i was trying to figure out an underlying theme for my vacation to belize. i settled on hubris. vanity. biting off more than you can chew. i think it works. and that i am brilliant.
let's start with the mayans. after landing around 1:30 and taking a VERY bumpy jeep ride up the maya mountains to the resort/lodge, we ate an early dinner and hit the sack. we had a full day tomorrow and the time difference (2 hours behind) was not working in our favor. after a hearty breakfast, we headed off to coracol, the biggest mayan site in belize. not to sound like a huge douchebag, but i have seen the taj mahal and the pyramids at giza but these huge structures built hundreds of years ago never cease to amaze me. what gets me is how? how did they do it? what was in their minds that compelled them to build them. what did these rulers tell their subjects that would make them toil in the fields half the year and then lay down tier farming tools only to pick up building tools? it was amazing. but then the land was spent and the mayans left the area. they think they went to tikkal (in guatemala) or to many of the other mayan cities of the time. who knows? all that hard work got consumed by the jungle. it was found accidentally by some loggers, and every little hill in that area has a structure underneath it, and they have only excavated a small percentage. about 270,000 people live in belize today. they think that 200,000 lived in this mayan city alone in 1000AD, maybe more. and that was just one city. there was much discussion about why the mayans would build and build and work such unforgiving soil in such a remote rainforest with no water source. it is hard not to wonder what was going through their mind when you are standing in the king's quarter's on the highest summit of the largest structure. did they think it was a birthright? did they think they had the people fooled? did they really think they were gods? then again, it is hard not too, with that view...
after coracol, we went down towards the river and took a dip in the pools that had formed around a shallow waterfall. i love belize.
day two meant barton creek caves in the morning. after we entered the caves via canoe, the guide (who as ALL kinds of awesome) told us not to tip the canoe, because we would loose the batteries and the lights. then he turned off the lights to show us what tipping the canoe and no lights and batteries actually meant. i put my hand up to my nose and still could not see it, it was so dark…the caves were wonderful, though, the mayans used to hide from the spanish, bury the dead and make sacrifices in the caves. we saw a baby skeleton and a pot around which the rock had formed. there was no sound, no buzzing of the rainforest, no tapping of the rain. The air and the water was perfectly still. The rcent rain had made the water dark, but our guide said on a dry day, you could see to the bottom of the cave, the water was so clear. it was breathtaking and humbling to think that silently and surely, these caves have been forming over millions of years and they will go on forming for millions more. will future species find the cave and give tours, pointing out 10th century Mayan bones, and 21 century light batteries and cameras and canoes?
then off to the beach! the hotel was the best i had ever stayed in. everything was perfect. the rooms, the food, the location, the sun. we putzed around the pool monday afternoon, lathered with sun block, so i didn't tan at all. the next day, i sneakily did not put any on, hoping to turn the color of the all spice nuts we saw everywhere. by the time josh figured it out, the damage was done. my chest and the front of the shoulders still sting a bit in the shower. it looks like the equatorial sun shows no mercy, even if you "don't burn".
the only downside to the trip (besides the washed out, bumpy rainforest roads, were the bugs. the pool, and the bar on the beach, and the beautiful rooms and the wonderful food is here now, but the mosquitoes were here first. they enjoyed the sunsets and the warm breezes and the cool waters long before we set up shop and charged $11 a drink. even though i hated them and bathed in bug spray, i had to acknowledge that just because we were bigger and had credit card machines doesn't mean we weren't fair game for lunch.
highlights of the trip:
biking in the rainforest mud, massages on the beach, our awesome tour guides and drivers (out of the 2000 or so guides in beleze, one of ours had the registration card stamped "003". he was priceless), the 10-seater plane we took to get from the beach to belize city, the food, the rum, the weather and the company. he was the most perfect part of all
for all the pictures, go here
and check them out:)