Today I´m hanging out in Guatemala City, spending most of my time indoors. It´s been raining for at least a couple hours now. I arrived earlier this morning to find the city nearly deserted. It was strange, so I asked the taxi driver if it was always like this and he explained that today is a national holiday and most people leave the city. He continued to explain that because of this, it´s dangerous to be out walking around. That was of course exactly what I wanted to hear, another warning regarding the danger in Guatemala.
Regardless, I´m staying in Zone 10 of the city which strangely resembles Johnson County, maybe because it has one of the nicest malls I´ve ever seen. It is supposed to be the safest area. In contrast, I got off the bus in Zone 1, which is the most dangerous part of the city and looks similar to downtown San Jose. The difference is so big between one end of the city to the other it´s hard to believe.
Well, since I last wrote something I visited a few more places in Guatemala. Last Saturday, I took a six hour tour of Tikal, the most famous and accessible Mayan ruins in the country. It was really impressive to be in the middle of the jungle and then just see these huge pyramids and temples. Only 15 percent of the city of Tikal has been restored. So, you will just be walking along a path and see hills with trees and grass covering them but they are actually ruins still covered by vegetation. It makes sense considering the Maya abadoned Tikal sometime in the 9th century. We were able to climb a few of the temples and pyramids to get a panoramic view of the area, which is about 16 sq km. It´s hard to imagine what life there might have been like more than 2000 years ago.
We started the tour at 6 am, so by the end it was really hot and we were tired. We spent the rest of the day in Flores relaxing. Then on Sunday I left for Salamá, which is a small city close to Guatemala City. It was a long day of travel...somewhere around 3 or 4 different microbuses. I counted 30 people on one of them, that´s 30 people with 15 actual seats. Fun.
Monday I walked around Salamá, visited the market, watched the people there, etc. It´s a pretty city surrounded by mountains. I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and chatting with a few of the locals.
After all this moving around in Guatemala, I´m really looking forward to going to the beach in El Salvador and staying in one place for more than 2 nights. I´m going to leave here tomorrow morning. The bus to San Salvador takes about 6 hours, so I should be there tomorrow afternoon, patiently waiting for Thomas to meet me there tomorrow night.