The One with the Mayan Ruin

Yesterday, I was awake for 20 hours straight, a feat reminiscent of my surgery rotation. But at least this time, there was no pre-rounding, no vitals to be recorded, and no scrubbing into operations.

This time, I was waking up at 2:30 AM for this:DSCN1112

Even though it was cloudy (apparently normally, it’s also really foggy), there was something incredible about sitting at the top of a Mayan temple watching the sky change colors over the trees, with a chorus of colorful birds and howler monkeys around you. (Howler monkeys are unbelievably loud!!)

And thus began our trip to Tikal, an impressive Mayan ruin situated in northern Guatemala. If the above scene seems vaguely familiar, it’s because a similar shot is featured in Star Wars Episode IV… awesome!

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The Temple of the Grand Jaguar (R) and the Necropolis, as viewed from atop Temple II, all within the main plaza.

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Temple III, which you’re allowed to climb via steep steps that are far too high for short legs, but I climbed anyway!

Those are MY hands. Holding a tarantula. And nothing terrible happened.

Those are MY hands. Holding a tarantula. And nothing terrible happened.

These sprawling ruins are the remains of what was once the capital of a booming Mayan civilization, and features six very large temples among a collection of causeways, plazas, and the acropolis. Three restored temples may be climbed, while most other structures are closed to the public, although, shhh!: our guide let us step into one of the palaces, where we were greeted by bats!

After a long morning of exploring the ruins, we were grateful for a relaxing evening in beautiful Flores, a charming island town just an hour away from the ruins. How freaking cute is it?!

We stayed at Hotel Mirador del Lago - Viewpoint of the Lake!

We stayed at Hotel Mirador del Lago – Viewpoint of the Lake!

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Parque Central de Flores

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All of the buildings are so colorful!

Tonight, I take off for Guatemala City and will catch a morning bus up to Xela, where I’ll make my home for the next four weeks. I’m so excited to meet my host family, visit the medical clinic I’ll be working in, and start really learning Spanish!

Until then,

K

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