Saturday, 10 May 2014

Semuc Champey

Despite our late night 11:30pm arrival at the greengos hostel after an epically long day of touristico bus travelling (which we will be shortly be getting used to... What is 3 hours is really 6 hours and what is 6 hours is really 12, you get the idea), we were greeted by a very cheerful Israeli guy named Golan who was clearly loving life. Private rooms were available but we opted for dorms (omg...!?), and were rewarded with a Roomy 7 bed dorm to ourselves. The Irish lads (Paul, and Stelios who is apparently a Greek/Irish cross?) we picked up in Coban have followed us and also get a dorm to themselves. Epic for 50Q a night each (about £4). 

There's just about time for a quick shower before the power is turned off (although not quiet and we had to finish up in the pitch dark with our torches safely in our backpacks nowhere near our shower!). Rich ignored the suggestion of watching firebugs from the balcony in favour of zzzzzzz and by the time CP comes in from playing with the fireflies, he is dead to the world! 

For the first time in a few days, I am woken up by the alarm instead of an urgent need to get to the toilet, and the sulphur burps have gone. CP on the other had has not been so lucky and had a few trips in he night and similar issues and e like throughout the day. Breakfast is great, although they could have served us anything because we are just happy to be able to taste again and not have to remain within running distance of a bathroom (this is much more from Rich than CP's perspective right now!).

We also have chance to properly check out the hostel, and it's epic. Massive beach volleyball court, hammocks and little wooden tree huts that are colorful and right on he river!

The plan for today is an all day tour to the caves and the famous natural pools which have formed on top of the 300m limestone bridge and have made semuc champey famous! it's one of the best days we've had so far, without a doubt! Chris and Lucy had recommended we check it out and we were not disappointed!! It may be off the beaten track but it is one beaten track that is worth venturing off!

For an extra 40Q (£3) we get a guide who takes us through the caves, swimming and climbing by candlelight throughout an epic cave system for a couple of hours, later jumping from that crazy wooden bridge from the night before, hiking up to the lookout point above the pools (which was an excessively harsh hike considering we thought we were all relaxing for the day not trekking up mountains!) Before finally a well deserved splash and explore through the 7 natural pools. The pools are amazing and all formed naturally, we could have spent all day in them!

We swam through them, somersaulted into them, slid down naturally formed water slides and had our toes nibbled by little fish, for free!  Cp then got to jump on a rubber tube and cruise down the river rapids, which was great fun until she realised that rich had her flip flops and she had to walk most [a tiny tiny bit!] of the 3km back along the dirt and pebble road in bare feet! 

By chance there's a couple of groups of Israeli travellers staying at the hostel. We're told that they must each complete 3-5 years of military service, but it's hard to see what training they have received. Walking up steps, down steps, going near water, fish nibbling on toes, tubing down the river in the "rapids", all of these things seem to be beyond them. More on these guys later!

On return to the hostel, we order food (we're basically always sharing one meal now as our appetites are not fully back yet and portions are big enough for two averagely hungry people!). just before the rain comes - and wow! Every time we think we should make a run for it back to the room, it gets worse. This continues until a) We can take no more of overhearing the extreme ranting of a new Irish guy (didn't bother to get his name), and b) CPs stomach decides it's had enough of holding on to dinner and it's time to move quickly.  Enough of that...!

We head off early the next morning for the Isla de Flores for what is allegedly a 6-7 hour bus ride... We'll see....!

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