Thursday, February 20, 2003

Slept in today - hooray! - and had an early lunch at Escalofrio Café. A huge, wonderful burrito is 25 quetzales and a 32-ounce Tecate is 15. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by!

A colorful street in Flores

Flores is the capital of El Petén, and is located on an island in Lago Petén-Itzá. It is linked by a bridge to the larger neighboring mainland town of Santa Elena. Flores is all pastel and cobblestone - very attractive - but it's blisteringly hot! Thank God we're here in February. It must be murder in August.

Lanchas for hire

We stocked up on water and cerveza and walked down the street to hire a lancha. José wanted 140Q for a one-hour trip around the island, but Tom talked him down to 100 ($13). José and his partner took us out a ways in the lake, then told us about mirador (lookout point). Did we want to go there? But of course.

The mirador

The mirador, which was a platform in a tall tree, was located on a little peninsula jutting out into the lake and was inside the sitio arqueologico Tayazal.

An island in Lago Petén-Itzá

It was about 180 stairsteps up to the mirador in the scorching sun - and on our day off! - but it was spectacular! We had a great view of the lake and of Flores.

City of Flores, capital of El Petén, Guatemala

Back in the lancha, we finished our trip around the island. What a great way to spend the day!

We made arrangements with San Juan Travel Agency for transportation to and from Tikal tomorrow and back to Palenque the next day. Then we retreated into the air conditioning to await the (relative) cool of nightfall. Actually, the heat wasn't so oppressive in the shade, and we spent some considerable time people-watching from the terrace of our hotel. Tom bought a bottle of Old Friend, a Guatemalan whiskey, and I told him "Vaya con Dios!" (Go with God!) It was terrible.

Flores is crawling with hippies. They come to feel the "energy" of the pyramids at Tikal. Happily, you mainly just see them at night, like vampires.

Continue to Day 6

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