Tikal, Guatemala
17° 13' N 89° 37' W
May 14, 2010 16:58
Distance 0km

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Sunrise at Tikal, tour and back to Flores

The alarm wakes us up out of a deep sleep and we fumble about in the dark to get ready (no electricity until 6am, which would be too late for sunrise!) Strange, disturbing noises are comining from the jungle as we walk closer. We are escorted by guides to Temple IV to watch the sunrise. The noise was apparently Howler monkeys that are very small.. Sounded like some huge monster to us!

Making the climb up the temple again was just as tiring but when we get to the top there are only four people there so very quiet. The view was still wonderful but a little more cloud tha the day before. We relax here and let it all sink in. The next step is to head out of the jungle again to get out tour guide.

The tour of Tikal takes around 3.5 hours. It is worth it to get an idea of the history of what happened here and also to spot any animals that are about. Our tour guide is César, he is very knowledgeable but a little difficult to understand at times since he speaks quickly and with one of those Latino-American accents. We were told it would be Q50 for the tour, but he charged us Q100.

We learn that at when the city was in use, the jungle would have been completely cut back (making it even more hot and humid) and the temples coloured a deep red colour (from the tree resin). This must have looked a sight from afar: Huge red temples glinting in the distance.  Limestone was used as the building blocks for the temples covered in a resin to seal in the water. We heard tales of sacrifices, ritual blood letting and King-Gods getting high on hallucinogens at the tops of the temples to be closer to the Gods. I think I would be worried that I would fall out of my temple! The steps are incredibly steep and they would have been covered in heavy jewels. They used a lot of jade and obsidian in tools and jewelry. As a king you would have had statues of yourself with offering plinth where people would offer themselves, objects of desire and even poor orphans!!  The orphans were at least drugged/sedated as they had their hearts ripped out before the public, but it still struck us as a little barbaric and like these thugs had their dues coming to them...

 The reason these huge cities became deserted?  Well it appeared that all the tree-chopping. limestone burning and so on created vast hot cities and the water ran out, so everyone left. At least that was the theory César was expounding.

After the tour we are completely knackered! We go back to the hotel to pack, check out, eat (beans, tortilla, chilli, avocado combo) and relax until our transport leaves at 12.30pm. When we arrive back in Flores we manage to get a few things done. We get a tuktuk to the market and get our flipflops, go search of coco frío (cold coconut water).. No luck. We have an ice cream and flop to bed for a few hours. 

Feeling better after a snooze I write my postcards and am ready for dinner. There are plenty of places to eat here but mostly completly devoid of any customers. I spy a burrito place that I saw earlier on and suggest there for dinner. We have a chicken and a meat burrito which were pretty good. Both stuffed to the brim with avocado, meat, beans and cheese. Just what we needed. We go to the supermarket for water and there is a 12 year old in fatigues looking nervous holding a large shot gun! With postcards sorted we have an early night as we are off on the 6am bus!

Photos / videos of "Sunrise at Tikal, tour and back to Flores":

Just sound so turn the sound up for this - the sound of the birds before sunrise at Tikal Just sound - the Howler monkeys sounded like something from The Predator as we walked through the jungle before sunrise [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] Just sound so turn the sound up for this - the noise of howler monkeys before sunrise as we walked through the jungle... It sounds like something from The Predator and we didn't know until much later what it was Just sound so turn the sound up for this - the noise of howler monkeys  before sunrise as we walked through the jungle... It sounds like  something from The Predator and we didn't know until much later what it  was