Monday, June 11, 2012

Los monos

To celebrate finishing two weeks of Spanish, we spent the weekend traveling to Tikal, the place of five Mayan temples and thousands of more buildings. To get there from Antigua, we traveled by bus, overnight, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but with the rocking roads of Guatemala, it felt as if the bus may crumble to pieces at any second. None of us slept very well, but, just like our arrival in Antigua, when we arrived in Tikal, we set down our stuff, slathered on some sunscreen and bug spray, and hiked out into the national park of Tikal. The jungle is just as humid and just as hot as I thought it would be. August in St. Louis comes pretty darn close to the jungle!

We spent the next few hours hiking from temple to temple and marveling at the amazing feats that the Mayans were able to complete way back in 700 AD. Crazy. We even saw baby monkeys!!! To save energy, the hotel we stayed at only has electricity from 6pm-10pm, but we were so tired, we had no problem going to bed before lights out. Instead of sleeping in, we were up before the crack of dawn, right around 3:30am to head back into the jungle. I never thought I would say that I hiked through the jungle in the middle of the night, but listening to the jungle come alive in the morning was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The howler monkeys were first, and it sounded like they were right behind us, like a real-life Jurassic Park.

Just as the sun was rising, we made it to the top of temple number four and sat in silence, atop a magnificent structure, watching the sun peak its way through the clouds, while the sounds of the monkeys and birds provided the soundtrack. Those times of peace and serenity don’t come around too often anymore so I was happy to have the opportunity to take a step back from the worries of life and just take in my surroundings.


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