Saturday, January 22, 2011

Al & Kathleen

Tom started December with a last minute, 2-week trip to visit his parents in Florida, which was a great Christmas gift for both Tom and his parents. Upon his return, however, it was right back to work since our first guests of the holiday season, Kathleen and Al from Oregon, arrived two days after Tom’s return. It wasn’t much like work, however, since we had a great visit with them and really enjoyed helping them get to know this area.

They arrived here slightly frazzled because they didn’t realize how far out we are – not necessarily mileage-wise, but because of road conditions. They got a bus into San Ignacio, and figured it would be easy to get a taxi here. They found a taxi driver who said he was willing to take them from San Ignacio to Moonracer Farm for $8BZ, so they loaded their luggage and jumped in the car. Unfortunately, because they didn’t speak much Spanish and the taxi driver didn’t speak much English, they didn’t realize until they were well on the way here that the taxi driver had no idea where he was going, and didn’t realize how far out we were on bad roads. He kept trying to drop them at every resort they passed all the way through Cristo Rey. Fortunately Al had looked at the maps on our website and had a general idea where they were going, so he was able to tell the driver to just keep driving. They finally got here, and the taxi driver had to not only tell them it was going to cost more than $8, but also admit that he was worried that his car was going to have problems navigating the 12 miles of bad road back to town. Fortunately for Al and Kathleen, it only cost $50BZ, which is the standard rate, so they didn’t end up paying any more than they should have – although $8BZ would have been nice!

For their first full day here they toured ATM with Gonzo, who had also recently returned from a trip to the US. As everybody is, they were quite impressed, not only with the cave, but with the tour. Gonzo and Carlos had combined their groups, so all the guests had the benefit of the expertise of both guides, which is interesting because both, being Maya themselves, feel a personal connection to the cave and share that connection with their guests. Because the connection is personal, it’s different for them, and all of the guests appreciated getting this difference in perspective.

On their second day they took a hike with Melvin. They didn’t really have a destination, but parked at Ka’ax Tun and hiked through the farms and into the jungle behind the Village of 7 Miles. They had originally requested a jungle hike, and they found the information that Melvin shared about the flora and fauna of the jungle fascinating, but they said they were somewhat surprised at how interesting they found the wealth of information that Melvin shared about the plantations, as he calls them, in the farm fields, from what was planted and why, to how it had to be cultivated, to what would happen to the produce when it is harvested, to generally how people manage to make a living farming on what looks like a pile of rocks. Melvin also took them back to his home for a Coke after the hike, and they found his stories of life in a very small village in rural Belize as interesting as the farm and jungle lore. Al and Kathleen had brought a package of school supplies to distribute to children in this country, and after their day with Melvin they ended up delivering the package into his safekeeping so he could distribute it to the schoolchildren of 7 Miles.

The next day Kathleen and Al were heading to Tikal for two nights, so we delivered them to the border with instructions about how to get a guide for the Temple IV Sunrise tour, and advice on getting back into Belize so they could finish their Belize vacation on Glover’s Atoll.

1 comment:

Alan Cordle said...

It seems like months ago! We enjoyed our stay with you so much and hope to return sometime soon. I'll eventually write about our trip on my own blog (which celebrates 10 years in 2011), but your post summarizes our time at Moonracer perfectly. By the way, please thank Melvin for the letters we just received from his siblings and other kids in Seven Mile. We will save them forever. (The kitchen looks great -- congrats!) Yours, Al & Kathleen