The main reason for visiting Guatemala this year is for my cousin Julio's wedding. In exchange of Gary and I filming / photographing his wedding respectively, he purchased our flight tickets and surprised us with a flight and tour to Tikal, an ancient Mayan city that lies in the Petén region of Northern Guatemala. My mom tells a story of her bringing me here in my stroller, alongside my aunt Ingrid and cousin Ashley, who is my same age. Obviously, I don't remember that trip.
I have been wanting to visit Tikal for a long time. As far as I know, my bloodline dates back to the Mayans and naturally, I feel connected to its history and culture. Friends of mine like to make jokes that I am the "Mayan prince" because of my height, and that one day I shall return to my throne. Yesterday, I did.
We landed in a small airport in the city of Flores, about an hour drive away from Tikal National Park. There was a man waiting with a sign and our names, and we boarded a van, with several others from Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico, and other places.
Along the way, we made a few stops to hydrate and to see some of the attractions that they had. I was more interested in the people who lived in and around the area.
We finally arrived, and we were split from the group in the van. We came to learn that my cousin requested we have an english speaking guide, which I thought was hilarious. It was a blessing in disguise, because the kid in the van was a total nightmare. We were grouped with a couple - Beanie and Roy - from Maryland. They claimed to be in their late 60's / early 70's but did not look a day over 55. We befriended them and had a blast with them the whole way through.
After a few miles of walking, we finally made it to the first, and smallest temple. And then the next, and the next, and the next. Each bigger, and more astounding. The weather was perfect - the sun would shine for a few minutes, followed by dark clouds immediately after, and it was very humid. We made several stops for water - and a beer here and there.
As we continued on our journey, the insanely breathtaking view of the ruins kept surprising us. I had no idea they were so tall.
We continued our journey to the Central Acropolis (first photograph below), which is one of the most studied areas in the Tikal region. The Great Plaza lies south of this, which I probably took the most photographs of.
Probably the best moment of the trip...
After spending a few minutes at the Grand Plaza, we went to the top of Temple IV. Insanely high, and insanely awesome view.
We began our walk down, and back to the main entry area to have lunch, and take a van back to the airport. Exhausted, drenched in sweat, and excited to have seen so much.