I’m wandering around Antigua today on my last day in Guatemala. I will fly back to Canada tomorrow.

You might think that since I’m walking around an old, beautiful, colonial city like Antigua I might take some photos, but I am bored of photos. I am even bored of looking at the photos I’ve already taken. Instead I am wandering around with my eyes alone, not looking for perfect shots or interesting scenes. Many of these would be similar to the photos I have taken elsewhere on the trip: brightly coloured woven textiles; trees; old buildings. I often take a lot of photos while I’m travelling only to never look at them again, or there will be so many of the same thing (ruins) that I can’t tell them apart. I try to put a small selection here and on Facebook but after that, i just hoard them on my computer.

One difference today is that I am wandering around on my own. My tour is technically over as of today. I could have joined the rest of mu group for cooking or chocolate making classes, bit I chose to wander around a bit instead. This means I got lost! But I learned from my trip to England last year with Susan that google maps is very helpful. I am not lost anymore.

Guacamole and toasties for an early lunch, accompanied by a perfectly adequate soy latte

I fly out of Guatemala City tomorrow at 6:05pm, to Mexico City and then overnight to Vancouver. One of my tour friends is on the same flight to Mexico City, so I anticipate a pleasant time.

Advertisements

Panajachel

This would be a really good time to update my blog. I don’t really want to.

Yesterday was a 11 hour bus trip from Mexico to Guatemala. That’s all there really is to say about that. Above is the bus for the Guatemala portion of the ride.

**post interrupted when I went to have the best soy latte I’ve ever had**

It’s a rest day today. There were a couple of optional tours to choose from, and a few of us opted to not go. We had a lovely sit down breakfast at an establishment that had soy lattes, so I am a happy traveller. Some activities:

1) visit to a church

2) some shopping

3) now playing with phone at hotel

4) possibly going for drinks/lunch. Still a bit full from breakfast.

Note: we’re in the mountains now so it’s a bit cooler. It’s warm now, but not humid like it’s been so far on the trip, and definitely cardigan cool at night. But, I was wrong to think I didn’t need sunscreen.

A Bus Ride

I am in San Cristobal de las Casas this afternoon. We had to get up at 5 this morning to leave by 6ish. This was to ensure we were on the road early to hopefully avoid any road blocks, and to make our total trip time 6 hours instead of 12. Thusly, we arrived around noon. We had a quick tour of the immediate area around our hotel, looks and some handicrafts, went for lunch, and then I had a long nap. I’m not quite awake from that just yet.

San Cristobal is full of cars and people. The streets are really tiny, but the city was founded in the 1500s so not surprising, or unfamiliar, as they are similar to those in Jerez. Where Jerez is a warren of tangled streets, however they seem to be in a grid here. There are some right angles for sure. I have only been out with a group, which means I haven’t had a chance to get lost yet.

The hotel is basic but lovely, and wifi is only available in the downstairs courtyards, which is where I sit now. The bathroom in my room is fully contained, with a full-sized door, which is a nice change from our last room: no more will be said on that subject, but I can go into that hotel in general.

Palenque, revisited

It was in the middle of the jungle. The rooms were set up like a resort, in rows spread out from the main building. There were lots of bugs in our room; the humidity made all of our fabric possessions damp all the time; towels never dried. Our room was about a two-minute walk away from the main building, along a cement walk way that passed bu a field with trees and plants, then around the pool. It seemed to be the farthest building from everyone on the property. There was mesh on the windows, no glass, so when the downpour started on the first night I was woken up by the roar. Very loud. The best part of the place was the main building, which contained the restaurant and bar. The bar served amazing strawberry margaritas. I sat at the bar and drank one on each of the two evenings we were there and played on my phone, as wifi was only available in the main building. The group would then order dinner and eat together at a big table.

I didn’t go into the pool while I was there, but I did walk down some nearby waterfalls. I shall explain. The group visited some waterfalls. About half went with a guide to do jumps off high places into. The rest of us slithered into the first pool to watch those jumping do their first jump. We then followed after them to see what was up. Another guide found us and gestured something that looks like we could walk around to the next pool without having to jump into it. I thought we’d be just slithering into another pool or two and swimming around, but this wasn’t the case. We ender up traversing through and down the falls, sometimes through strong, but shallow, rushing currents; sometimes having to crabwalk down a bit; once having to half-slither, half jump. It was a bit more of an adventure than I expected but it was fun. I got caught in the currents a couple of times but recovered and didn’t drown or anything, so don’t worry. Also, it was off/on raining through the afternoon, but still really warm, which has always been a favourite swimming condition of mine.

