Tikal

We alighted in the small lake ‘island’ of Flores early on in the evening with tour operators trying to sell us tours, and drivers telling us that bank machines were closed and to use other ones that only they know. Luckily we had been warned of the pre-alighting sales blurb and falsities that are thrown at you when Gringos arrive at any towns in the vicinity of Tikal, and so it was that we found ourselves with some travelling friends at the great Los Amigos Hostel ordering a beer, and booking ourselves onto the next days Tikal Sunrise Tour. With Tikal being over an hour away from Flores however, and with sunrise wanting to be viewed from the tallest of the ancient Mayan temples – Temple IV – also around an hour’s walk from the park entrance, the sunrise tour starts from the hostel at the ungodly hour of 3am. The bathroom was unsurprisingly empty as we brushed our teeth, and with perfect timing we walked to the front door and were quickly whisked onto the small bumpy collectivo that was to be our ride to the park entrance. Intermittent sleep and non-conversation was had by all and before we knew it we jumped off the bus into the world famous park, to be greeted by Mayan rain. However, not to be deterred, head torches and rain jackets were donned and our guide took us round the sites briskly and efficiently as the rain slowly ceased and the dark slowly lifted. 45 minutes later and we were all climbing the steep steps of Temple IV to sit upon the steps of a temple from a different era overlooking the forest canopy. We were not to have a perfect sunrise, far from it; grey clouds...

El Mecico Nov21

El Mecico

It was with a sense of adventure and a feeling of backpacking proper that I took an assured step off the red-eye flight from San Diego to Cancun. I had previously alighted in Cancun airport, and had stayed at the same hostel, only 18 months prior on an explosive lads holiday with J-man, a friend from University, so knew the in’s and out’s of the bus system and the layout of downtown Cancun – often the most troublesome times for a backpacker of getting from a alighting point to hostel. Mirroring the change in travelling mantra and lifestyle choice from our Alaskan cruise to San Francisco, the step down in the proverbial ladder of change from San Diego to Mexico was taking us to a backpacking lifestyle in the vein that mums and dads believe how backpacking looks. We were carrying our life on our backs (in our packs), we were ending up in foreign non-English speaking countries and walking 2miles instead of taking a taxi to save ourselves a dollar. We had booked ourselves just two nights at the party orientated Quetzal Hostel in the grimy, sweaty, dirty, nightlife loving, American spring break craziness city of Cancun. On the backpacking scene the city is generally considered a place to party, drink, sleep in and repeat – and although I’d done it before (loving the infamous Coco Bongo’s nightclub) – Han and I were using it a base to see Chichenitza, arguably the most famous East Mexican ruins before quickly moving on to the more sedate and cultural Merida. I struggled to not join in the drinking games and party the night away, even when free tequila was given out with dinner; my social, party, sin driven devil arguing with my conscious, early morning...