Tikal Chapter 2
04 April 2018 | Tikal
Our hotel, the Flores Boutique, was exceptional, an oasis as described. We awoke at 0630 for breakfast at 0700 and the bus to Tikal at 0800.
Breakfast was private on the top of the hotel on a deck overlooking the lake. We observed that the launchas here were much smaller than in Rio Dulce and had on 5 – 8 hp outboards. They crawled across the lake, a refreshingly slower pace to watch.
The bus to Tikal had seats for some twenty people, fold down seating in the middle. We were the last of 19 to be picked up and somehow we got the best seats, right up front where we could see everything with no one packed in beside us. It took an hour and a half bouncing along the “highway”, again pretty rough in spots and lots of speed bumps.
We had an English speaking guide who had a great personality, was funny and seemed to know his stuff. He took us off the beaten path, climbing up the backside of temples away from the crowds. A little tough on the legs, but we needed the exercise.
The pictures and video I took hardly convey the grandeur and magnitude of Tikal. Life started here 600 B.C. yet people had been living in this part of the world for some 2,000 years. Tikal was occupied until 900 A.D. All throughout Central America there are these ancient ruins of massive civilizations.
The cast system was prevalent and depending into which level you were born, you either worked in the mines or fields and probably died before your 24th birthday or were royalty and lived a long life unless you were killed in a war or a revolt. Without seeing the whole picture, where people lived, how they communicated, how they played, it is hard to image life here in the sub-tropical forests of Central America. We do see people living their lives in palm leaf roofed, dirt floor, open houses along rivers and the roads. Life is simplier than ours, I have yet to sit down and talk with a Mayan family, without an interpreter it would be impossible. I do use the Google translate app to help with Spanish.
We've now visited four sites, each different from the others, Tikal being the largest we've seen so far. There's a lot more to explore including the volcanoes, I can't wait to climb, that'll be another chapter, but first we are heading home to be with family for a couple of months.