Finishing our second house with Houses to Homes and a brilliant weekend in Tikal.
10.06.2011 - 15.06.2011 26 °C
Last week we finished our second house with 'From Houses to Homes' and it was a really really nice experiance. We had to paint the house on the last day, and it was really nice because Daniel, the five year old in the family, took a paintbrush and helped do the bottom of the house. In the week we were there he really came out of his shell. At first he was too shy to even talk to us, but by the day we left we couldn't stop him talking which was lovely. The family we had been building for were so gracious and so unfortunate that it really felt nice to do something for people who truly need help. At the ceremony to give the family the keys on the last day the grandmother (whom the children all call mother) couldn't even begin to express herself, she was so emotional that all she could do was cry, which set all of us off crying as well. But it was such a nice feeling to know that they won't have to worry about their home any longer. The grandmother cooked us one of the best meals we have had in Guatamala, some fried chicken with Sauce and tortillas with rice. They also went to the shop and bought two big bottles of coke, which can actually be pretty expensive over here, which was really nice of her.
Straight after leaving work we had a quick shower to get the paint off ourselves and went to catch the bus. The shuttle bus actually picked us up on time and pretty soon we were on another shuttle bus going to Guatamala City where we could catch our overnight bus to Tikal. We had to endure listening to two idiot Americans the entire journey, they were talking about Yoga and how one of them is a 'Music Yoga Teacher' for children. I do beleive he said: 'It's not that I teach music, I just let children learn to show their emotions through it and extend that through Yoga too.' James turned to me and said- 'Do you think they can feel the negativity coming off me?' haha.
The bus journey was pretty good. We went with a bus company called ADN which had pretty comfy seats but was so cold!! It says everywhere that you shouldn't travel on overnight buses because they are so dangerous but there has never been any problems with the bus to Flores because it is so out the way. We arrived in Flores and were picked up by shuttle, which we thought would take us to the hotel but randomly dropped us to the airport for 2 hours before then taking us to the hotel. It's a bit of a scam really going with a company, because the entry fee to Tikal wasn't included and you have to pay 15$ daily to get in, so we ended up spending all of our money on that and having barely anything for food. But Tikal is awesome. We found out before hand the temples we were going to do with the Guide the next day and went round all the others that weren't on the itinerary. We did not see another person so it really felt like just our experience. We were walking towards one temple and James suddenly stopped, I couldn't work out why untill I looked up and saw a tree just absolutely full of spider monkeys. Most of them were hanging from their tails, but they were so quiet! I wouldn't have even noticed they were there if it weren't for James. It was really awesome We also saw a toucan, a grey fox, a paca and some wierd pig-rat thing that was very strange. Oh and a really brightly coloured turkey too. The second day with the guide was just as quiet as the day before. James and I had our own private tour and even at the big and famous temples we hardly saw anyone, maybe 20 people in the whole day. My favourite temple was temple 5, it is huge! It's not the bigest temple but because it has no vegetation on it at all it deffinately has the biggest presence. It was amazing because you go round the corner and see nothing and then the next minute you are standing in front of this incredible temple. (This computer has started playing up and will no longer let me put any photos on so I will add other temples to my next blog.) The biggest temple though, you can climb right up to the top and the view is incredible! You can see the tops of all the other temples and the amount of rainforest is awesome. Also the noises you can hear are crazy! Lots of bird's noises and Howler monkeys too, they sound like big cats though. One of the other guides could do a perfect impression of a howler monkey and was almost having a conversation with it! The grand plaza was awesome too, that is when we saw the grey fox, on the top of the temple. I just wish I could have taken a picture but it went away so quickly!
We left Tikal after lunch and went into Flores to catch the bus. We still had a while before the bus came so us and two friends, that we had coinsidentally met in Tikal, went for a boat ride around Tikal. It was really nice, we watched the sunset in the boat and then we climbed to the top of this mound (which we later found out was an uncovered temple!) to see Flores Island as a whole. It was really pretty and a really lovely way to finish the weekend. we went to 'Captain Turtle's Pizzas' for dinner too. The bus journey back was bascially a nightmare! There were about 5 children all under the age of one who cried all night. Between that and the bus driver deciding to play 'Danny the Dog' in chinese at full volume all night, we had pretty much zero hours sleep. We got off the bus and within half an hour we were in work, building a house.
James has been ill for the past two days, there is a bug that has been passed around everyone in our host family (except for me!) so I think he has caught that. But he is looking much better today.