Rain Forest Morning
Mike’s alarm went off at some ungodly hour in the morning.
I groaned, “What IS that?”
Mike: “That’s my alarm.”
Mike: “I want to see the jungle in the morning.”
He was up and out the door quickly, and I was left grumbling to myself and grumpy that I was awake at 6AM. And *then* I was grumpy that he was out seeing cool things and I was still in bed. So I rallied, grabbed my camera, and went out to find him laying in a hammock watching the morning birds.
Morning Hammock Time
Bird at the bird feeder with Ron and Al’s morning offerings
Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge Dining Area
Ron and Al – who normally wake up at 5:00AM – found us out and about and brought us coffee while they prepared breakfast. We each lay in a hammock, listening to the sounds of the jungle waking and watching the birds. I was enthralled by a few woodpeckers pecking in various trees. I remembered when I was a little girl and we had a woodpecker who pecked our house every morning. Dad took one of Heather’s rubber snakes (I had Barbies, Heather had rubber snakes) and nailed it to the roof of the house. The bird never came back.
Mike in his hammock
The night before, Al had told me all about the Maya pieces of pottery and life they’d found on their land alone. “Oh, we find them all the time.” He said, waving his hand as if we were talking about Starbuck stores in NYC. “We have to report the important things to the archeological society, like if we found a jade mask or something, but they don’t care about all these little things.” These ‘little things’ are pieces of pottery, mortars, pestles, carved rocks, etc. He had them sitting around the dining area like they were shells found on a beach.
Maya Pottery Top
The pieces on the bottom of the photo are shards of Maya pottery
Macaw Bank Lodge Dining Area
One of Al’s orchids (he’s got an orchid gift)
The Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge Staff: Henry, Eduardo, Ron, and Al
Mike called this the “Prom Picture”, so the next one…
… Mike putting on a pretend corsage for the “prom picture”.
Un-excavated Maya Ruins
We had about an hour before we needed to leave for Belize City, so we decided to walk up the path to the unexcavated ruins that Ron and Al had told us about. To get there, though, we had to walk up the lane, through Henry’s pasture of cows and horses, and then through some rain forest.
Navigating the barbed wire fence under the watchful eye of a horse
Mike and his cow friends. Look out for the cowpie.
After about twenty minutes of walking we’d reached a large clearing with some small hills. The only thing that made us think it might be the ruins was a few stone benches and a blue trash bag. We circled around, slightly confused, and then walked up a path and realized where we were. One each side of us was a grassy hill with trees growing out of them – four of them in total – perfectly aligned to form a square. We never would have known they were ruins if we hadn’t been looking for them. They just looked like hills. But looking closer we found more evidence of previous lives.
Signs of Maya stone
But it’s better to see it the way we saw it:
Those hills aren’t just hills. There are Maya ruins underneath them. How amazing is that? They’re just sitting there. Uncovered. And the entire countryside had hills just like these that archaeologists haven’t had the time to study. The evidence of Maya culture of pottery, buildings, and tools are almost commodities. That’s just so amazing to me.
Back to Belize City
Sadly it was time to go. We packed all our stuff into Jimmy and headed out the bumpy roads to get back to the Western Highway. Mike is a champ at the stick-shift four-wheel-driving now. Almost makes me want to find a place in New York where we can do this again.
On our way back to Belize we realize we were completely out of cash – USD and BZD – and we remembered that the International Airport wouldn’t have any food, so we pulled over at a Shell station to get some snacks and charge them on the credit card. Pringles and cookies: the last remnants of vacation food.
Somehow we managed to miss the turn to the airport and overshot it by a few miles, but luckily this isn’t Newark so there weren’t 100 people in line to check in. More like 20. In the waiting area I went into the gift shop for two final curios: a bottle cozi for each of us. Mike’s says “Belikin Beer” and mine says “Dive Belize”.
New York was pouring rain and cold and not at all like the warm happiness of Belize. We splurged on a taxi whose driver kept making me get out to ask the taxi dispatcher more questions, and I thought, “Yes. I’m back in New York.” Vacation’s over. But it was great.