Belize Blog Post 18 - Mayan Ruins at Cahal Pech and Leaving Belize

Day 132 - Monday, 18th of February, 2013

Woke up today to a cloudy, and "cold" morning. Cold being anything less than 80 degrees I guess now! I didn't wear a jacket or anything, not that I have one, but after the last couple warm days, it was cooler.

I spent some time today going through the pictures from Corozal and San Pedro, and then went into town. I had planned to update the blog when I was in Corozal, and then the second night, after San Pedro, the internet wasn't working in the hotel.

Anyway, I'm in town now for a bit, and finally am going to update the blog, sorry its been so long!

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Ok, fast forward to later that night!

I might have to stop telling people I used to be good with computers. What should have been an easy update on the pictures for the blog turned into 2 hours of panic when I managed to wipe out the database. Well, I kind of did it on purpose. I've had trouble merging the updates that I do "offline", when I'm out in the jungle with no internet, with what is already "online". So what I have been doing is to back up the online database, then wipe it out. Then copy and paste the new updates into the back up, and then upload it all in one batch. Not sure why, but today it did not want to play along. Guess I need to figure that out more before the next time.

Computers can sometimes be evil, it would seem. Or more likely, they are very good at following directions, and I'm not giving them very good directions!

I did eventually get the pictures updated, and things are mostly ok again.

The plans for tomorrow are laundry. Try to keep it simple.

Day 133 - Tuesday, 19th of February, 2013

Woke up to sprinkles, I had been thinking of finding some ruins to go explore, but I'm just not in the mood at the moment. So am doing laundry instead.

While on my deck, reading some of my travel guide books on my laptop, I watched a whole colony of ants migrating from one side to the other. I usually keep an eye on the ants, to see if they're moving into my room or not! These didn't seem to be a problem, so I let them be. I'm not a fan of killing everything that moves.

I find myself being a bit frustrated at times. After being so busy, and making some plans for the rest of the year, I'm kind of caught in between now. I can't really do much until I get back to my motorcycle now. Its not very relaxing sitting here in the volunteer house, and I don't really want to go back to work yet, either! Mostly I'll just try to rest up and be ready to travel later this week. This is the week I'm leaving.

I think once laundry is finished, I'll start packing, and decide what I'm keeping and what I'll be giving away.

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Didn't do much the rest of the day.

I did some planning for the trip back north, and also read an ebook I found on my computer about internet affiliate marketing. The concept of affiliate marketing is pretty good, you advertise and send buyers to someplace they can buy something, and then you are paid a commission if they buy. By making a website that promotes a product, the website can be your "24 hour salesman" and you can go hang out on the beach all day. What's not to love right? Of course, there is work involved, but it can work!

I also started drawing up rough house plans. Land here is fairly inexpensive. I'll never stay in one place very long, but it might be nice to have one place to go back to, between adventures. Cinder blocks are pretty cheap, and now I kind of know how to put together a metal roof. And I know a bit about concrete, too. That's a start right?

Day 134 - Wednesday, 20th of February, 2013

Well, one group leaves, and some more people are here again.

Today's the day for exploring ruins. I guess its not really "exploring", more about paying a fee, and staying between the ropes. But there are ruins, so I'm gonna go find them! Rather than talking about it now, I'll wait till I get back, incase I get lost and find something else!

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Well, today was a very good day.

I caught a ride into Belmopan with my Mom (Beryl), and she dropped me off at the bus station. As I walked in, I saw the bus I needed to catch was already at the gates, so I found which booth was selling the right ticket, and I got onto the bus before it left. I even got a seat! That's not always guaranteed on these buses.

I took the bus to Benque, but got off at San Ignacio. The ride cost me $4 (Belize). I got off at the market, because I was ready for a snack, so I bought a couple bananas for 25 cents. Nearly caused an international incident there, in that I negotiated a price from one vendor, then picked up the bananas from the next booth by mistake. Then the other lady runs across and is pointing and laughing at me, the fool gringo.

