A Travellerspoint blog

the wheels on the bus go round and round and round and round

and round and round and round and round

sunny 31 °C

are we just thick or are buses in San Salvador not that easy to navigate? we spent over an hour and a half today, on a trip that should have taken us about 10 mins. problem being, we had no idea where we were or where we were going, so no idea when to get off. eventually got kicked off miles away at the depot where the route finished.....found a friendly guard (rare) who told us to wait and another one would pick us up in a minute. (or at least we think thats what he said. could've been 'you stupid english tourists, wait here and a bus will take your sorry asses back to the centre where you belong'. who knows.) aaanyway we finally made it...we think....i think the museum we're trying to find is just around the corner but ian wanted to check internet so i thought i'd update you all on our incompetence, in case never find our way back again!

take care guys!

erica and ian, the wandering eejits xxxxx

p.s. oh yeah and El Salvador seems nice so far! fast food joints EVERYWHERE tho....its all very american. but we're enjoying it! went to the cinema, needed a little treat! :)

Posted by ericurly 14:19 Archived in El Salvador Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Antigua, spanish classes and the pub quiz

an intellectual week all round then

sunny 32 °C

Hey everyone :)

sorry its been a while, it's been a busy week! it all started a week last saturday when we came to Antigua. Due to delayed buses we didnt arrive until 9pm, and every hostel seemed to be full - it was thanksgiving weekend and lots of americans had come down for the week. eventually, when i was starting to feel like i was in a nativity play, being told there was no room at every inn (more like the donkey than mary tho, with the backpack getting heavier on my back by the second) one friendly hotel owner took pity on us and drove us up to his friend's hotel which had rooms available. it was on the outskirts and a little more than we wanted to pay but we were exhausted after 11 hours travel and just wanted to sleep so we gratefully accepted.

the next morning we found a little guest house/posada called Los Ecuentros, very nice little place for a good price, with free internet, drinking water, a kitchen to use and fantastic breakfasts (the best pancakes in town, hands down!) we also enrolled in a Spanish school, to start the next day at 8am, doing 4 hours each morning mon-fri. (academia antiguena).

so having sorted that out, we had some food, wandered around......and found there was an Irish pub called reillys which was running a pub quiz that night, so off we went.....thought it'd jsut be a bit of fun! there were 11 teams in total, our team being just ian and i until halfway thru round 2 when a bloke called steve from gloucester came over and asked if he could join us - we gladly accepted, and continued the quiz. on rounds 3 and 4 we got two clear rounds, which earned us free shots from the bar...we'd forgotten at this point that we were starting school at 8am the next day....finally after 5 rounds they read out the scores........yes, thats right, we won!!!! they offered us the choice of taking the jackpot or buying everyone a beer, and we reckoned the beer was probably the right thing to do, but even after that they still brought us over 400 quetzals change! we didnt realise how big the jackpot was!! obviously, we ended up raaaather drunk, and staggered home to bed. TIP: don't try to learn a new language with a hangover. it's not so much fun.

still, was a great night!

next day we started the spanish school with our lovely hangovers. luckily we had a very nice teacher with a good sense of humour, called Julia, who wasn't too hard on us. the spanish has been really quite hard, mainly cos we only had one week so we were bombarded with a lot of info very fast. still, i think im doing alright, just need lots of practice and revision and maybe some more lessons in a few weeks or so.

apart from the lessons, im not sure where the rest of the week went...we tended to be pretty tired from gettting up at 7am every day, so lots of naps....oh and ian went out to watch the football on weds night so he had another nice hangover to cope with on thurs. on weds afternoon we went up to the Cerro de la Cruz (hill of the cross, literally big hill with a cross on it), which gives amazing views over the city, and good exercise climbing the hill!

