Mi Primera Vez en un Otro País (Parte Dos)

Photos from Tikal:

Ruins

Gran Jaguar (aka “Temple I”)
Temple II in the Gran Plaza

part of the Acrópolis Central

one of the twin pyramids of Complejo Q

view of Gran Jaguar in the early morning from atop Temple II

Temples I, II, and III as seen from the top of Temple IV

Samantha and me on Temple IV

A face only a Mayan could love…found in the Mundo Perdido (Lost World)

Acrópolis Norte: the perfect setting for a Spinal Tap concert!

Temple V popping out of the jungle



Birds

lineated woodpecker


surveillance robot or toucan? you decide…

wood thrush

squirrel cuckoo

brown jay

chestnut-colored woodpecker

ocellated turkey

rebellious ocellated turkey

Los Monos!

I fell in love with the monkeys. I could have watched them all day long (and just about did, at every opportunity).  There are two types in Tikal: the spider monkey (mono araña) and howler monkey (mono aullador).  The spider monkeys are aptly named – the way they maneuver themselves in the trees is mesmerizing.  Incredibly graceful, and seemingly very peaceful creatures – they were oblivious to us hominids who watched them with mouths agape.  The howlers make a sound that is otherworldly.  We heard them at various hours in the night, and especially in the early morning and at around sundown.  If you didn’t know what that sound was, and were, say, alone in the jungle at night, I’d be willing to wager you’d quickly need a change of underwear.

Except where otherwise noted, the shots below are of spider monkeys:

first monkey sighting

young howler monkey

 

this photo does not even remotely do justice to how precious the sighting was of this mother and her baby, but it’s the only one I managed to get

Misc.

Roger and me in Acrópolis Norte

Samantha and a Ceiba tree near the park entrance

zooming out…

the Medusa-like top of the same tree

coatis

hominid

After two false starts in my twenties, it took me until the age of 38 to finally travel outside of the U.S. for the first time.  To my long-standing excuses for postponing international travel, I now have this to say:

1)  Cost: There’s no doubt that traveling costs money, but this can be mitigated with some research, resourcefulness, flexibility, and perhaps a bit of good luck (e.g., an invitation along the lines of the one I received from Samantha’s parents).  Over the years, I could have chosen on numerous occasions to travel, but opted not to make it a priority.  In the end, one must weigh the financial cost of travel with the intangible cost of missing out on potentially worthwhile and broadening experiences.

2)  With so many places in the world to choose from, where to even begin?

Answer: Somewhere!

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