After a weekend at the beach, I felt quite refreshed! A little sun and the coarse sand of the beach giving me somewhat of a pedicure revived my spirits. Sunday, we returned to Belmopan early on the bus, ate breakfast, took a nap, then headed to the Blue Hole and Herman’s Cave. We didn’t go down into the cave but hiked to the opening. There were tons of mosquitoes (I kid you not, I put my arms in my shirt so they would stop biting) so we didn’t spend a lot of time here. Here’s a photo of the opening though 🙂
Then from there, we drove over to the entrance to the Blue Hole to so some swimming. Basically how this hole formed was there is a river underneath many layers of limestone. Caves and water pockets began to develop in the rock and eventually created a well of sorts and filling with water. The water is clear and cold. I got many fish kisses which was surprisingly okay with me. I was actually the first one in and the first one to put my head underwater! Cool stuff! As soon as we got in, it began raining and pouring so we packed up and left. When back at the shelter at the front of the park, we talked with the man who worked there. He was eating the inside of a cacao fruit. The seeds are roasted to make chocolate but the white substance inside the fruit is sweet and tastes nothing like chocolate. Interesting. But this fruit came from a tree back in the park. Here’s us in the Blue Hole! 🙂
So that was Sunday! Monday at school, we began exams. The students are taking three exams each day. Two in the morning then one after lunch. It seems somewhat pointless for me to be there because the students are taking tests and I am sitting and reading my book. I am excited however because new material is supposed to begin Thursday!! Finally some teaching!! But Friday we are taking the afternoon off to hop on a bus and travel to Caye Caulker! We are so excited to do some snorkeling and beach time at the clear blue waters!
Today, Tuesday, we had an interesting day though. We began our morning with a tour of Valerie’s pre-school that she teaches at. This school has one room, a rigorous curriculum, and a morning and afternoon classes for the two different classes. This school is very inviting for young children and I can see why they are so successful. Our initial plan was to get a ride from a parent to school but instead since Valerie had to take Kalina to the doctor, she said she would drive us to school. (We were almost late). So, while walking back home from the preschool, we began talking and didn’t see the point in going to school. Val was going to San Ignacio to the doctors office so we thought we could go to Xunantunich while there. So, a spur of the moment decision was made, Dr. August okayed that we go on this excursion. We arrived at Xunantunich, found a guide, took a ferry across the river, and hiked way way up to the temples. I cannot even explain how beautiful this place was! It is so impressive to think about how the Mayans used to live and build these temples. Their thinking was also very interesting to hear about and it turns out that whole “end of the world/Mayan calendar business” was just a misunderstanding. The cycle starts over again! We climbed to the top of “El Castillo” or The Castle and had a breathtaking view of Belize around us as well as Guatemala and the border. It was amazing! Just look at the photos!! 🙂
And they’re still excavating and finding things too!
And there were these tombstones recovered at the site and some more that have been excavated but are in poor shape. Very cool. These people were very important and were buried with great amounts of jade which was precious to the Mayans.
Neat stuff! While waking around, if you look down at the dirt and rocks, there are pieces of pottery everywhere. They say anywhere in Belize where you begin to dig, you’ll find pieces of pottery. There is so much undiscovered! Mind blowing! And around the temples, they’ve found foundations of what would have been the peasant homes. They depended on the kings for everything. And when a king died, they buried him, then build his sons temple around the dead king’s temple. That’s how this castle got so tall…they say 13 kings ruled this area and are buried within.
Some of the smaller structures were observatories to observe the planets and stars.
Excavation only happens about three months out of the year however so the excavating process is slow. A great Tuesday! Not looking forward to going back to school tomorrow for exams but I’ll learn something, I’m sure! 🙂 the cultural experiences are amazing here!