Iaxha and Flores

This morning we went to Iaxha, the third largest Mayan city-state out of the 102 in this area. The most amazing thing about this site was that aside from us, there was only another small group of people touring the ruins. For all intents and purposes, this site was our private territory, seen as it should be – swallowed by the jungle, becoming one with nature, the only sounds interrupting the silence were the screams of howler monkeys from the tree tops, sounding more like the roar of jaguars than anything that should be uttered by monkeys.
The jungle at Iaxha was artsy – the trees grew both from the ground and from the mounts hiding the ancient structures, they grew every which way forming what could be art installations, some tree trunks decorated with colorful fungi.
Back to the hotel in the afternoon. All hotels we stayed at were decorated appropriately for the areas of their locations. This hotel is in the woods and near archeological sites, so it’s decorated with hunting trophies and Mayan artifacts.
En rote to the airport to fly back to Guatemala City, we stopped in Flores. Flores is a small town taking up an entire small island. I am at a loss to describe it. A cross between La Boca and Valparaiso, this town never had a glorious past, I don’t think so… I think it was born run-down and it’s a mystery to me why the residents decided to paint the walls, doors, windows, and corrugated roofs of their homes in a rainbow of colors, while not bothering to keep up with them afterwards. The paint is peeling and fading, the cobblestone streets are crooked and hunchbacked, the sheets of corrugated steel are slopped randomly to patch up the holes. At first glance, the effect of the town is bewildering, shocking; and then it starts growing on you. To add to the effect, hippies roam the streets, sit on the porches, benches, and in restaurants. The town is like a bouquet of wild wilted flowers, but still creating an effect, affecting all your senses. If it ever becomes gentrified, even ever so slightly, it will be the jewel of Peten!


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