Day 59 (morning) - In the morning I hiked out to the Pepajau waterfalls. It was actually slightly tricky finding them, only because I could only half understand the directions that Alejandro (the older guy whose house I slept in) gave me in Spanish.
On the way I walked by a house on the road where guy stopped me and told me to go back the way I came, that it wasn't permitted to go further. I asked why, and he said it's too dangerous -- many bad people in the woods. I said that Alejandro had told me it was okay. "Oh, well if Alejandro said it's okay, then go ahead!" he said in Spanish, seemingly without sarcasm. Ummm... so I kept walking, but with a bit of apprehension now...
I ended up missing a turn, and after 100 meters encoutered two guys, who told me I was going the wrong way. They also said it was very dangerous out here. I asked why, and they said there are packs of "javelins", little pig like creatures that hunt in packs of 6-8, and if you're alone, they'll attack you and eat you. But two or more people together are fine.
I said thanks for the advice, and walked back to the correct turn. They followed, and seemingly with a lot of concern for my safety, offered to show me the way to the waterfalls for 120 Quetzales. I didn't really like the idea of paying for a guide, but becoming increasingly worried about all the warnings I'd been getting, I agreed. However, I told them I could only pay in Mexican Pesos, because I had only 45 Quetzales on me. They said that was fine.
The waterfalls turned out to be only about 30 minutes away from there -- not too bad. However, most amazingly, I ran into another tourist of sorts at the base of the falls -- a French guy with his own guide (I think he was doing some university study). He said the story about the javelins was bunk -- there weren't any out there. Then he and my guides had a slight argument over whether or not it was true!
Regardless, we hiked to the top of the falls on a little used dirt path, where the stream is born straight out of the mountain. We all had a much refreshing drink from the nacimiento (spring).
On the hike back, all was well until it came time to pay my guide fee. The 120 Quetzales is around 180 pesos, at the current 1/1.5 exchange rate. However, my guide thought the current exchange rate was in fact 1/10. So he became furious when I gave him a 200 peso bill (around $16, quite high as it is!), telling me it was only worth 20 Quetzales ($2). What a pickle. I sure wasn't going to give him any more than the 200 pesos, especially since his story about packs of javelins was bunk! We argued for a bit, and finally I just walked away leaving him with the 200 pesos, hoping he wouldn't come after me with a machete. I made it back to the bike at Alejandro's without further incident, though, and headed on my way.