It was with a sigh and a pained look that Ruth said, 'We're never going to see any Mayan ruins.' Months ago when we returned to England we thought it would be nice to spend some time in Flores and Visit Tikal, on our way back to the boat in the spring. In reality, when the time came, all we both wanted to do was get back to Impetuous. So a plan was hatched that when our friend Rachel came in late Feburary; around Ruth's birthday, we would head up to Flores to meet her and all go to Tikal.
Rachel, who we had expected to take a more leisurely trip down from Cancun arrived like a shot from a gun. 'Oh shit!' I expectorated, she gets in to Flores in a few hours; the internet was working again and we had just picked up her most recent email. Time to go.
The bus ride to Flores was not without event, as we have posted. A protest had blockaded the road so, as five hours passed; amongst them the hottest of the day; we were stuck in a dusty town with thousands of others going nowhere. People pottered around selling their wares, we bought a bottle of honey in an old wine bottle. Generally all was peaceful and relaxed, no one seemed to care too much. Even the protesters just stood behind their banners and mutely protested. Inside the tin can of the bus we sweated. Finally around 6 o'clock the banners came down and the cool of moving air seemed all the sweeter for its hours of absence.
Tikal is different from many of the other Mayan ruins as the areas surrounding have not been cleared. You often are walking from one ruin to the next draped in a shadowey cloak of cacophony; the jungle alive above. We saw, and of course heard the roar of the howler monkeys as well as the constant chatter of birds of many species. Then suddenly the paths open out, presenting you with the spectacular sights of the ruins, towering with mythical splendour.
It lay undiscovered until 1863, despite being one the most significant sites of the most powerful kingdom of the ancient Maya. It is now being uncovered and, in places is still under renovation. Much more lies within the park boundary as yet hidden by the jungle.
Some of the imposing architecture dates back to the 4th century BC, yet amazingly it did not see its demise as a strong hold of the culture until as late as 900 AD. After looking at our photo's its worth a google.