Again, going off of what is written in our travel journal (this time I'm the writer)
...6/21/11 (summer solstice)
0643: Jonathan's alarm went off, and we wondered if we hit snooze or if the phones are just acting weird now that we're in another country. Note to self: next time bring an alarm clock or watch! Anyway, no matter...today is our first big excursion...to the Mayan Ruins of Caracol! We took turns sleepily freshening up and then headed off to breakfast at 20 after 7. Oh also...it was raining! I woke up at 4:30am to the sound of thunder and slept rather fitfully with the sounds of the rain until we got up. Anyway, we found an umbrella in the closet and trotted off to breakfast.
Breakfast today was the same option as yesterday, so fo course I chose the French Toast. J picked the Big Belly, which included eggs cooked to order, corn fryjacks and beans, sausage, plantains...and if there was something else I can't remember.
Oh wait, backtrack. Last night we noticed a HUGE cockroach-like beetle had taken up residence over the eave of our front door. It was still there in the morning!
|gross giant bug.|
We met Greg (George's son), Kristen (Greg's girlfriend), and Freddie (our driver) at the front of the inn, handed Misael (the inn...manager?) our room key, and piled into the van to begin our 1.5ish hour drive to Caracol!
J and I had a great time getting to know Greg and Kristen. Turns out they each just finished their freshman year at their respective schools. They grew up together in Wisconsin. They like rock climbing and are both studying some kind of environmental sciences. Conversing with them made the road to Caracol fly by.
Soon, we arrived at a military base, where we all had to get out and sign in. The military keeps track of how many people visit Caracol and where they are from. They also provide guard services to tourists at Caracol as the Guatemalan bandits took to robbing tourists in Belize 8 or 10 years ago.
|Rio Frio Cave|
|Greg, Kristen, Myself, Jonathan|
After wandering on the shore of the stream for a few minutes, we headed back to the van and to Caracol. It took another while of bumpy road until we got to the paved part that leads to Caracol. Apparently, right where the unpaved road becomes paved is where Freddie recently saw a pair of Scarlet Macaws. They appear to be making a nest in the area as they've been there on multiple occasions. No luck for us today; we didn't spot them.
About 10-15 minutes later we arrived at Caracol!! Jonathan paid our park fee and we were on our way. Freddie first took us to a place where the Mayan people resided, a Mayan suburb if you will.
|Rockin the Suburbs|
|we saw this millipede.|
Then we saw the big temples! The steps up the ziggurat were at least 2 feet high each, which is ridiculous because a Mayan was generally only 4 feet tall. We climbed the top of the tallest building, which had three levels: administrative, the king's home, and the sacred sacrifice/ceremony level. Freddie explained that the kings were like god-priests and would perform the ceremonial rituals. There were some great views from the top. And some tombs to crawl around in!
|view of smaller temple from the ground.|
|view from level 1|
|Freddie: "let's put the lid on!" lol!|
|view from the third and topmost level that's Guatemala in the background.|
|mayan ruin adventurers|
|the king's throne. you're not allowed to sit on it!|
|too tall to pass as a Mayan.|
|they were so focused|
|they let me get super close!|
|especially this one|
|the structure we just climbed down.|
|Nests made by male Montezuma Oropendulas!|
|View of the astronomer's temple|
|fire ant hill|
|lunchie! I was so hungry I accidentally ate with the serving fork. Freddie thought that was hilarious!|
|playing in the falls|
|ahhhh natural massage|
|rio on pools|
We had a new server tonight, Tito. He was great and so was the food:
1) Mediterrenian Salad and Garlic Rolls
2) Shrimo Empenada with Garlic Mayo
3) Rack of Lamb with Cabbage and Potato
4) Fresh Tropical Fruit on a caramel-filled, whipped cream topped meringue.
We also go to meet the chef. She came out and we sang her praise!
After we finished dinner, we came back to the room. The plan was to change and go back out under the stars, but we were so tired! Instead, here we are: J is reading, I'm journaling, the crickets are chirping, and there is a baby gecko watching us from the cool tile floor.
Did you know that geckos make noise? A chirping-ribbit-kissing sound?
You learn something new every day :)