Thursday, November 19, 2009

Elizabeth & Scott

Our last guests – and newest new friends, to continue the theme from my last couple of posts – were Scott and Elizabeth from Tennessee. They are spending two weeks in Belize, and when they started planning their trip last winter, they decided to spend their first two nights with us.

Although they were only here for two nights, we squeezed a lot into a couple of days. They arrived late in the afternoon on Saturday, and after dinner and a few “welcome to Belize” Belikins, they were off to bed to get ready for a very busy Sunday. They started their day with a tour of Ka’ax Tun. Melvin, a guide from 7 Miles, gave the tour. Two of Julio’s sons, Eric and Jonny, went along to make sure nobody got lost and to demonstrate their vine climbing skills. Tom tailed along too because he wanted to get some pictures for the Ka’ax Tun website he is putting together so Julio’s park and education center will have a web presence.

After lunch with Julio’s family – chicken, rice and beans, what else? – Elizabeth and Scott returned to Moonracer Farm. At dinner the night before, we had talked about what they wanted to do while in Belize, and Scott had mentioned a long-standing interest in archeology and anthropology, and said that while he was eager to see the well-excavated sites such as Tikal, he was also interested in seeing some of the lesser known sites in Belize. Ka’ax Tun fit the bill, as does Pacbitun, a Maya ceremonial site about a mile down the road from here towards San Antonio. So, while Scott and Elizabeth were touring Ka’ax Tun, I ran down the road and asked our neighbor Joe, whose family owns the land where Pacbitun sits, if he’d be willing to give them a tour in the afternoon. He was happy to do it, so I scheduled them to pick up Joe at 2PM – which they did, after a quick drink here and after refilling their water bottles.

They really enjoyed the tour for a number of reasons. First, they liked being shown around the site by the land owner, whose ancestors are Maya. Second, they were interested to see how quickly the jungle overtakes the site, since portions of Pacbitun had been excavated by archeologists just this summer, but Joe still needed a machete to clear a path for them to get around the site. They said they were amazed to realize that if they didn’t know what they were looking for they could have walked up a small hill, never knowing it was a temple ruin, but that once Joe pointed out to them what to look for, it was very clear and they could even see individual rooms in some of the structures. Third, they really liked the contrast of a man-made site in ruins as compared to Ka’ax Tun, which shows lots of evidence of Maya activity both in artifacts lying around and in modifications in the rocks, but which is based on natural structures. They also got a good dose of natural history at both sites, so they had a good introduction to the broad leaf jungle here in Belize.

Scott unintentionally gave us a huge compliment that evening, so huge he probably didn’t even realize how huge it is. He said that if something happened and he and Elizabeth had to cut their vacation short and return home the next day, he wouldn’t care because he’d already seen what he came to Belize to see, and had done what he wanted to do. We were delighted that this area of Belize made them so happy, and that we had listened well enough to suggest activities that exceeded their expectations. Now we just have to keep living up to that!

1 comment:

Liz LP said...

From Scott: What I saw and experienced at Ka'Axtun and Pacbitun was what real archaeologists see when they investigate a new site. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

From Elizabeth: In fact, we returned on November 20th for another night on our way from Flores, Guatemala to the airport in Belize to pick up friends. It is difficult to express how important our connection to Tom and Marge was to the enjoyment of our trip. Thanks again and we certainly enjoyed "shopping" for fruit (we marinated a whole chicken in fresh grapefruit and lime juice).

By the way, we went to the Zoo but did not stay overnight (someone else had made reservations for us in Belize City). We wish we had, though. I have a photo of the list of accommodations and prices ($5 US up to $40 US per night). Thanks for the tip. We also enjoyed the Traveler's Rum Museum and shop. We bought several bottles at very reasonable prices so if you like local history and have an extra hour, then I would suggest that you go to the museum.

Thanks again Tom and Marge. We will see you later!