(Not proofread- sorry – tired)

Palenque

I took a nature walk in the jungle this morning. It wasn’t labelled a nature walk or anything, and a lot of it had to do with Mayan ruins that are hidden in the jungle, but as my sandals filled with mud and we were shown baby tarantulas and offered a sniff of a citronella leaf it dawned on me that it was a nature walk in which I was participating. Too late! Too late.

Things i learned: don’t touch anything spiky or brightly coloured. Or anything. Really it’s a bit of a game of The Floor is Lava and everything is lava. Not really. Sortof. Be careful. I also noted how if you don’t look to close the jungle looks a lot like the forests in BC- drippy and with lush green underbrush. Maybe more things that might kill me?

We were given a chance to eat some termites from this termite dwelling. Note: they taste nutty.

Ruins hidden in the jungle.

Pretty morning sun.

The rest of the day proceeded as follows: more Mayan ruins (that have beed cleared of jungle – below) followed by swimming in the rain at the Roberto Barrios waterfalls.

Here’s the wikipedia entry for the Zapatista Communities. We learned about them on the bus ride to the waterfalls, which are located in their territory.

Tomorrow! Another bus ride.

Palenque

The bus ride from Merida to Palenque took 9 hours today. We were up for 7am breakfast of papaya, toast and jam and tea to catch the 8:30 bus. The bus included Spanish-dubbed movies, which I ignored with several podcasts and Radiohead and many many naps. Naps! The activity of queens!

Presently soaking in my first margarita of the evening. I would have taken a photo but itsh gone. It was strawberry and magnificent.

Note: the conversation at the bar has devolved to World or Warcraft characters so I am quite free to write quietly on my phone.

Tomorrow brings a jungle walk, some jungle ruins, and some jungle waterfalls.

Merida

Today was a busy day of travel and sights. We were up and ready to leave at 6am (as noted in the previous post). Then onto a mini-tourist bus and a quick breakfast after the sun came up and on to Chuchén Itzá.

I’m too tired to elaborate. It’s an old Mayan sacred site and includes structures like this:

Our guide for the site had lots of information, much of it speculative. However, probably the high priests used their in with the gods to control the masses. The masses were taken in by this and were more than happy to offer themselves as sacrifices in time of hardship. Only the strongest, though, please as the gods wouldn’t be impressed with the blood of the weak. (This is a retelling of what I remember only. There’s more to it.)

This is our guide pointing out the face of the rain god.

I’m resting now before meeting up with the group again at 7 for a brief orientation of Merida and supper.

Tomorrow is cenotes adventure.

Playa del Carmen – Just leaving
It’s 5:41am and I’m up, packed, checked out and ready to go. We are an efficient room, due to a need for caffeine and the only place open at this time being three blocks away. We have been promised breakfast in 1.5 hours.

However, I slept reasonably well so that’s a good start. The time difference is two hours so not hard to adapt. Yes, I’ve been having naps (plural) in the afternoons, but I’m on holiday and naps are my favourite.

Playa day 2 – part 2 – later

I’ve met with my tour group and they’re all pleasant. We all went for dinner. I had tacos. I also had 2 tortilla chips with the teeniest drop of the “hot” dip. Brave: trying things.

Now to bed because we roll out of Playa at 6am to go for breakfast and look at the ruins at Chuchén Itzá.

I’m the only Canadian in the group! Although several travellers have recently visited.

Playa del Carmen Day 2 – Sunday

I had my day planned today: breakfast at the same vegan place, then off for a massage/pedicure. But in the spirit of best laid plans, there was a member of my tour group hanging out at reception. We haven’t all met together as a whole group yet, but we were both studying the notification of where to meet, etc on the reception desk. We went for breakfast, and then checked out Old Navy, before returning to the hotel to see if either of us had to check out before checking back in with the tour. Thankfully, neither of us to move. However, in anticipation of getting a roommate for the duration of the tour, I went bak to my room to tidy the sprawl of my stuff. Manners.

I headed out for a massage/pedicure around noon. I had a 90-minute relaxation massage that smelled so good. I dozed a couple of times. Then I had a pedicure so now my toes are orange.

I’m back at the hotel again. I’d been here just a few minutes when my tour roommate arrived. We both have orange toenail polish so our roommate-ship is obviously meant to be. The whole tour group will meet for the first time this evening.

Now I rest and snack on dried plantains.