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Tikal - Maya ruins

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View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

28th January - Someone got shot dead!
Leaving Seymuc Champney at 5am towards my next stop, the small island of Flores from which you visit the Maya ruins of Tikal. About 45 mns before Flores, you have to cross a small river. As our bus stopped in the queue to wait or the little ferry, we heard a gunshot behind us. I turned around and saw a small kid running across the road and thought it was kids playing with bangers. However, a crown immediately started to gather and our driver got out to see what had happened. Apparently, a guy was shot dead from a bullet in the neck. The killer then jumped on a motorbike driven by another guy and drove off. Within 5 mns everyone had dispersed and were back to their normal life, kids selling their stuff to tourists, etc. I couldn't help thinking that in Europe they would have been taken in for counselling! 10mns after that, 4 army trucks full loaded with machine guns arrived across the river and went in pursuit. I wonder if they will get them!

The driver told us the reason for the shooting would be one of 3 things: drugs, women or theft related. It seems that here the locals sorts their own problems their way. I'm just glad I didn't actually see the shooting.

Flores
Flores, by contrast, is a charming little island which is very safe and you can walk around it in about 15mns. Lots of hotels and restaurant and the main base to visit the Maya ruins of Tikal.

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Tikal
I didn't opt for the 3am sunrise tour as most mornings are a little cloudy and I didnt fancy getting up so early not to have a guaranteed sunrise view. So I opted for the 4.30am tour (still very early) which arrives at Tikal around 6.30am.

We are greeted by Howler monkeys and Spider monkeys as well as many different types of birds. The one on the picture is a very colourful turkey.
The site itself is 24kms square but only 4kms square (20%) has actually been exclavated to date. The site was discovered in 1848 by locals looking for gum trees. Exclavation started in 1956 and you can still see many mounts covered by vegetation which are still to be exclavated. It is thought that up to 200,000 people lived here between 900 BC and 900 AC when the site was abandonned.

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Posted by Lifeis4living 10:29 Archived in Guatemala Tagged trees english

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I recognise these ruins from a television programme. Interesting it's taken so long to excavate such a small percentage with a long, long way to go.

Did you climb all those steps to the very top? Hope so as it would be a pretty amazing view from there.

by sally rieder

Your photos are so much better than mine but they really bring back memories. It is 14 years since I was there. We called our jungle removal at the sites Ground Force after Alan Titchmarsh programme. We were not allowed to use weedkiller at all and of course it all grows so quickly that it is a never ending task.
They will never uncover all the ruins . They have no intention it would take too much time and they do not have the money or the staff to keep them safe. We restored half to show how it would have looked.

by Catherinepilates

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