Sacred water, yellow bridge and naked robbers.
05/02/2005 - 05/02/2005 25 °C
After breakfast we went to Semuc Champey
The way to Semuc Champey was short and pleasant. Flat road, some plantations on the way, green river aside, tropical scenery and very warm day. This pastoral idyll was suddenly corrupted: group of children appeared from the bushes aside the road. All of them were completely naked and look plump and and pretty happy. They surrounded us as a tight ring and begun moaning and begging as trained chorus:"Quetzaaaaaaal, Quetzaaaaaaal, Quetzaaaal..." (Quetzal is a local money, for those who don't know). It was completely unexpected and we were paralyzed for a while. The smallest kid already was pulling the bottle of water from Andre's hands. Looking around we mentioned a very nice village in distance about 100m from the road: houses between fruit trees, good smell of cooking from the oven. Naked robbers did their daily income from tourists.
Begging is a real problem here - mostly it's children business. Groups of children appears from no-where when they see "a white moron" and attack with accuracy of expirienced psyhologist. They are professionals and it's almost impossible to stay indifferent to their moaning. But if you just open your pouch - it probably will be the end of your trip! You will see more and more children appear around you ... until you'll give all your money and probably your equipment too.
When we were preparing to this trip i received a very good advice: "bring with you sweets and small souvenirs and give to little beggers instead of money". It worked and i'm happy to recommend it to followers. You see, life is really hard there, and sometimes begging adults or children are badly need your support. If you feel like sharing and able to do - that's great! The thing is that too many beggers doing this using a naivety of tourists as cash-machine:"you have it and you must give me". Most of backpackers had worked hard to make this trip possible; and then they travel at very slim budget - sometimes in need to choose between sleeping outdoors or inside, go 6 hours in the chicken-bus or pay a double price for 2 hours in the minibus, to have a lunch or to pay the transport instead. Travellers, that I met in my way, were very kind, they lived with open heart and open hand, but no one enjoy to feel being used.
Oh, enough about it!
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Again i feel speechless to describe wonders of Guatemala.
Semuk Champey means sacred water.
Spectacular! Awesome & awesome!!!
Imagine mountain picks, fully covered with rain-forest, and green waters of Rio Cohabon that falling and running in the crack between steep walls. There is a 300m limestone bridge. Under the bridge the Rio Cohabon thrashes and spins down a terrifying tunnel, luckily for those how might otherwise have wished to try swimming down the tunnel a sign warns all of the danger. Water that running on the land is spilling on stone terassas (natural, but looking like human-built huge steps). Water created natural pools, filled with crystal water – stream is getting slow there. Pools are shallow enough to be warm and bathing is allowed. It’s the place of complete relaxation and peace: warm pools, small waterfalls, big butterflies and forest around.
Part of bathing visitors were foreigners, but it also quite popular with locals. Natives family had a picknik in the shade of ceiba tree near water. For lunch they had a bowl of wrinkled cucumbers. My later recearch showed that it probably was chayote - we didn't taste it there.
After bathing we interested in the forest that climbing on hills at both sides of the pools. The forest was muddy after storms, but we couldn’t miss the pleasure to enter jungle. At the beginning we followed the trail, but parts of it were destroyed with water. There we were continuing on our own. We didn’t panic as we could see (sometimes) the river and the pools from the hill.
In the way we met a group of people, looked like a commune something. They hold a newborn baby and big plastic sack with some dozens of boiled eggs. Black dog of medium size followed them. Later, when we returned to Las Mareas, we found they were our neighbours. They slept at the upper floor of our hut. There was a huge attic, and they had electricity. Everybody, including the dog, deftly climbed the ladder leading to the attic. They O-o-O-oMm-M-Mm-m-mmed several times a day in impressive unison.
We paid Q20 for entrance Semuc Champey (in 2005) and we were asked where are we from. First we thought they were just curious, but then we mentioned that they manage journal with statistic data. How cute.
There are price in 2010:
Entrance fees are: Q30 (nationals), Q50 (foreigners), Q10 (children), parking (Q10), camping (Q35. per tent).
Semuk Champey is open every day of the year from 8am-6pm.
You can find even more information in the Oficcial Site of Semuk Champey: