Snate's Six-Month Sojourn travel blog

Lago de Peten Itza from our window

Sam, Hemp and Angie in the restaurant at our hotel

The friendly tarantula that lived in our courtyard

A half excavated pyramid at Yaxha

Half excavated pyramid #2

Our guide and driver Emilio, Angie and me on the top of...

Monkey, woo.

Sunset over Lago de Yaxha

After Tikal, we did a whole lot of nothing in El Remate until Sunday. Technically, we read a lot (Sam: The Shipping News is a great book), swam a lot (Sam: I like to swim), ate a lot (Sam: Food . . . good) and slept in (Sam: sleeping in, my favorite). Saturday's dinner was pretty awesome - our neigbors told us about this house where we could go eat dinner for 15Q (less than $2). You basically walk into this person's house, she sits you down on the back porch, gives you your two choices and 45 minutes later, the food arrives. It was a pretty tasty meal, though it consisted of the same elements as most other Guatemalan meals: chicken, rice, tortillas, soup.

Saturday we headed over to Santa Elena (the big city just south of Flores) to hopefully find a pair of sandals for me, since the part where my sandals bend at the front of the foot was broken nearly three quarters of the way across. This may or may not have contributed to my wipe out in Guatemala City, since the sandals have been like this since Fuentes Georginas. We didn't find sandals (Santa Elena is a bit of a hole), but after asking around, we found a guy under an umbrella in the market who repairs shoes. I showed him the sandals, he told me my options and the operation began. First he lit the interior of the sandal on fire and let it melt a little bit. Then he applied some adhesive and held the pieces together. Next, he took a large needle and some strong thread and basically stitched my sandals back together. He put a stitch or two in the side of the sandal as well, since the stuff on the bottom of the sandal wouldn't last too long. Pretty cool to see this done, and I had a "new" pair of sandals until I can get a new pair when we get to Texas.

On Sunday, we chatted with Umberto about going to the remote ruins of Yaxha. There are 15 to 20 Mayan sites in Peten (the northern portion of Guatemala), and some can be accessed by some really shitty roads. Umberto asked his friend to drive us there and serve as our guide since this guy had worked at Yaxha as a guard some years earlier. Guards essentially hang out at the sites and make sure people don't sneak in and dig tunnels to loot the pyramids. Yaxha was essentially ours for the afternoon (aside for several workers). We all imagined that we had rented out Tikal, but that really wasn't true. It was amazing to walk around the unexcavated city and see the early stages of discovery: gigantic mounds and walls covered in earth and trees. Some of the buildings were half-excavated, and we were actually able to climb Temple 216 to see the lake and the jungle around us.

At the end of the walk, we stood beneath a canopy of trees and watched an impromptu howler monkey show. It was really cool to see monkeys jumping around in their natural habitat instead of a zoo, though none of them flung poo, which made us all sad. We finished the tour with a watermelon by Lago de Yaxha and a gorgeous sunset, captured professionally by Samantha (Sam: sunsets are pretty). We then traveled back to El Remate for our final meal and licuado at Umberto's . . . AND IN GUATEMALA!!

Stay tuned.

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