December 2014, I was starting my 2 month adventure in Guatemala. It was my walk about, I had had a couple of people offer to come with me for chunks of it, but I had just decided on early retirement and I needed this time for me, I had a lot to sort through.
It was an amazing adventure, I flew into Cancun, and took a night bus to Belize City, not a pleasant place to be even early on a Sunday morning, next a bus to Tikal in Guatemala. Actually the bus dropped me off and pointed me in the direction of a small town just south of Tikal. I had borrowed a backpack from my daughter-in-law, planning on hiking for a few days with a group around a volcano, that not so long but plenty long enough walk in to town, had me re-evaluating that idea really quick, not going to happen. I did make it into town though, found a place to stay and arranged to take a bus to Tikal for the sunrise the next day.
Up at 4 to meet the bus, it took us out to the temple. Dark and with flashlights we climbed up the side of the temple facing east, and as we had been instructed sat in silence and waited for dawn to waken the jungle.
I bit of mist was also about and as the sun-rose in amazing oranges, purples and red, the silhouette of other temples came into view, and the jungle most certainly came alive. As we sat in silence, little chirps of birds, and twigs cracking could be heard, but then next a horrific screaming started, I looked around to see what it was, no sign of anything. I looked to see if this sound had anyone anxious as it steadily grew louder and louder. Was our guide there? Was any one there to save us from what sounded like King Kong? I felt like maybe we were just sacrificial lambs waiting in silence on the side of the temple as the sun grew stronger and stronger. Finally some one said, it’s howler monkeys. Howler monkeys, what were they? How big were they? Had they eaten yet? Apparently, I was told they were really not very big at all, they just had a throat the created these BIG noises to scare off predators, it was very convincing. Now full of new knowledge I could again enjoy the spectacular scene unfolding before me. Apparently they came here to film a part of Star Wars, and also Jurassic Park, I can certainly understand that, it was a wonderful experience and just the start of so many more in Guatemala.
Have you ever been scared of an unknown sound, that you later found out was really nothing at all, or a shadow you mistook for something it wasn’t?