the slippery mud but eventually we reached the top. What a FANTASTIC feeling :) Then we had to wait for over an hour in the freezing cold for the sunrise NOOOOOOOOOOO! Paul said he was suicidal. We sat huddled together under the ONE sleeping bag we had cleverly decided to bring?! Why not 4 damn it! After an hour the guide decides to tell us that he can make a fire - after an hour, really???? Great. It turns out he's actually shit and Paul ended up making the fire. This was a bit of a comfort but actually it was more smoke going in our eyes than anything... well we tried.

Finally the sun rose over the volcanoes and we realised that our blue lips were worth it. What a stunning sight. There were pinks and purples in the sky and a smoking volcano in the distance...then we watched the one next to us erupt!

Fantastic! It was all worth it. We started the hike back down slowly regaining the feeling in our toes and fingers :)

Hottest Bath in Guatemala!

The next day we went to the huge market San Francisco. This was very local with the usual hustle and bustle of a market, new smells and sites, new food to try. A very interesting morning apart form the cows heads. I was not impressed by this but am trying to erase it from my memory - only a few Mojitos to go and it will be gone. Later we visited the hot springs. This was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! After the numerous freezing showers in in cold climate to actually feel HOT water is indescribable. At first it felt too hot even; my legs started to sting... but as I submerged my whole body a felt a blanket of cosy warmth. We stayed for a few hours enjoying the heat then dragged ourselves out of the water, re-emerging as human prunes. What a great day.

The next day we took the chicken bus back to San Pedro.




Hi I enjoyed reading this! I'm going on the 24th March and stuck as to what kind of sleeping bag to buy.
2 season Light weight with mosquito net built in.. or something heavier but a bit warmer. Will be doing a fe hike so was glad to hear someone who trekked unprepared survived!

  Steve Mar 1, 2010 5:39 AM



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