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CENTRAL AMERICA GUATEMALA AND BELIZE.

Or I loved it but it’s harsh….. oh, and Belize the same.

THE PERFECTION THAT IS SEMUC CHAMPEY.

ALERT: I’M SHOWING YOU THE PRETTY PICTURES SO I DON’T PUT YOU OFF COMING HERE WITH WHAT I SAY! A LOT OF GUATEMALA HASN’T BEEN POSTED YET AND THIS IS ONLY GETTING DONE AS I’VE BUGGERED MY FOOT HERE IN MEXICO SO AM HAVING TIME OUT AND REST AT THE POSH MARRIOT IN VILLAHERMOSA.

ANTHROPOLOGY MUSEUM G.C.

The change in atmosphere of Central America was to me startling. I know it’s reputation but I’d been in places in South America that had been sketchy so I thought it would be fine to my seasoned travelling know how.

GUATEMALA CITY’S POPUL HO
BOY ON BOAT WITH THE VERY TYPICAL AND BEAUTIFUL MAYAN PROFILE SEEN ON ALL THE ANCIENT ART

Alone and scared in Guatemala City

It was not. It felt scared.

I had booked in to zone 10 that is supposed to be the safest and most opulent but still it felt uneasy. I cabbed it to the hotel and immediately saw that basically we were caged in to protect us. It wasn’t until the following day I really got it. I went to the Popul Vuh museum that was fantastic but on leaving had a problem about how to get a safe taxi in this area. Finally after many thwarted attempts I asked at the museum and they booked for me. This seemed crazy I had to get a chip for safety this place was clearly menacing. Even going to the nearby mall was a challenge and armed guards were on every corner. I bought a chip for my phone from a Claro kiosk so I would have a number and data and uploaded my old friend the Uber app so I wouldn’t get stuck at more remote venues . Having done this I felt much better. I would not leave myself defenceless here. Not cool 😎

GC’S MODERN ART MUSEUM

I had travelled all over South America and not once felt so vulnerable and threatened, indeed that night I heard a guest from the hotel had been robbed right outside at 9 at night.

SERENE BEAUTY BUT HIDDEN DANGER? ATITLAN LAKE AND VOLCANOES

Although I had a fabulous time there and there are magnificent things of great beauty, this essentially is a third world country that is violent and difficult for a solo traveller let alone a female one. Think long and hard my old birds about travelling here. I met up with a snorkelling pal from the Philippines last year but still did a lot alone because we had only the snorkelling in common as to what we wanted to do. Both of us found sections very threatening and only super touristy venues are safe ish!

FOOTBALL PAST AND PRESENT?

ALERT: Let’s be clear I’m not exaggerating. In lake Atitlán my friend wanted to climb the San Pedro Volcano and could have, if he wanted to risk being mugged and or attacked. Countless reports on Trip Advisor and other social media reported being attacked and robbed by men wielding machetes. Most also took shoes and jackets as well as the obvious valuables. No back street should be deemed safe. No going out after dark. No touristy bling. No having alcohol unless you’re at your hotel or have organised a cab. People have been robbed on less popular sites and ruins. Things left in rooms,especially in Belize where most people travel to for snorkelling while in Guatemala, have been cleaned out while people are on the boat tours they came for. No opening wallets in public. No using your phone on the street unless you stop in a doorway of a reputable shop to do so viewing all around as potential thieves. As much as you don’t want to go down empty streets you don’t want to be in crowds either. Sorry about this but I need to get this into your heads before you go so you are safe. Once you’re aware of all this then you can enjoy what is a majestic and historically rich country with an abundance of things to do.

SAFETY ON MY TERRACE FOR A COUPLE OF RUM AND COKES MAN!

I was in Guatemala City til my mate arrived then we went straight onto Cobán by bus. We arrived at night and although together, we were scared shitless.

COBANS NOT SO FRIENDLY ALIGATOR SUNBATHING ON THE STEPS!!!!

Stayed there two days until arduous journey (the horrible desperate for a wee bus journey) to the legend that is Semuc Champey.

SEMUC CHAMPEY. I CLIMBED TO THAT BLOODY VIEWING PLATFORM FOR YOU LOT!!

(you need to go to San Augustin Languin first) then it’s a 4×4 bone rattling ride to the place. (I had booked the hotel closest to the entrance which was a very wise move)

FISH PEDICURE IN THE ROCKPOOLS.

After two nights there we had to return to Coban to get a bus to Flores (many encounters with some vile young Israeli travellers) which was a nightmare.

