Reports on my cycle trip around the World (by Ernest Markwood)
Saturday, 18 August 2012
TIKAL - HISTORY OF THE MAYA
Apparently a visit to Central America without Tikal,is equivalent to going to Egypt without a look at the pyramids. Well, the ancient Maya archaeological site of Tical also has pyramids, for that matter! From the lake island of Flores Leana and I cycled north-east into the jungle, in search of the past. The cycle to Tikal was not very far, but there were some hills and rain along the way. The Maya ruins of Tikal are situated way out in the jungle, in the National Park which is more than 500 sq km in area. From the park gate it was still a 17 km cycle through dense jungle to the visitor centre and the camp ground. This is a misty, rainy, jungle, so luckily the camp sites had thatched shelters and cement floors. There are lots of wild animals in the park, and even that evening in the camp site we had visitors (wild turkeys, other birds, and various furry creatures with long and short tails, including the noisy howler monkeys). There were also the scarce and very shy impressive Tucan birds with their huge schnozzles (if they were able to introduce themselves, they would probably say:- "Just call me BILL"). At 6 AM the following morning we ducked into the Maya site as the gate opened. The excavated remnants at the site are spread out over quite a large area in the jungle, and it takes at least 4 hours to walk around and see all the sites. I had often seen pictures of the biggest attractions, the pyramid temples. However, these amazing structures are much larger than I had anticipated, jutting out above the jungle canopy for as much as 70 m in height. Early on the misty weather added a sense of surrealism to the scene, and there were few other tourists to break the spell. By the time we had done our thing and were on our way out, we met the busloads of incoming tourists. At the camp site we had some lunch, and then we packed up and cycled back to the junction town from where we will be heading East towards Belize, our next country. Daily distances cycled since Honduras have been:- Chiquimula (Guatemala) 64 km; Rio Hondo 36 km; Quirigua 65 km; Rio Dulce 74 km; San Luis 89 km; Flores 123 km; Tikal 67 km; El Remate 34 km57 The total distance cycled so far on this journey is 97 157 km.
My bike (Old Saartjie) on the first day of this trip, 27 March 2007.
PLEASE HELP TO KEEP OLD SAARTJIE'S WHEELS ROLLING: In order to fund this cycle trip I'd sold everything I had, but that has long gone. Please help if you can! If you want to contribute, then please contact me on my e-mail, and I will give you details. (email@example.com)
My Cycle Route
Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 March 2007 - 138 913 km so far
My name is Ernest Markwood, and I am a South African formerly from Cape Town. I am a Research Psychologist by profession, and operated a Market Research business before embarking on this journey. I sold my posessions and took off by bicycle all the way through Africa from Cape Town. Since then I've proceeded via the Middle-East through Turkey, the Caucusus, Iran, Sub-Continent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal), China, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, South- and Central America, and the USA, crossing Canada from the West to East and then all the way down the East coast of USA, and Jamaica. Currently my mission is to close gaps in order to form a continuous route around the world. I left Cape Town on 27 March 2007. This was not intended to be a race, but rather an experience (and so it is!).
Me (Ernest), on one of my better days
. . . . on this trip I have looked like this . . . .
- - - also like this . . .
. . . . and I've even looked like this!
I have not been cycling on my own for this entire trip. Leana and I left together on 27 March 2007 from Cape Town, South Africa (our former hometown). Since then we have cycled separately at intervals, although in total we have been together much of the time. We split in 2013. For more about her see leananiemand.org.za