On this day I woke up super early to loud, regular banging. Some investigations later in the day lead me to believe that it was fireworks being set off by the church on the top of the hill for reasons I am unaware of. There doesn’t seem to be a large party or anything. But that was fine because I wanted to set off early this morning to try to see the sights over across the lake again. I got over across the lake at like 0830, so I thought I had set myself up well. I even had my camera. I walked up to the museum that is over there and was disappointed to find out that it was closed Mondays. So that plan was shot. Then I thought I would walk to the zoo. It didn’t seem too far. I went down a road I thought would lead me to it, which then went down to a footpath along the lake. This turns out was nowhere near where I needed to be, so I turned around and went down the right road, thinking I could make it if I hustled. I turned back at like 0945 though; it was too far to walk and a convenient tuk-tuk hadn’t come by. I should have grabbed a tuk-tuk by the harbor but I didn’t think this through, like much of the rest of the vacation.
More gardens! Jeez I love gardens.
However, the walk was very nice. I got to see a lot of people’s gardens and that rather excited me. They had a whole wide variety of things growing, along with my absolute favorite, which is cocoyam (taro) and banana planted close to one another. That gets me excited every single time. I got barked at by a number of dogs, including wee little ones, and I saw some horses. There were coconut palms and dugout canoes and it was a very good walk even if I had nothing in particular to report.
I was worried about making it for my noon bus, so I went back to Flores, but I got there at like, 1030. So then I had time to kill. I was, however, getting worried about Aguateca the next day. My plan was to just go to Sayache and figure it out, but this seemed like a bad plan based on experience. So I wandered into yet another tourist agency to ask about a tour. There I learned there are no collective trips to Aguateca like there are to Tikal or Yaxha, so I was never going to find an easy book. He could arrange a private tour, but the last one he did was 8 months before and it would be about 2000Q. That was good info but didn’t solve my problem. I decided to get lunch to make sure I wasn’t hungry at Yaxha, and at lunch I realized I could text this Don Pedro guy the guidebook talks about. I was afraid of talking to him on the phone because I felt like we couldn’t communicate. But by texting I could use Google Translate so it worked out. Over the course of the afternoon I got things sorted out and I think his daughter speaks English. We communicated over a number of phone numbers. It will cost 600Q which is kind of a lot for just a little trip but by now I was invested in this. I was still worried about making it to Sayache at a reasonable hour and I just hoped the busses would work out.
Yaxha ball court.
After lunch I ran back to the hotel to grab my passport which I kept forgetting (I didn’t need it, turns out) and went to the I ❤ Peten sign for the bus. I got the bus and it was pretty smooth sailing from there. I took notes on the trip again, but for a while there I fell asleep. It was like a 2-hour ride. I finally saw some saddles hanging on a railing; I hadn’t seen one yet despite all thase horses. I saw sugarcane which I hadn’t noted before. I have talked about wondering what houses are made of and so I noted I saw wooden plank houses and a shed made of sticks like they did in Eastern Province in Zambia. I saw a wooden plank house with a garage for a jeep Cherokee looking thing. I finally saw some goats in a pen but they could have been sheep. I also noted that tourists keep worrying about Tikal being busy; but it never gets that busy it seems to me. It isn’t Disneyworld. I noted to look up how they generate electricity in Guatemala, and what they cook on; I hadn’t seen any charcoal. I also hadn’t seen any land cruisers like they have in Zambia either.
Lake view (lake level).
As we got close to the park I think I started to see palmfruit palms, and noted there were more thatched roofs, even alongside like nice elevated houses or cinderblock construction. We eventually got to the gate of the park to buy tickets. It seemed like a confusing system to me. You first filled out like a comment form, then went around the corner to a ticket counter where you bought a ticket at one window and then next to it was another window where they gave you an armband which I almost missed. I wandered around looking for the ruins thinking we were there, but we had to get back on the bus. We arrived at the actual site at about 1430. I was in the group with the guide so I listened to him for a while but he really annoyed me. He did that engaging with the audience thing that I hate and also talked about a lot of cultural stuff that wasn’t Yaxha (turns out pronounced “Josh-Ha”) so half an hour into this thing we were still in sight of the car park. So I ditched and wandered around.
Lake view (temple level).
The place was pretty cool. It is next to a lake and you can go down to the lake and check it out (the tour group didn’t go down there), and there is a big covered temple where you can go to the top. The site is smaller than Tikal, though he said only 10% was discovered. One of the more remarkable parts is a well-preserved causeway, so you can actually kinda see and understand what they were talking about in Tikal. Throughout the place were these howler monkees that were screaming and sounded like dinosaurs, because I guess Jurassic Park used them for dinosaur sounds. I was trying to keep an eye on where the group was because I needed to leave with them of course, but I misunderstood where they were watching the sunset. I didn’t want to hang out long so at 1700 I arrived at the temple where I thought we were watching the sunset (the sunset was going to be at 1740) where thankfully there was a park ranger dude. He said they watched the sunset from this totally different temple, so I ran over there and tried to act cool. I took some pictures from the base and then went up and pretended I wasn’t sweaty and panting.
It was gorgeous up there though, seeing the sun right in front of the temple and over the lake. The thing was to keep quiet, so it was pretty silent up there, and again like at Tikal I just liked the sensation of a bunch of people watching the sunset like they must have done back in the day. From there it was back on the bus and home. I ate dinner here at the hotel, got cash for the next day, and took a hot shower.
Not the right temple.
Also not the right temple.
And here is your reward for scrolling!