We left Tikal today, but not before a visit to an onsite museum (for additional charge of course¹). I paid the entrance fee while Sarah waited for me to report back if the one room gallery was worth the price.
Like white men that visited foreign lands before me, I promptly ignored the wishes of the locals. In this case I ignored the “no photography” sign, the one with the red circle through a camera.
The signs were at least twenty years old. The particular camera in the “no photography” sign was clearly a film camera and I was shooting digital. Its brother, the “no video” sign, displayed a shoulder-mount betamax camera. It was obvious that old technology, such as betamax recording, would cause damage to the stelae, lintels and other Mayan crafted objects so gingerly removed from the original sites by picks, pry bars and sometimes dynamite.
Conscious of the damage caused by flash photography, I did refrain from using a fill-flash. One final confession — all text and placards were in Spanish. When I did not understand what they said, I photographed louder, often repeatedly taking the photograph at a volume of 11.
Now, on to my interpretation of the history and rediscovery of Tikal based on my understanding of the Spanish language descriptions.
The 1882 Exploration of Tikal
The 1895 Exploration of Tikal
The 1950’s Explorations of Tikal
The 1960’s Explorations of Tikal
Stelae, Lintels and Round Sculptures
Epilogue: Leaving Tikal
Words and pictures do not do justice to any of the ruins we have visited so far. We debated spending another day but were a bit “ruined out” and decided to move on.
On our way out we witnessed a coati, a member of the raccoon family, being a pest, just like it’s masked cousin.
We tempted fate by eating some soup at a roadside stand. This is always a dangerous prospect. Almost fifteen years ago, after hiking through part of Copper Canyon, near Creel, Mexico, my friend Jess and I came down with a horrible case of food poisoning. We ate some soup that contained, what we suspect, undercooked chicken. Making matters worse, our bodies decided to void themselves, repeatedly from head and tail, when our toilet stopped flushing — after the town’s water was shut off for the night.
¹Apparently, in an ongoing effort to ignore their customers, all of the complaint letters, emails and phone calls to cable providers such as Comcast, Time Warner, etc. regarding unbundling of channel packages automatically get forwarded to the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sports. The Ministry has taken note of all of their displeased customers and has unbundled their National Park Offerings. The per day entrance fee for Tikal (~20USD for foreigners) has been unbundled from the park map charge (~2.5 USD), the onsite historical museum entrance fee (~4 USD), the onsite ceramics museum entrance fee (~4 USD), and the optional early entrance fee to see the sunrise from Temple 4 (requiring a mandatory guide, ~13 USD per person).
Time Warner, Comcast and Direct TV in association with the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sports, in a continued effort to offer better service and value to their customers, announced a pilot program for unbundling channel offerings.
Customers may now order the History Channel as a stand alone option. Please note, this only applies to analog customers. Customers choosing to order the History Channel outside of any channel bundle package will no longer have access to digital, high definition, on demand, sports and color programming.