Friday was our 2 year anniversary, we went out for a little meal .- unfortunately the restaurant was not good, food was horrible, which was a shame :( ah well you live and learn. had to get to sleep early anyway, becayse we had to be up at 5am next morning to......

climb a volcano! Pacaya volcano is an active volcano, an hour and a half from Antigua. we got the bus with 6 others - 4 american girls, one french dude and Alan, our new Scottish friend we met at Spanish school this week. the climb was really tough, especially for me, being not very fit! after we finally reached the top, we began to climb across the solidified lava towards the glowing red lava. solidified lave is not fun to climb across - its's hard and jagged, and unstable in places - one of the girls fell and cut her shin open, and another got some grazes and scrapes. still, i got pretty close to the lava and the others went about 30 yards closer (i'd had enough by then, i am not a mountain goat). from what i could see from where i was and what they told me, it was pretty impressive, and very hot! was strange when i was sitting on my own waiting for them to come back - for a minute they were out of sight and i looked around, thinking it was like being in some armageddon-type film, or the matrix....everything just scorched and grey, but amazing to see. ian and alan toasted a banana and some bread on a stick, which was tasty!

everntually we climbed back down, and collapsed into the bus, back to Antigua for some more nap time :) well deserved, might i add. i was quite proud to not have too many pulled muscles the day after!

Sunday we just chilled out a bit, then on monday we went to Monterrico. i liked it there until sunset, when the most mosquitos i have ever seen descended upon us. In general i decided i wasnt keen on the place - it was too hot and humid, and the next morning the toilets, showers and sinks packed in ( no water) and they seemed in no rush to fix it, so we decided to come back to Antigua, and catch the bus from here in the morning to San Salvador. Shame to leave monterrico so soon, but i wasn't enjoying it, and there will be other beaches....i think maybe i made the decision too fast, should've given it more of a chance, but never mind we've done it now! so off to el salvador tomorrow.....bye bye guatemala! I've enjoyed it here but it's time to move on, lots more countries to see!

thats all for now folks, apologies for spelling mistakes im in a bit of a rush cos there was so much to write! will edit later perhaps...

bye for now,

love Erica and Ian xxx

Posted by ericurly 18:04 Archived in Guatemala Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Spiritual sunrise

Tikal

sunny 29 °C

16th November 2007, Flores, El Peten, Guatemala - this morning we got up at 2.50am to catch a bus to Tikal, "the mother of all Mayan sites", to watch the sunrise. For days it had rained but this morning the sky was clear, and scattered with hundreds of stars as we drove, bleary eyed, for an hour and a half.
Stumbling out of the bus, we shivered at the entrance as we met our guide, Louis, who then led us on our 40 minutte hike in the darkness to Temple IV. we climbed the many many rickety wooden steps to the top of the temple, then sat to watch the sun rise. I've not seen many sunrises in my life, but I can still say that this one was truly gorgeous. for the next half hour or so, the only sound from the group was that of cameras clicking and whirring, recording one of the most beautiful sights i have seen so far.

When we arried at the top the dawn was just breaking...we watched in silence as the colours changed and intensified, as mists swirled and rose from the valley beneath us, shrouding the trees and temples, then catching the light and slowly dispersing, revealing the lush tropical rainforest all around us.

the sounds were amazing too - bats squeaking, toucans and parrots squawking and howler monkeys screaming - which is really quite blood-curdling if you{ve never heard it before. even more so when you hear it for the first time at 5am, in a hut in the middle of the jungle, disturbingly close....

anyway, finally the sun was up, and we began our tour of the rest of the site, which really was very impressive, far bigger and more atmospheric than the others we've seen, and greatly enhanced by the guide with his hilarious accent that seemed to encompass about 8 different nationalities. the tour lasted 4 hours, during which we saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, toucans, parrots, a tarantula, a scorpion, army ants, and many other birds and insects, plants, and of course the temples themselves. the rainforest was awesome - people visiting later in the day miss so much, the morning was so beautiful and tranquil, well worth getting up at 3am for!

right at the end, in the grand plaza, which is a square surrouded by temples, the guide showed us his final party piece; if you stand in the very centre, and clap your hand loudly, there is the strangest echo ......it actaully says "Ti-Kal" !! no joke, it's the strangest thing, you have to hear it to believe it. the mayans were some very very intelligent people - how they built all this, and engineered the echos etc, and all without metal tools, the wheel or pack animals....it is beyond me!

The experience was exhausting but i am so glad we went - it was breathtaking, spellbinding, and totally awesome.

