Yavin IV
category: Jims Guatemala


So, I mentioned that I’d get back to this, and the time has finally come. We took the Four Witches to visit Tikal, an ancient archaeological site in the northern Peten region of Guatemala. It was occupied for a few thousand years, before being abandoned by its Mayan builders in the 10th century. It’s huge, a giant complex of mounds and temples and pyramids stretchimg far off into the jungle. No one really knows how much is there, swallowed up by trees and vines and time.

turkey.jpgWe hiked in pretty early, to avoid the heat, which was already in the 90s by 9am and still rising fast. The coolest thing about the jungle is the sounds: birds of all types, bugs, and howler monkeys. The monkeys are something else, making a thunderous roar that sounds like King Kong. We saw a few spider monkeys, but never a howler. Even the turkeys were unusual, with polychromatic plumage like a mallard duck.  

IMG_3767SM.jpgSome of the temples are quite high, as you can see, and ladders have been constructed on a few to help tourists. Here we have my mom and Aunt Ellen after climbing about a hundred steps up to the top of Temple II, to to look out on the acropolis and Temple I.

ah-cacaoSM.jpgOn the way back in fornt of Temple V, we met King Ah-Cacao, one of the ancient rulers of Tikal. He said we could take a picture with him if we tipped him 10q or so. Ellen was all about that, so here it is. We talked with the guy some. He was really friendly, and said he wasn’t an employee of the park or anything like that, he was just an amateur who liked dressing up like Ancient Mayan Rulers in his spare time.

Despite all the stuff I saw, I missed most of our first day in the park. I’d been feeling kindof sick since I woke, but by about 10am, I was hurting pretty bad. Shuffling along behind the group, I kept having to stop and sit down, clutching my abdomen. “I gotta bo back,” I told Emily, delirious with pain and nausea. She asked if I needed help, and I told her to stay with the aunties to help them, and I’d see everyone back at tht hotel. The hike back alone was a torturous walk through the baking heat, and I got disoriented and lost on the way back. Luckily, a truck full of locals came by, and I was able to ask for directions to get back on track. I collapsed onto my bed and woke hours later when they came back. Emily took my temperature, and it was 102 degrees. I ended up spending about a day and a half in bed, not eating, with some sort of 24-hour stomache flu. This was kindof annoying, as I didn’t get to see as much of Tikal as I would have liked.

Yavin-4-2.jpgOh, and as a funny side note, Tikal was in the first Star Wars movie, playing the role of the forest moon Yavin IV (the hidden rebel base). I saw Han Solo there, but don’t tell Dave, or he’ll be jealous.

Posted by: jfanjoy