We had a flightseeing tour over Guatemala scheduled for the day – but early this morning, Ponzi’s body forced us to change our plans. She slept her way through most of the morning hours while I watched Pirates of the Carribean (Dead Man’s Chest) for the first time. No pirates in these Carribean waters now (that I can find)! Today’s excursion would have taken us to Tikal:
Although this region was home to Maya communities as early as 600 BC, Tikal wasn’t established until around 200 BC. By 500 AD, it’s estimated that the city covered more than 18 square miles and had a population of close to 100,000. The great temples that still tower above the jungle were at that time covered with stucco and painted with bright reds and greens. By the 6th century, Tikal governed a large part of the Mayan world, thanks to a leader called Caan Chac (Stormy Sky).
I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to view more of Guatemala’s amazing landscape. After lunch on the Regent Seven seas Voyager, we ventured down into the port’s shopping pavilion. Ponzi and I walked up and down the aisles, seeing thousands of trinkets and unique crafts alike. My dad would be proud of my vastly improved bargaining and negociation skills; as a child, I couldn’t bid a merchant lower to save my wallet. Price on the coffee grounds was set in stone (so to speak), but I found $6.00 more than fair for a pound of pure Guatemalan coffee.
I think the biggest gift we received today was from the population of Santo Tomas de Castillo. As we were preparing to set sail, dozens of local taxis and shopkeeps lined themselves parallel to our ship – to the tune of hundreds of vehicles and random Guatemalans. The cars started to flash their lights and sirens, dancing ensued, and everybody was waving us good-bye. It was an awesome sight – very heartwarming, and quite memorable. I can’t wait to share the video!