Day 10: Antigua/Tikal

Written by: Kalika Diaz

Today was quite an interesting turn of events. We left for Tikal today and let me start by saying that the level of adventure of the journey didn’t match everyone’s level of comfort. (And by everyone I mean myself…)

A brief explanation. Yes, I may be of small height and build, but that in no way means that I am comfortable with small spaces. Secondly, if I am already in an uneasy state I need everything to run smoothly or I am doomed to relapse into an uncontrollable state of emotional havoc.

Now to continue with the tale of my unbecoming of a civilized lady. The group met at La Union at 2. We dropped off our main bags at La Quinta, and it was off to the airport to Tikal. The energy on the bus was already at a good high, but as soon as the No Coco No song came on the energy was set into hyperdrive.

We got to the airport and I was a little confused because it was just a random office building.We all stepped in and completely took over the top floor. A few people left for the second floor, for what I could only imagine was due to annoyance. We couldn’t help ourselves.We were going to TIKAL!

“Now boarding orange stripe”.

Time to board. We walked out and all I saw were helicopters and small planes. Where was our plane? Surely we wouldn’t be getting into something that small. There were nearly 20 of us. We’d be getting a bigger plane, right? Right?!

I’m getting closer to this plane and realizing I could lay down and reach to front and back. Slightly nervous now. As I squeeze my way through the midget sized door I feel the walls closing in. I make my way through the almost impossible isle, my bags and body being hugged with each seat I try to pass. Instinctively I made my way all to the back of the plane and take the last seat with Mel. I’m trying to keep myself calm. At this point my trip can go either way; it’ll just be another plane ride, or I’ll have a massive panic attack. I want to calm myself so I ask for a paper bag to breath in. Mel hands me the plastic bag from the seat pocket. I start breathing into it and this is when Thomas, Eric, and Jack start to take notice. They can’t tell if my panic is real or not. Jack starts taking pictures of me breathing into the plastic bag and my breathing starts to pick up a little. I don’t like attention, especially when I’m in any state other than happy.

“Don’t worry. There’s a higher survival rate at the back of the plane if we do crash”. Thank you for that comforting thought Thomas…

What was that?! My secure wall starts to fall out. My feet are starting to fall from under me. My bags are moving on their own. How could we crash before we’ve even taken off?

Nothing to worry about, it’s just the back side door being checked and secured. But it’s too late. I’m already fighting back tears and my breathing rate has taken a life of it’s own.

After what seems to take eons, we finally make our way to the runway. Of course this would be a perfect time to make a phone call.

“You’re making a phone call?”

“Yeah. I just want to see if it works.”

Mel has absolutely no concern with the effects of her electronic device on the plane’s control system. None of this is helping. And just when things couldn’t get any worse. The plane gets off the runway and of to the side. A few seconds pass and the secret door next to me is opened and reshut. At this point I know it’s over. All the signs are pointing to the end. My end.

The plane starts to rumble at an accelerated rate. The smell of the sour burning of the engines starts to invade my nostrils. Complete invasion of my privacy. I didn’t ask for this. The plane goes into multiple uncontrollable jolts. More signs.

I shut my eyes. I don’t want to see anything. I don’t want anyone to see me. Mel is asking me if I’m alright every few minutes. Again the attention is not helping me.

“Just let me be,” I keep thinking. “Just let me be”.

Ground control to Major Tom..

My body becomes loose again and I get the overwhelming sense of calmness. I finally feel safe enough to open my eyes. It’s dark. It’s calming.

God provides you for what you need, not what you want.

“Kalika we’re here.”

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