Thursday, 10 November 2011

Day 12: Tikal and Isla Flores, Guatemala (187 kms)

We left San Ignacio at dawn and rode the 15 kms to the border crossing with Guatemala. The border was fairly uneventful and took about an hour. For Belize we needed to pay several fees, for Guatemala some fees and some copies of our vehicle, driving and travel documents. Crossing borders in the morning is definitely the way to go.

The road into Guatemala was beautiful and mostly in relatively good shape, with some rare unpaved sections of several kilometers. We were headed for the famous ruins at Tikal and stopped for breakfast at the edge of the park. I carelessly left my keys in the ignition after flipping the "kill" switch and after a delicious breakfast the battery was dead. Nathan was already having trouble with his machine's electrics and so now we had two hobbled bikes. After soliciting help from a man near the park gate and a policeman, we soon had about five guys rummaging around and trying to solve the problem. I managed to convey that I merely needed a jump start. One guy fetched his truck and a length of electrical wire, the kind you'd use to string up a lamp. This even had a two prong plug at one end. After stripping the plug and some plastic coating they held it to my battery terminals and to those of the truck while aggressively revving the truck's engine. But the cable didn't have sufficient transmission capability to power the starter; instead we left it for 15 mins and trickle charged it enough for a start. After all that I nearly stalled the bike taking it off the center stand.

After this, and sincere thank yous, we entered the park and visited the ruins. The site is impressive and I particularly liked the tall proportions of the pyramids here, as well as the view from Templo IV above the jungle canopy with several other peaks poking above the trees.

We left the park around 2:30 and headed to the Isla Flores. Thi charming town on a lake with numerous hotels and restaurants. Our room faced west and after a swim in the lake we watched the sun set on another full and interesting day.

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