Onto Tikal and Yaxja

Two nights there (I had serious food poisoning and had to stay in bed) then on to Tikal (I stayed two nights there and also visited another site Yaxja where I fell over in the mud running from the howler monkeys)

ARE THESE THE TOADSTOOLS THAT THE SHAMENS USED FOR THEIR PIPES?
Being heavily rained on at Tikal!
TEMPLE AT TIKAL WITH THE OLDEST KNOWN CODICES ON THE BACK.
IN MY 4X4 ON THE WAY FROM TIKAL TO YAXJA
YAXJA
Yaxja.
Tikal.
Codices of the Mayans.

Then onto Belize and Caye Caulker for snorkelling (fabulous nearly as good as Bunaken Indonesia).

Belize Caye Caulker for Snorkelling.

BEING VERY DAFT AS RESERVE MANAGERS LOOK ON
JUST ARRIVED EXHAUSTED.
MISTY MANATEE NOT MEEEE!

Then another crushing bus ride (literally, the man in front of me had a faulty seat and kept pushing it back and crushing my legs) to Guatemala City and onto Antigua then lake Atitlán for three nights (oldest church in Central America),

Antigua

….. then Antigua one (placed my hand on McDonalds private parts),

One last night in Guatemala City.

…..Guatemala City and last one at airport hotel (extremely nice and cheap and two minutes from airport). As you can see it was hectic but for the most part soooo worth it.

G.C. Modern Art Gallery

The entire trip was either terror, wonder or long bus journeys so be prepared it’s harsh mistress but a worthy one.

OVER AND OUT FROM ANDREAS TOO! SEE YOU NEXT YEAR?

OVER AND OUT FROM HARD CORE REBECCA XXX

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Adios PERU, hola COLOMBIA!(again)

Or how I forgot I hate holiday resorts.

ALERT: A review of hotels and places and tips coming. More comprehensive and less garbled so bear with me folks I’m getting on it!

PERU has been a mixed box of chocolates. Favourites that you lust and dribble over, the hard ones that when you finally get into them are delicious, ones you bite into and spit out and ones you half like but only have once the good ones have gone. Then there’s the soft centres that nobody really likes but eat in desperation at the end of Christmas.

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ON THE WAY TO TRUJILLO.

Or, at last I find peace in Peru and Cool Dudes!

ALERT: WordPress playing up so this is lacking some captions and coherence! Bear with me on this it’s very frustrating and taking me ages to do ANYTHING!

I liked Cusco well enough but it was a tourist trap par excellence. It begged, bullied, cajoled and ripped you off. Soul shrivels in these vital transit points, just look at Aguascalientes!

Pink Art Deco is good!
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PISCO SOURS IN CUSCO.

OR ALTITUDE SICKNESS AND NARROW STREETS.

Grab hold of a Pisco sour and let Cusco entrance you, add a tasty ceviche and you’re good to go on your first day! This place is full of excellent restaurants and bars to get your teeth into without getting on the phrenetic tourist trail. you’ll have plenty of time for that later! Enjoy and welcome to Cusco.

A waiter preparing me the Pisco house special.
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LIMA DISAPPOINTS.

OR HOW PERU DEMANDS YOU SHOW YOU’LL LEAVE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE!

Shurely not!!

The flight with VivaAir had been cheap and was direct from Medellin but here ended the benefits. A whopping 50 quid was added to my bill for my case and the vile young man with braces and spots simpered about that, then relished telling me that I couldn’t enter Peru without an outbound ticket to another country. The weak WiFi in the airport threatened to make me miss the flight as I desperately tried to book a flight on a random date to bloody Bolivia. I was trying on both my iPad and my phone to see which would be the fastest picking up a signal. Spotty boy smirking made me determined and I managed to book my passage to La Paz AND pay my excess baggage with minutes to spare.

MEDELLIN, MUSEUMS AND ESCOBAR!

OR THE BEAUTIFUL CITY AND ITS DRAMATIC HISTORY.

My favourite painting sends a Twin Peaks vibe. Medellin Antioquia Museum

After the peace and quiet of San Augustin and Tierradentro I arrived in the hustle and bustle of this, for the most part, wonderful city.

The amazing afternoon light.
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ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD.

OR MAMBO AND MAMU SHOWS ALL.

ALERT: MY FLIGHT TO NEIVA IS SIX HOURS LATE SO I PAID FOR VIP LOUNGE TO WAIT OUT THE STORM IN COMFORT. WISH ME LUCK THINGS DON’T GET WORSE! I SHOULD BE KNOWN AS THE TYPHOID MARY OF FLIGHT DEPARTURES! I’M SOOOOOO TIRED ……

It’s been a fabulous first few days in Bogota but tomorrow I must leave for Neiva, but before I do here’s another glut of photos from the very fine Gold Museum, and the Miguel Urrutia Art Gallery Complex MAMU, along with the rest of my shennanagins!