16 August 2011

exploring tikal

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after we got back to guatemala city from atitlan, we unpacked and repacked, left our luggage again at the hotel, and went to the bus station to hop on an overnight bus to the ancient mayan city of tikal. the bus was a huge adventure, and in a whirlwind after we arrived we were whisked off to some travel agency and then on a random van to the ruins, bleary –eyed and disconcerted. {i love everything about traveling, including the uncomfortable and frustrating parts!}

tikal is legitimately incredible. it was so neat to imagine what it would be like all those hundreds of years ago, populated and thriving. it is especially poignant to think about the book of mormon while there, whether or not these ruins could be tied to those peoples. tikal was cooler than i expected. also, it was hotter. and my only clean shirt (i really couldn’t bear the thought of putting on the outrageously dirty ones) was long-sleeved and warm in case of a random cold front. it all just made the experience more intense!

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this tree, what the locals call “the tree of life” was right at the entrance to tikal national park. it was a good introduction to the amazing vegetation we were about to see.
tikal is literally in the middle of the jungle.

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our tour guide reuben was delightful.

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the ruins were so extensive, and we saw lots of cool things like the picture on the left, and lots of land covered mounds like the picture on the right. only 20% of tikal is excavated. 20%!

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we met lots of cool jungle creatures, like this baby snake…
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and dozens and dozens of spider monkeys and howler monkeys – who really do howl!

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temple 4 is the biggest of all the temples at tikal, and we got to climb it. we ascended the stairs (both wooden ladders but in this century and stone steps constructed about the 4th century!) to the tippy top and the sweeping views were absolutely breathtaking. i stood up there and thought -
“this is so worth the 2 overnight buses – i’d do it just for this view.” check it out:
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maybe a little bit sweaty?

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i was so grateful for these two crazy travel buddies who entertained my ambitious itinerary.
katherine and peter were so fun to travel with.

1 comment :

  1. Zowie what amazing pictures! I wanna goooooo! Nice job on taking pictures from "the heights" It almost made me dizzy to look at it on a stationary chair! Love your adventuresome spirit!

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