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Friday 17 Mar 2006
Flores and Tikal, Guatemala

Quick entry 1

Flores is a beautiful little hippie-town situated on an island in the middle of Lake Paten Itza. I arrived late at night and decided to crash at the first hostel I saw in my lonely planet guide (I can't remember the name of it right now, but it's the first one on the right-side of the island as you approach it from the bridge).

It turned out to be a great choice. After checking in, I wandered onto the roof terrace and was welcomed by a soothing breeze that rolled off the lake and lay down on a sun-lounge among my fellow backpackers gazing into the large full moon. Bliss.

I met up with a few really cool Canadians while staying at this hostel. They've managed to convince me that Vancouver is "where it's at" in Cannuck-land. By the sounds of it, I'm definately gonna check it oot when/IF I finally get the Canadian working visa!

One of the older guests, a canadian guy in his 40s, told me crazy tales about his time in 'nam and various other misadventures he had while living in South East Asia. (Later on, in Mexico, I would meet some other people who had stayed in the hostel and met the same guy - who gave them a completely different line about being a cook on board a cruise ship for the past 30 years... meh 'twas interesting. And the copious alchohol he procured was welcome!)

Right so, today! Tikal! Bloody fantastic.

Out of all the ruins on the trip (I'm writing this entry post-holiday by the way!) Tikal proved to be the most impressive!

Temples in true jungle settings (although still relatively 'prepared for tourists' feeling about the place.. unlike the temples one would find in Cambodia... still, it was the 'most raw' of all the sites on this trip). Howler monkeys and all varieties of exotic birds and mammals roamed freely about the place.
One temple in particular, I found particularly impressive: Templo 5! It has the best view over the jungle in my opinion and is also the viewpoint from which a scene was shot from the one of the Star Wars movies (I think it was Empire Strikes Back) where you see a space-ship take off from a temple-fringed jungle setting.

Very peaceful - and also gruesome - with it's own fair share of murals depicting hearts being ripped out and thrown about like baseballs. yummy!

Trekking to one of the far off temples proved to be the most rewarding experience though. On arriving at the temple (after a 30 min trek!) I was greeted by a wild white horse wandering around the temple's base. Then up in the trees several howler monkeys, evidently pissed off at the horse's presence, started thrown pine-nuts and sticks down on top of the poor horse. I got the whole thing on video.. it went on for about 10 minutes! Cheesy

I met up with Mad D later that night in Flores. The poor lad had terrible TERRIBLE tales to tell of his journey all the way from Mexico City to Flores on the bus. Needless to say it's DEFINATELY not recommended if you're looking for a comfortable holiday Wink

Oh yeah .. and btw, it's Paddy's Day today!! Duh! We spent that night on roof of my hostel overlooking Flores lake with copious beer, moonlight and a warm breeze.

I'll come back here I reckons!

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