If anyone ever has the chance to go to Guatemala, go to Tikal, and go at sunrise....you'll never forgive yourself if you miss it.

that's all for now folks, more pictures soon i promise,

love erica and ian xxx

Posted by ericurly 13:12 Archived in Guatemala Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

photos again

ok im really confused now, i cant seem to find a link on here for you lot to look at my photos which is weird, and im not allowed to add links till i have 10 blog entries. so, try going to

http://www.travellerspoint.com/photos/gallery/users/ericurly/

and hopefully you can see them there. they're quite small cos i have a download limit so had to compress them all but u get the idea! xx

Posted by ericurly 15:33 Comments (1)

Photos, Subscribing, and the big Blue Hole

sunny 30 °C

hey everyone,

first of all sorry, no you´re not all stupid, you couldn´t see the photos because i hadn´t edited them with locations etc, but i didnt realise - i´ve fixed it now i think, so try again.

Also, gold stars to Uncle David who realised that you can subscribe to this blog - i hadn´t noticed! click on the link to the right saying ¨subscribe¨and type in your email address, and it´ll email you when i add anything new to the page, instead of you having to check all the time! clever eh? ;)

soooooooo, what to tell you? Well, we have been to the Blue Hole. Ian has scuba dived in it - i´ll ask him to add some detail about that, but he said it was amazing, there were lots of sharks, and it´s so deep......divers far more experienced than him were intimidated by it, but he took it all in his stride as ever! i snorkelled around the edge, which was also pretty cool :) lots of fishies, and beautiful coral.

The journey was not so cool. i had not bargained on how ill a speedboat ride across choppy open water can make a person feel. i was a wreck, litereally clung on to ian for the entire 2 hour journey whilst all the experienced divers sat back enjoying the ride and offering advice. bless them they were all really concerned about me, and lent me a hat and swapped seats, and brought drinks etc.....nice people! Ian also deserves a medal for putting up with me digging my nails into his arm for over an hour.....

So eventually we got there, we dived and snorkelled, then did another dive close by, then lunch on a little island -

may i just take a moment here to declare our love for Rice and Beans. particularly with stewed chicken and potato salad. and also to say eat it in the cheapest place possible, prefereably from a street vendor, because it´s far far tastier than in more expensive restaurants!

aaaaanyway, the Blue Hole trip was great, but left me exhausted - we started at 5.30 am, and returned at about 4.30 pm, during which time i got seasick, sunburnt, dehydrated, windswept, soaked through and generally knackered......but it was worth it, it was a great experience!

we are now in guatemala - we were supposed to come yesterday but the flight was cancelled due to bad weather, so we got up at 6.30 this morning to get a little flight to belize city and then a bus from there to Flores, near Tikal in Guatemala. this is where we´re staying for the next two nights. we´re going at 3.20am (!) tmorrow morning to see the mayan ruins at Tikal for sunrise - its one hell of an early morning but its supposed to be worth it, and we´re with a proper guide and everything so thats good.

right im out of time so i better go - time to find tacos!

love from

Erica and Ian xxxx

MORE INFO ON THE BLUE HOLE....

The Hole used to be, once upon a time millions of years ago, a complex system of dry caves. Scientists believe there were a couple of peculiar events that made the Hole what it is today. First, an earthquake of such force it might have tilted Lighthouse Reef, the area where the Blue Hole is located, to an angle of 12 degrees. Secondly, the melting of the last Ice Age flooded the cave system. Eventually, the porous limestone ceilings of the caves became incapable of supporting their own weight and they crumbled, leaving an almost perfectly round and deep hole in the process. a bit like a giant pupil in a sea of turquoise.

For all the practical purposes the over 400-foot depth makes the Blue Hole a bottomless pit. The walls are sheer from the surface until a depth of approximately 110 feet where you begin to encounter stalactite formtions which actually angle back, allowing you to dive underneath monstrous overhangs. Hovering amongst the stalactites, you can't help but feel humbled by the knowledge that the massive formation before you once stood high and dry above the surface of the sea eons ago. The feeling is enhanced by the dizzying effect (feels like you have had a few drinks) of nitrogen breathed at depths. The water is motionless and the visibility often approaches 200 feet , but most divers only go to 130/ 150 max.

www.belizetrip.com/trippic/BlueHole.jpg

Posted by ericurly 16:02 Archived in Belize Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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