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Trevor’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 26 Feb 2006

Location: Tikal, Guatemala

MapHi all.

I have been trying to load some pictures of Guatemala, but have not had success. Either lost the connection or it's too slow.

Ah well. picturas Manana amigos.

I'm overwhelmed by Guatemalan friendliness and courtesy - a beautiful race of people.

I've been here for almost a week now, enjoying every minute of it. After arriving from the UK via Los Angeles, I immediately went to Antigua, a small Unesco-listed city an hour's bus trip from Guatemala City. Guatemala City is not a place to stay in - dirty, noisy and noted for its high crime rate.

Antigua is a lovely place: ruins, cobbled streets, very friendly people and a great climate (at 1,500 metres). I did only 40 kms on my bike there as I was getting over my jet lag. But what a great ride up to a local Mayan vilage in the Western Highland mountains. I just took it easy for 3-4 days then caught another plane - this time just an hour's flight - to Flores. I finally got rid of my bike box and started my cycling proper.

But the first day was hard as my bike legs were rusty. I did 70 kms along a mostly flat road to Tikal, site of significant Mayan ruins. See map on right? Tikal is near Belize in the north of Guatemala. Guatemala's population is about 50% native Indian (Mayan), so I read. Mayans are a lower "caste" and generally looked down upon by the Latinos of Spanish descent. They are the aborigines of Central America.

Traffic is very light as people rarely can afford to buy cars. Good for cycling but restrictive for the people. They walk, ride bicycles or take buses. Tomorrow I return to Flores the way I came, then South through the Western Highlands which is probably my favourite area. I'll have a look at Lake Atitlan and then onto El Salvador where I have to be in 2 weeks time to begin my Spanish course.