A Walk in the Jungle gif

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A Change in Plans

After watching the sunset on “El Tigre,” I left the group to take a much needed bath at the pond on the other end of the park. When I rejoined the rest of the group, I was confronted by several of the Peace Corps guys. They said they wanted me to go back by myself with one of the guides. The director of the park was flying in the next day with a group of potential donors to show them around the ruins. Instead of heading back, the Peace Corps group wanted to stay another day to get a personalized tour from the park director. The famous friend explained that he was paying extra for his friends to stay and made it very clear that I was not invited. I resisted, saying I would pay the extra amount and that I was very uncomfortable making the two day trip back to Carmelita by myself. On top of that, I felt it wasn't a smart thing to do and was possibly unsafe. Their tone suddenly turned suprisingly hostile. They darted glances at each other and came up with other reasons why I must go. I realized they were ganging up on me.

In the end, someone had to go back to meet the driver who would be there to pick us up in Carmelita. There was no way to contact civilization or call anyone from the park. So, Alan and I, the two lone travellers not part of the Peace Corps group had to go by ourselves along with Nino, who at 17 year old, was the youngest guide.

The mud!
View of wet mud.
That's me walking in the mud.
Me from behind, walking in the mud.

We headed back out on the trail once more. I still had blisters on my feet, but now I had popped the skin and wrapped them in duct tape. Once again, we had to wade through the lake and trudge through the endless mud. We were granted the horse and all took turns riding it on the trail. Surprisingly, this system, along with the fact that there were only three of us, made for faster travel. We spent the night at the camp we were originally meant to stay at the first day. There was an orange tree nearby and I must say that I never enjoyed eating oranges as much as I did on that day.

Civilization! View of Carmelita from the trail.
View of the town coming out of the trail.
Alan, Nino, and me back in Carmelita.
Me from behind, walking in the mud.

The next day, we hiked through more mud and finally made it back to Carmelita in the early afternoon. The driver was there to meet us and we drove back to Flores. Alan went back to his host family, who he was staying with while studying Spanish. I went to the office of the travel agent, where I had stored my bags for the trip. “What happened?” he asked me. “Why didn't you come back in the helicopter?” “What!?”, I said. “You're friends came back yesterday in a helicopter,” he explained. It turns out the wealthy potential donors, who were flown in by the park manager, returned the same day and the group hitched a ride back.

To add insult to injury, when I saw the Peace Corps group on the street, they refused to acknowledge me. They rushed by, pretending not to even see me. Out of the entire group, only Catharine (the redhead), spoke to me and enquired about the hike back to Carmelita. She told me about spending the day with the park director and the helicopter ride back to Flores. She also expressed regret about what happened.

In Flores, I ate a wonderful meal in a restaurant by the lake and enjoyed several Gallos (the national beer). I stayed the night in my hotel and slept in a bed for the first time in five days. The next day, I left Flores and went back to Belize.

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