18 - GUATEMALA
Tikal - 17/01/04 - 19/01/04
Road was fine. Nice smooth dirt for about 40kms then on to tarmac. We could see where the Lorries would have been stuck though. The road was pretty narrow and each side was very deep mud.
Arrived in Tikal, found a hotel, took our luggage in. R went to move the bike and for some reason, never before known, he started the engine before getting on. I then watched helplessly as the bike lurched forward and fell over and in to a ditch, wheels up in the air.
About 10 Guatemalans ran from every direction and the bike was back up as quick as it fell. Apart from being covered in mud all seemed well.
Turns out R had just touched the gear lever as he was getting on. We then discovered brake fluid was leaking from the lever but a quick tighten sorted it out.
So no damage, just a very embarrassed husband
That's three falls now. First, my fault, second, evil Mexican ferry man, third R's fault. Let's hope that's it. We have decided that bike is beautiful, elegant and Cheetah like at speed but unstable and clumsy in the manner of a baby Giraffe when going too slowly or stopped.
Later that evening we were having dinner in the hotel restaurant when three people walked in beaming. They were a young couple and an older lady who I had seen earlier, watching us unload the bike. They were looking straight at us and smiling so broadly my first thought was that they were going to try and save us for the Lord Jesus (sorry guys, didn't tell you that bit did I?)
I then thought they wanted to share our table but surely not as there was only room for two.
This was Leif & Amara who turned out were traveling on a Suzuki DR 650 and Amara's Mum who had come to visit them.
We are traveling on Leif's dream bike and they had seen us arrive.
We arranged to meet them when we had finished eating but they were nowhere to be found.
We discovered a few weeks later over a beer or two in Panajachel that Amara's Mum, who had recently discovered how bikers all talk to each other (they'd just met Trevor) had persuaded them to come and find us. They were so embarrassed about disturbing our dinner that they had run off.
R went out to check the brake fluid leakage and to wash off the bike and didn't come back.
Nothing new. Went out in the end and found him as usual deep in conversation.
He had met Juan a local guide. He had the most amazing stories to tell about his experiences during the war.
He had been hauled off a bus at gunpoint by the army as he had long hair, therefore must be a guerilla. The General then calmly told him that he could shoot him today just for pleasure but did not feel like it. After a few day's locked up, someone in the army who he knew from home saw him, knew he wasn't a guerilla and let him go.
He got a haircut.
A little while later he was in bar and a guy came in and told him to buy him a drink. He looked at him a bit surprised and the guy just said " I need a drink and you may be glad you bought it one day".
On the bus again and because of his short haircut he gets hauled off by the guerilla's - they think he's in the army!
He's bound and gagged and expecting to get shot and guess who turns up? The guy he bought a drink. So he was released again and has never known how to have his hair since!
With 35 years of war I guess everyone has some pretty scary stories to tell.
We were just saying goodbye to Juan when Trevor turned up with a whole posse of Swedish guys. Trevor's about 6ft and these guy's all towered over him. I felt particularly squat! One of them saw the Norwegian sticker on the back of the bike and wanted to know exactly where we'd been and how we liked it as he felt Norway was the most beautiful country in the world and he'd seen nothing to surpass it yet. I have to agree so far.
I ended up talking to him for ages whilst R and Trevor were talking about bikes of course. I wish I had gone up a step or two of the hotel entrance as I had severe neck ache after about 20 minutes.
View from Temple IV
At 10 O'clock all the lights suddenly went out. We hadn't realized the time, there is no electricity after that in Tikal. It was so dark we could hardly even see the hotel and the guys had to find their way back to their hotel with no torches.
Luckily R had his bike keys with him with very excellent mini LED torch attached (thanks bruv). It worked brilliantly.
We went and sat and looked at the stars for ages. It's so amazing to look at them with no light pollution at all. The sky is so beautiful. Must learn more, not just Orion & The Plough, how crap is that!
January 18th! Our first wedding anniversary. There is no way in the world we thought we'd be heading off for a day around the ruins of Tikal if you'd asked us a year ago. How weird life is.
I woke up, said "Happy Anniversary Darling" to R and then had fit of giggles. Just seemed too odd and what parents do. Doesn't help that I never call him "darling".
Tikal is fabulous, best of all the Mayan sights and I think we've seen nearly all of them by now.
It certainly had the scariest pyramid to climb. I was thinking we'd done our climbing for the day having already been up two, but no they save the worst till last.
You have to got up by a wooden staircase which is not really a staircase but six really long ladders all joined together and just pretending.
Just wrong - see what I mean!
R being dangerous
My first reaction was no, it's just wrong, but R said he was going to do it and well we've done everything together so far and I couldn't have him coming down and telling me how amazing the view was could I.
So with much encouragement and R behind me all the way I made my way up the scary ladders.
This was my nightmare come true. Something so steep that I have to hang on to whatever is by the side of me. Luckily it was a sturdy banister type thing instead of flimsy fence or twigs and there were steps not just the ground slipping away.
And of course R was there.
We got to the top and it truly was breathtaking, (or was that just the stairs) no it really was and we were all by ourselves. Perfect anniversary thing.
R then informed me it was a good job we'd come up as this was the Star Wars shot!
We stayed up there for about half an hour but I then decided if I stayed any longer I wouldn't be able to get down.
Surely I will never have that nightmare again.
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