Thursday, March 24, 2016

Semana Santa in Chichicastenango

I arrived back in time to see a little celebration in Chichicastenango.  This is the front of the big Catholic Church. There were not as many people in the streets as I thought there would be.

Some of the market stalls were selling Santo Maximóns, also called San Simón.  People place them in their homes and then people pay to come and pray over him with their families.  The bowl in his lap is used for the donations that people give. People also place bottles of liquor, cigarettes, bags of sugar and flowers around him when they pray.

Many cultures had a doll that represents Judas during Easter or the Holy Week. Some culture burn them, fill them with fireworks, beat or flog them.  Here in Guatemala, we see them hanging from some of the electrical wires or hanging from the Catholic Church.

 Later in the afternoon, Judas was moved from his chair and hung from the entrance to the Catholic Church.

It was mid morning and people were still making their carpets in the streets.  They are made with pine needles, colored saw dust, flowers and fruits.

This alfombra is made with fresh flowers

People in the market continue to work to make a days wage.  There are some of the tortilla makers.

Whenever there is opportunity to make a little money.................someone is there to do it :)

This is the lady that I usually buy my fruit from.  She will cut two mangos, and charge me 66 cents.
A few years ago, I ordered a turkey from this her. She killed and leaned it for me and put it in a plastic bag. When I got to my house and opened the bag, I had no idea what to do with all of the turkey parts. I made a puzzle of it on my kitchen table.  The parts that I did not know what to do with, I gave them to my neighbor and she loved them!!

This is a beginning of a parade.  The guys leading the parade are burning incense in cans.  As they wave them through the street, it really affects the visibility.

This is one of the parades with Christ carrying the cross.

I noticed that only young ladies were carrying the cargo.

Below the cargo, you could see all Chichi cortes.
You are never too old to old to follow a good parade!!

I feel bad because as soon as I took this photo, a man and his wife came over and talked to me.  We had talked about 4 years ago when they were here in Chichi.  They told me their names and I should have written them down but I did not.  I told them that I was going to mention them on my blog since they said they always read my blog.  So, if you are from Canada and we talked today, please leave me a message with your names.  I apologize for not remembering.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Second Day of Tikal

I guess the only real disappointing part about the trip was the sunrise.  The climb of Temple IV was not as bad as I had expected.  I climbed it twice and survived. It is 230 ft. tall and is also called the Temple of the Two Headed Serpent. It is the tallest temple in Tikal and was built in 741 AD.

We left the hotel at 0400 to arrive before the sunrise. They encouraged silence so we could enjoy the early morning sounds.

Slowly, we began to see a little light.  There was dead silence.  Then slowly the howler monkeys started from left and then the ones on the right responded.  It sounded like we were being attacked by jaguars!

But it was two cloudy to actually see the sun.  On the left you can see the front of Temple I and the back of Temple II.  To the right,  is Temple III.

Closer view of Temple I and Temple II.

As we came down the temple, we spotted a Coati making a run to get away from us.

This is one of the Mayan Stelae.  Some of these date back to 200-900 AD.

This area is known as the Plaza of Seven Temples. 

This is the top of Temple V.  It is 190 ft tall and is the second largest structure in Tikal.  Unfortunately, we were not able to climb this temple.  It was built between 600 and 700 AD.  This is unlike the other temples because this one does not have evidence of a tomb.

I was not able to get a photo of the whole temple.

I could have easily spent another day here.  I find it fascinating.  I also wonder what people of the the future will think about the world that we live in, when and if hundreds of years pass........hmmmmm............

Monday, March 21, 2016

Tikal in Two Days

First, I am not a historian............and I never will be.  This was the second time for me to visit Tikal because I am so drawn to the culture.  So, I will show you the two days that I spent here and I will also give you some of the history that makes it more interesting.

I did two, four hour guided hikes plus returned on my own to take more photos. There is no way I can show you all of the photos but I will give you a good variety.

You can reach Flores, Guatemala by bus or by air.  I chose to fly, due to time restrictions.  My package included all transportation from Antigua, 4 meals and the two guided tour and the night at the inn.

There are three main hotels inside of the park and I decided to stay at The Tikal Inn. It has the basic accommodations and electricity with hot water for about four fours in the evening.  Don't get too upset over this, because it is YOU who has decided to stay in the jungle.

Before we entered the park, Andres took us to a place where we could see a scale model of  Tikal

It would take us two days to cover all of this territory.  The national park itself is 222 square miles and at one time had 90,000 people living here. Some of the architecture dates back to the 4th century BC.

When you enter the park you will see a cieba tree, which is the national tree of Guatemala.  With the man on the right, it gives you an idea of how large this tree is. They can tower to 100  ft. tall and have branches that span 150 ft. 

This is the back of Temple I.  It faces west and was built in 750 AD and it is also called the Temple of the Jaguar.

In 784 AD, it was used as a burial place.  At the very top is a place with three rooms.  No longer are you allowed to climb this temple.  It is 144 ft. high.

This is the Great Plaza that separates Temple I from Temple II  In the top of the photo, you can see the steps that lead up to Temple I. When you climb Temple IV, you can see the alignment of I and II.

In the center of the Great Plaza is a sacrificial area. All significant events and announcements were made at this area, along with sacrifices. 

This is a view of Temple II, which is in direct alignment with Temple I. It is also called, The Temple of the Masks. This temple is 125 ft. high and can be you can see many people under the doorway. It dates back to 700 AD.

 I thought it was interesting that this bird stayed perched in the same spot all morning on Temple II.

 This is the side that we used to climb Temple II

Then we spend some time walking to the next temple.

 Here is a pavo ocelado.  They are very colorful and can make a lot of noise

This is the North Acropolises.  It contains smaller temples, housing areas, storage areas and tombs. These building date back to 600 BC. 

 This is one of the 10 ft. masks that was uncovered in this area.

 There was always concern for resources so this is a canal that was dug to bring in water for a reservoir.

Many different type of flowers and trees.

Heading up to another acropolis

Lost of moss covered trees.

This is the backside of Temple III.  It is also called the Temple of the Jaguar Priest and is one of the newest found temples.  Currently restoration is ongoing and many problems have taken place.  The temple is splitting and in some other photos you will see the work that is being done

Getting closer...................

Then as you get around, you can see the work that is being done.

Entering another acropolis.

These structure are known as The Lost World.

 Then we had the opportunity to climb Temple IV.  The temple is 154 feet tall and has 187 steps.

From the top of Temple IV, you are able to see the front of Temple I, the back of Temple II and Temple III is on the right.

 Closer view of Temples I and II.

More ocellated turkeys.

I did not have time to read my bird book........something else to do in the future.

Very colorful.

After the 4 hour tour, I went back out to find some monkeys.  These are spider monkeys playing.  There was a family of five jumping from tree to tree.

"I think I can make it!!"

Well, that was my first day in Tikal.  In the morning, we will meet at 0330 to return to Tower IV to watch the sunrise!