It said do not cross, but did that really apply in a downpour? We had climbed the stairs of tower two despite the grumbling from the dark clouds above. The crowd already at the top looked nervous; they clearly didn’t want to be up there in the rain. With a loud cracking noise it fell, and they all scurried down the treacherous stair. Now atop of a Mayan temple, just the two of us, under a floral umbrella, infecting each other with laughter because we were still getting soaked, it only made sense to dodge past that line to shelter.
We looked at tower one kissing the apocalyptic sky, as Alayna told me I must come back to Guatemala for 2012. She insisted it would be the only safe place in the world, because this was the home of the Mayans. Such powerful buildings, these temples. To think that these 4,000 year old wonders were just buried under mounds of dirt in the jungles, only to be found by people looking for gum trees just astonishes me. Who knows how many are still uncovered, and how exciting it must be to discover one!
With the revival of the sun, we slowly made our way down the worst stair in the whole park and pressed on to find the other temples, and monkeys. We were in search of howler monkeys, despite the sign that warned “they like to defecate on the heads of the people below to show their presence and scream loudly”. I still wanted to see them, or at least hear them scream.
The park was like our playground. Every temple we came to was almost our own to climb and explore. If there were people around, they moved along quick enough, leaving us to our own adventurous devices, and solo photos (which never happens). We probably crossed at least three do not cross lines, and found that most of these spaces were dark and smelly anyway, a great reason to run right back out.
While searching out monkeys, we came across a Peacock, a bat house, and a loopy bird that flew in repetitive circles, though I have no idea what kind of bird this was. We followed a Park worker named Antonio to a Mayan fertility goddess statue in the woods. Apparently Mayan people (who know about it) come at night to dance and have sex by fire in front of the artwork, in hopes of having a baby.
Antonio also showed us the entrances to tunnels with Mayan hieroglyphs, and told us if we came back with a flashlight, he could show us them. Little does he know, I definitely intend to go back with a flashlight one day…it’s not often that you get an offer to see something spectacular off the tourist map.
I spotted a few monkeys on our way out of the park, and while we didn’t get to hear them scream, I’m thankful they decided not to defecate on us. Maybe next time they’ll howl for me. I wonder if a banana would help?