After spending a pleasant night at Hanna Stables near the border, we crossed back over into Guatemala on Thursday 20 December. We stayed at Casa Amelia in Flores again, which was busier than it had been two weeks previously, due both to tourist season ramping up and the gathering of all manner of new age mystics for the "end of the world." Mayan sites like Tikal and Caracol were allowing people to camp out overnight to communally experience the astronomical alignments signifying the ending of a particular major cycle in the Mayan calendar and the beginning of a new one (known as the 13th b'ak'tun). So, not so much the ending of the world as a kind of millennial new year's eve with some astronomical phenomena thrown in.
We made our way down to Poptun on the morning of the 21st, traveling in relative comfort in a remarkably laid-back microbus that wasn't crammed to the gunnels with people. They dropped us off at Finca Ixobel, a self-described hotel ecologico, where we stayed for two nights in a "deluxe treehouse," essentially a cabin on stilts. Bethany and Sierra were excited to have a large, furry tarantula camped out just beside our treehouse for the duration of our stay, and also to see the two large resident parrots.
Then on the 23rd we caught a 1st class Linea Dorada bus to Guatemala City, which proved to be less grueling than the reverse journey had been due to fewer delays and less extreme use of air conditioning, but perhaps also because we knew we were on our way home now.