Saturday, March 10, 2007


Friday evening, Ofelia stopped by with a message from Jim and Sharyn that they were going to dinner in San Ignacio on Saturday night and wondered if we would like to join them. Initially, we were really excited about the prospect of a real night out in a real public place, but as we were going over the list of what we hope to get done in the next week, and put the items of installing the doors and windows on the first cabin, we realized that we have the very expensive, very transportable components of our new satellite system sitting in an unlocked cabin. Our Belizean neighbors go to church on Saturday night, so we realized that if the two of us and Jim and Sharyn were out, nobody would be home in the neighborhood. After witnessing the results of all the looting that happened on this property, we both felt very uncomfortable about leaving our stuff for a whole evening, so we took a walk over to Jim and Sharyn’s on Saturday morning with our regrets. Sharyn had gone to town, but Jim was in wholehearted agreement that we’d be foolish to leave the property empty while all the neighbors were also gone, so we had to take a raincheck on the evening out.

We left Jim and Sharyn’s and walked a little less than a mile up the road to Pacbitun, a Mayan ceremonial site. Pacbitun means “stones set in earth.” I had asked Bol about it, and he’d given me a somewhat jumbled answer about the tragedy of letting the area be overgrown by the jungle, then he said something about the crime of strip clearing it, and even with a few additional questions, I couldn’t figure out what the heck he was ranting about since I couldn’t reconcile “strip clearing” and “overgrown” in my head. As we walked into the path off the road, it suddenly made sense. Somebody is logging in the area, and they’re taking out a lot of very large trees. It’s not exactly strip clearing, but it’s definitely more than the traditional jungle underbrush clearing. We followed a few logging roads to the clearings where the trees were being taken down, but we couldn’t find anything that looked remotely like a Mayan ruin. Finally we followed an overgrown trail, and Bol’s rants suddenly became clear, because the ruin itself is getting very overgrown. There may be more than what we saw, but we found a small temple with a one-person path cleared up the steps to the top, although you can see wider steps and terraces through the underbrush on either side as you climb. Two smaller mounds are on either side of the main temple, forming a rough quadrangle with the path coming in from the fourth side. I don’t know that we would have even found the two smaller mounds if we hadn’t visited as many Mayan sites as we had on our way through Mexico and learned that the Mayans usually built in quadrangles, so we knew where to look for additional ruins. It is a little sad that it’s so overgrown, but in a way it’s interesting because it lets us see how the ruins sink into the jungle if somebody doesn’t come along to maintain them.

Tom at the top of the temple, doing a minor clearing with his machete. Actually, I think that Tom should join a support group for obsessive/compulsive machete wielders, since it's difficult to take a walk through the jungle with him since he has to constantly stop and chop.

On the way home, all of our neighbors were out as we walked by. We didn’t realize that the “Aporate, aporate, aporate! Chop, chop, chop!” story had spread until all the kids started yelling “Tom! Marge! Aporate, aporate, aporate! Chop, chop, chop!” Julian was in his hammock, and he held up an arm and yelled “Dies minutos mas!” then busted up laughing. Tom and I seem to provide good entertainment value, if nothing else, for the neighborhood.

When we got home, Tom pulled up the Century 21 For Sale sign since it doesn’t look like anybody else is going to do it for us. We now have to put up a post and hang out our Moonracer Farm sign that Tad and Anneke gave us for Christmas a few years ago. We think we’ll get some eye hooks and put a little “Belize” sign under it, and go with Moonracer Farm Belize as the name for our B&B. The woman who owned the property before us had named it Chaac Mool, which means jaguar in Mayan, which was very fitting since it was a large cat rehab center. We’re toying with calling the B&B Moonracer Farm Belize at Chaac Mool, but can’t decide if that’s too much of a mouthful. We figure the whole thing would work, since it all fits together. Our farm is named after King Moonracer, who is king of the Island of Misfit Toys in the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas special, because all of our animals were misfits for one reason or another, but all turned out okay with us despite their misfit status. The Chaac Mool rehab center was caring for misfit cats, and King Moonracer was a cat, so it works thematically. I guess before we worry too much about that we should probably do a few things like actually have beds to rent and a kitchen to make the breakfast that’s part of a B&B…

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