I don´t think I could live in the jungle. The foliage is nice, though it´s kind of oppressive when folks burn it. I could get used to the bugs -- sleeping in a hammock surrounded by a mosquito net is a fun way to listen to howler monkeys. But I just feel so lethargic in the humid heat, where I sweat just by sitting around.
But even with the oppressive heat of the jungle, Tikal is awesome. We hitched a ride there in a pickup; the driver didn´t accept any payment for the trip. We ate coconuts and watermellon and hung out in hammocks in the heat of the day until 4 o´clock, when tickets are stamped for the next day. We got great light and blue skies for photos of ruins. We climbed Templo IV and watched colorful birds chase each other above the canopy. Three guards with shotguns stood by as we ducked under the scaffolding and around to the west side to watch a gorgeous orange sun sink into the arbol green sea. We listened to the jungle come alive as we walked out in the dusk. We awoke to the calls of birds and explored the other side of the park. We met an old Mayan park employee who said he´d just done a ceremony in the ancient palace. He said he wasn´t a shaman, but a trabajador de la luz -- a worker of the light. He was also kind of a creepy old man. We watched French tour groups come and go; we climbed a tall ladder to sit atop Templo V and see the rocks peek above the trees. We paid Q15 for a gatorade, but on the whole we got a pretty good deal for a world famous ancient city.
Meanwhile, everyone seems to have gotten their panties in a wad about swine flu. There are a lot of ways to get unpleasantly sick in the jungle, so I don´t think I´ll expend energy hyperventalating about one in particular. I´m sweating just sitting in an Internet café, so I don´t think I´ll sweat about flu in particular.