For our rest days, we decided to visit the Tikal!!! Since it’s 8 hours away from Guatemala City (where we stayed at our hostel), we had to drive out to a city that’s closer to the Tikal to stay for one night. The city we stayed at is called Flores, which is the capital of Petén (a department of Guatemala) and it is located about 1.5 hours away from the Tikal. So we drove, for 8 butt-numbing hours, from the south-centerish region to northern Guatemala.
From my journal:
6:45 am: Breakfast
7:30 am: Left Guatemala City for Flores
11:00 am: Traffic jam/block because apparently there was a protest. Some of us got out of the car, walked past the block to a bridge that overlooked the Rio Dulce
1:00 pm – lunch at Jocelyn Restaurant, boat ride along Rio Dulce
3:00 pm – on the road again, butt-numbing 8 hour ride continues
7:00 pm – arrive at Saint Helena (?) for dinner at a mall complex
9:30 pm – arrive at Jaguar Inn
Finally, this country-girl-at-heart gets to experience the real country side. Even though I’m tired, I want to keep my eyes open for as much of this road trip as possible. There is so much to see (and smell, ahah). I just know I’ll miss this place when I get back to Vancouver.
The rolling green hills seem to never end. Studded with old barns, it adds that rustic touch that I love so much about the country side. All along the road, there are clusters of tall and towering palm trees that can put LA’s palm trees to shame. At first, I thought that they were papaya trees since the coconuts had an orange skin, but that’s the unripe stage of a coconut!
This 5 hour road trip (so far) is actually making me feel so nostalgic. Guatemala smells just like China. It’s crazy how after 12 years, the thing I remember most about China is the smell.
***Couple hours later***
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant along Rio Dulce. After that long car ride I was starved! It wouldn’t have taken so long if there wasn’t a protest happening at the other side of the bridge (This is a small detail that I will leave out when I tell les parents, they’ll freeeeak out). It was well worth the wait though because the restaurant and the view of the river was absolutely gorgeous! The restaurant was small and cozy with its straw roof and rustic wooden furniture. There is nothing like this in Vancouver, which is a city made of glass, polished mahogany and chrome metallics.
Lunch was going to take awhile to cook, so we took a boat ride to pass time. I love love love rivers/lakes/any water body. I like the way they make me feel. I love seeing ripples rise up in peaks then soften out again with every wave. I love feeling the breeze that blows off of the tide. There was so much activity on this river. Along the banks, women were washing their laundry on the rocks. Oh and we passed a bunch of cute homes which have me convinced to move here for retirement.
Best part: Castillo de San Felipe. It was a little piece of history that stood unwavering over decades of change. That’s why I find historical structures so fascinating, it provides a glimpse into the past. You can deduce how people used to live and how things were back then. (Danggit, should’ve been a history or anthropology major.)
To have had this experience in an entirely different country with a bunch good spirited people was such a privilege. Two days ago, these people were just strangers, but now they’re more like family 🙂 I don’t think I’ll ever get over how lucky I am to have met them.