Monday, July 4, 2011

Getting Sick in Exotic Places

>>>Now new and improved with photos!<<<

While much of our gadding about on Papillon may seem like a long vacation, it should be remembered that this is our everyday life now.  And in everyday life, things happen.  Colds, car accidents, lost post; all of the things you experience at home, but in a prettier locale.

We came to Guatemala with almost the sole object of visiting Tikal.  Although it meant giving ourselves a tougher sailing plan afterwards to get down to Cartagena, we decided it was worth it.  This was, in the main, because Erik is a ruin junkie.  To put it in terms of the SATs, as my father is to historical plaques, so Erik is to ruins.  He cannot resist the remains of any ancient civilization.  When we lived in Germany, we were unfortunate enough to live near the edge of ancient Roman expansion, a line called the Limes (Lee-mess).  At one time, it was a miles-long wall probably four or five meters high, defended by a trench filled with pointy sticks and some highly unhappy and soggy soldiers.  By the time we strolled around, it was a small lumpy track through the forest.  Nonetheless, all visitors to our home were treated to a tour of the mighty Limes, complete with Erik’s dramatic retelling of Olden Tymes Gone Bye.

So Tikal, packed with huge temples, carvings and artifacts, was really a foregone conclusion, never mind that it was a) hundreds of miles inland, and b) totally out of our way.

We packed up the girls, took a boat into town, a long and crowded bus ride north, a further long and less crowded taxi ride, and we reached Tikal National Park by late afternoon.  We settled in, and decided to take a brief walk out to Complex Q before the park closed for the day.  Erik had arranged a guided tour for 6:30 the next morning (yes, really), so we just wanted to get a small taste of the place.  Tikal has hundreds of buildings – most of them still buried in the rainforest – over many square kilometers, so we knew we would have to pick and choose what we would be able to see.  Excited by this small taste of the complex, we set the alarm, went to bed early, and dreamed of the busy day waiting tomorrow.

I woke up perhaps an hour or two later to the sounds of Bad Things Happening in the bathroom.  The girls were still in bed.  Erik was not.

Erik was up the entire night with whatever flu had grabbed him.  It wasn’t pretty.  Before we left for our tour, I bought him a couple of Gatorades from the hotel shop, wished him well, and took the girls out for our 10 km hike.  Even in his reduced state, he was devastated that he would miss Tikal.

The girls and I had a wonderful time.  Stylish walked the whole way, and Indy did a very good job too, considering her tender age.  We heard about the Mayans, climbed temples, looked out over the rainforest, saw spyder monkeys, toucans, grey foxes, pacas, and birds of all sorts.  It was a wonderful morning.

And, as things turned out, Erik got his tour.  We stayed an extra day, and all did the tour again the next morning.  [One thing I will say about Guatemala, the people here are incredibly nice.  Our guide was very cool about Erik switching days, and the girls and me tagging along for round two.  That is typical of our experiences here.]  My counterpart may have been a little grey around the edges, but he saw Tikal, dammit!  And it was awesome.

Indiana Jones explores her roots

Checking out the rainforest from the top of Temple IV

Temple III in the distance
Local inhabitants

I'm here, I made it!
The flu is now making its way through the family.  I had my turn during our night in Flores on the way home and Indy succumbed this morning.  Stylish has been fighting the onset for days now by the simple expedient of not consuming anything, and therefore having nothing to expel.  (At least I don’t need to cook for this crew; plain buns are all anyone wants to eat at the moment.)

And we all agree that, sick or no, Tikal was worth it.


Tamara said...

Sorry to hear things went a bit off the rails. It sounds like you all recovered well and seized the day.

I love reading your posts. Please keep them coming!

bunny9 said...

WE are looking forward to seeing some pictures in the future. Hopefully you will all be feeling better soon.
Love G

bunny9 said...

Thanks,the pics are wonderful
love G

Kate said...

Super Cool. I wish I could have joined you - Tikal, not the flu. Love the posts...