So Kim covered the archeology. Now it´s my turn to cover the animals! But first I wanted to weigh in just a little bit about the archeology too. For those of you only interested in the animal pictures, you can just skip this first paragraph. So here's my take...The times of Indiana Jones archeology are over. You´re not going to be smashing precious artifacts in order to protect and save even more precious artifacts from getting into the hands of Nazis (in fact the new thinking is moving towards covering things back up to protect them), but that doesn´t mean that you can´t enjoy it just the same. The journey to El Mirador was an eye-opening experience for me. It's been a long time since I've been able to get so caught up in my own imagination...feel like a five-year-old kid again, experiencing things for the first time and trying to figure everything out. You know, like that giddy pleasure that Indiana Jones gets when he sees the Grail Tablet at the beginning of Indiana Jones 3: The Last Crusade (although it clearly wasn't the last crusade since he went ahead and made another one). Then we went to Tikal where everything was much more restored and things started making more sense (or so I thought). The progression from the architecture and the layout of the Pre-Classic to the Classic became more clear while still being significantly different and intriguing. Then, when we got to Palenque, everything that I thought made sense was turned on its head. Most everything didn't line up the way it had at the previous two sites, the bases of buildings were not square, so much so that it had to be intentional, and the symetry of the site didn't fit into my builder's asthetic. I left Palenque again feeling like a kid full of questions who had just gone to the museum with his class but still wasn't able to process everything he'd seen and learned. Visiting these sites has filled me with a passion to explore and learn more in a search to find the answers to the questions that still linger days after we left Palenque.
NOW HERE'S WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! I've categorized the photos with their location so that you can put them into some context based on Kim's previous entry. ENJOY! We'll see many of you soon.
Here is a picture from our boat trip down the Rio Dulce.
EL MIRADOR TREK:
Ocellated Turkey-Kim wishes that I'd get all dressed up and dance for her like this!
Baby Spiker Monkey-This little fella put on a show for us two days in a row. Guess the sight of gringos makes him dance.
ARCAS (We've got a lot more pictures of the animals from our week here, but these are the best ones that we weren't able to get pictures of in the wild):
Ocelot (roughly the same size as a medium-sized dog)
Jaguar-Despite what Kim will try to tell you, I was never caught trying to sneak into the Jaguar's cage to cuddle up next to it.
Here's Kim in the Macaw cage. For those of you who know her well, it took a lot of courage for her to go into that cage every day given her phobia of birds. Between that and her climbing Temple V at Tikal, this trip has turned into an opportunity for her to conquer a number of her biggest fears.
Coatimundi-These were running all over Tikal our first day there and we saw one three or four times as big on our trek to El Mirador, but the picture didn't come out as clear.
Brown Jay-You thought that crows in Oregon are annoying. These guys are squawking from before dawn until well after dusk. They jokingly call them the Security Alarm of the Jungle.
Don't know what this is but we saw it in the parking lot waiting for our bus back to Flores.
Howler Monkey-We certainly heard plenty of these. When you first hear them, if you didn't know better you'd think there was a jaguar or some other jungle cat nearby.
I know this isn't an animal but I thought I'd finish up with a picture for my Mom of a beautiful sunset from the top of the tallest pyramid at El Tintal, the last stop on the way back to civilization from El Mirador. Kim wants to make sure that I tell you that I had to take a hundred of these to get this great shot.