25 August 2007

The Ruins at Tikal

Early start this morning, as we wanted to beat the heat (and the hordes of tourists) to enter the massive Mayan ruins at Tikal. These are probably the biggest excavated Mayan sites in the world. The best part is that it truly is in the middle of the Jungle. Throughout the site we saw monkeys, spiders, bugs, and were walking amongst the trees.

We were also able to climb some of the Temples. The 1st one we climbed was probably about 15 stories. Unfortunately, because the stairs are no longer in good shape, a wooden "staircase" is placed next to it instead. Here, tourists get to climb to the top of the temple.

The climb up wasn't that bad. It is a very rickety staircase, and very scary. Half way up, I heard this girl heading down shreik "Jonathan!" and it was someone I met staying in the hostel in Antigua! What a small world. She was too scared to really chat, but we were able to say hi and exchange contact info.

The top of the temple was also very scary. I guess we're so used to the potential lawsuits in the US, that everything is protected. You'd expected ledges that are 15 stories up to have guardrails on them. You'd also expect a ledge that was a bit wider than 2 feet. This was not the case in Tikal. Although the hieight got to me, the views were absolutely amazing. You could see other temples in the distance rising up from the trees.

We also spent a good hour and a half in the main square of Tikal. Being able to explore these ruins was great, but the heat was aweful. I don't think i've sweat this much since I've been to Egypt. I just looked at my arm, and my t-shirt and it was soaked completely through! Well worth it though, and we were done by noon! I don't know how the big tour buses come in and do it at the hottest part of the day. We were then off to Belize!

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