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What I owe to the tarpon

January 24, 2016

Part 3:  Bumbling around Guatemala

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Upon arriving at the main bus terminal in Belize, I began to plan out my next few days.  All of the tourist buses to Guatemala had departed for the day, so I took the “public” bus to the border.  Once I got to the border, there would be eventually be a bus to Flores, where I would stay the night.

The public bus was so packed that a few of us sat in the isles for several hours.  There I was sitting sweaty, uncomfortable, and very much liking what I had gotten myself into.

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As we traveled deeper into Belize, things started looking very different.

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In the distance, I could spot Guatemala’s mountains.

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When we got to the border there was a man offering to exchange my Belize currency saying it was my “last chance”.  For some reason I thought he was just trying to hustle me and I ignored him.  As soon as I crossed the border, it quickly dawned on me that nobody spoke English anymore and I had no local currency.  I improvised by making swiping motions with my bank card and flailing my arms.  Luckily, I had already booked my bus to Flores and everything was paid for.

When I got to my hostel in Flores that evening, I had the chance to redeem myself at the cajero, or bank machine in English.  Phew!  I don’t think I’ll ever forget that word.

I had an hour or two of sleep before beginning a sunrise tour of the Tikal ruins.

Arriving at the ruins well before sunrise, the haunting, undulating calls of howler monkies beckoned us further into the dark as we hiked up to the lookout.

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Back in Flores, I booked my next bus to Antigua which was departing after dark.  I took advantage of the few remaining daylight hours to fish on Flores’ urban shores of Lake Peten Itza.

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The locals put on a clinic, but I snagged a few cool fish for myself as well.

Blacktail cichlid
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Banded tetra
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As well as species I had caught previously:

Yucatan gambusia
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Salvini cichlid  Edit April 6, 2015:  Thanks to Elijah for pointing out that this is a new species for me.  Blue flash cichlid P1172379 1024x768 What I owe to the tarpon

I noticed they had caught a cool cichlid that I had thought to be either a bay snook (petenia splendida) or a jaguar guapote.

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Either way it would be a new species for me.  They offered me some of their earthworms, but I failed to catch one.  Later, Ken identified them as jaguar guapote yellowjacket cichlid so it wasn’t too big of a deal, I’d catch one of those eventually  was a big deal!  What a cool fish!  Maybe I’ll be back one day (Edit April 12, 2016).

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After sunset I caught the overnight bus which would take me far away into the heart of Guatemala, Guatemala City.  From there I would take a smaller bus to the city of Antigua.

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