After settling that out, I walked through town, and about a mile and a half up a steep hill, to the Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins. Apparently there are lots of other ruins around, and some really nice ones across the border in Guatamala, but I didn't feel like making a big deal out of it. For now, I just needed some pictures of ruins, so I didn't feel like I came all the way to Belize and didn't see something.

As I was walking up the hill, I thought "Gee, what would any self respecting explorer do on a hot day like today, walking up a hill through the heat and the dust?"

So I stopped at the next mini market and bought a Coke, in a glass bottle, for $2 Belize. Mmmm good stuff. Back to the adventure, and walk up another hill, this one steeper than the last one apparently. I can now see why the Mayan culture fell apart, they kept putting their temples at the top of big hills.

As I was getting close, I was a bit worried, because I was still basically in the outskirts of town. I mean, that would really ruin the experience, right? Finally I find the place, go into the office of the visitor center, and pay my fee of $10 Belize (only $5 Belize, if you're a resident. I thought of negotiating and showing him my tan...) Quick look at the exhibits in the visitor center, and then it was out to explore the site.

First thing I notice, is once I was on the grounds, I couldn't hear the traffic any more. In fact, once I was on the site, proper, I couldn't even see the town at all. It was like the jungle went on for ever. Perfect!

Now I'll say this is the first and only Mayan ruins that I've been to, so I don't have much to compare it to. I know this isn't the biggest one, but Lonely Planet guide book does list this as a Major site, vs some other Minor sites. What ever that means right?

This site was discovered in the 1950's, with an estimated date of use range between 1000 BC and 650 AD. So that's pretty old! I spent a couple hours walking around, and took over 500 pictures, some of which I really like even!

There were a few things I really liked about this site, compared to pictures I've seen of other sites. This one is in the jungle, and there are a lot of trees still growing. So its nice and green and alive feeling, as well as being a lot cooler. The other thing I liked was that I had basically free access to the whole site. There wasn't anything roped off, an absolute minimum of signs in the way of the pictures, and since I was there in the morning, on a Wednesday, there was hardly any other people there. Like, I think I saw maybe 8 other people the whole time I was there, maybe 10 if I count the staff. Basically, if there was a trail, tunnel, or steps, I was on my own to explore. Very cool.

Most of the stairs were capped with concrete, I assume to prevent further erosion, which I think is a good practical idea. There were no guides that I noticed, and I didn't see any brochures available to explain things, so I just took pictures and enjoyed the experience. I suppose when I get time to look it up on the internet I'll know more. It wasn't clear how much of the site had been reconstructed, and how much was as it was found.

There was a small team digging in one corner, so even though it was first discovered in the 1950s, its still an active site. I talked to a couple of the guys, they were really friendly and answered any questions they could. One guy had a piece of flint or something they had just found, so I got a picture of him with it.

Once I felt like I'd covered everything, it was getting close to lunch time, so I walked back down the hill, stopped at the mini market for another Coke, and by the time I was back downtown I stopped for a burrito and some ice tea. Or as they called it "Juiced Ice Tea", it had some fruit juice in it. it was good, so I had two!

A few more blocks walking, and I was at the new park, where the buses stop. Not more than a few minutes and I was on my bus back through Belmopan, and then it continued on its way to Belize City, dropping me off in Cotton Tree.

So for totals, that was a $4 bus trip going there, and $4 coming back, plus another $1.50 from Belmopan to Cotton Tree. The park fee was $10. A few dollars for the cokes, and less than $20 for lunch. Not a bad day! As all prices were in Belize dollars, think half price from US or Canadian dollars. Cheap entertainment!

As it stands now, today is Wednesday. I'll probably go into Belmopan to do some last posts on the blog on Thursday, and then I'll head out of Belize on Friday to start my trek through Mexico by bus. That should be an adventure!

Day 135 - Thursday, 21st of February, 2013
Ok, today is Thursday, and tomorrow I will jump on a bus heading North, out of Belize, and into Mexico. No idea when I'll get to post updates, but I suspect there will be some places along the way.

In the mean time, check out the pictures of the Mayan Ruins here:

Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins

Bye for now!

By Carlin Comm posted on 2013-02-21