We climbed all over the Myan Ruins at Xunantutich

Before leaving San Ignacio Manface and I visited the Myan Ruins at Xunantunich. It was on the day we were leaving and I was umming and ahing about going as we had a long journey ahead of us that day – but in the end we decided to just do it.

To save on time, we paid a taxi driver named Antonio $40 (US) to drive us from town about half an hour out to Xunantunich, cross on the hand-winched ferry and to wait a couple of hours for us before driving us back to San Ignacio.

 

The hand-winched ferry.

The hand-winched ferry.

If we had more time, I think it would have been quite simple to catch a bus from town for $1.50 (Belizian $) which would drop you off at the river crossing, and then to walk a couple of kilometres to the actual ruins.

Either way, I’m so glad we went. From the top of Xunantatich you can see the Guatemalan border which makes for some wonderful views. The information centre and actual ruins are extremely impressive and give you a good sense of what perhaps life was like for the Myans thousands of years ago.

At the top of Xunantunich, looking out at Guatemala

At the top of Xunantunich, looking out at Guatemala

Myan ruins at Xunantunich

Myan ruins at Xunantunich

Looking at the Myan site as a whole

Looking at the Myan site as a whole

Obligatory been there, done that shot

Obligatory been there, done that shot

One thing that I couldn’t get over was how big the steps to the ruins were. When you took the size of the young girl that we saw at the ATM caves (aprox) 4 ft – the enormity of these Myan structures becomes clear.

Well worth the visit.

You’re not allowed to take photos at Actun Tunichil Muknal

After a 16 hour stop over in Dallas, Manface and I finally got to Belize a few days ago. It’s been fantastic. We have been staying in San Ignacio, and a couple of days ago visited the Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves.

Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take a camera – not even a GoPro strapped to Manface’s chest. Boo.

Apparently a couple of years ago a tourist accidentally dropped a camera and crushed a human skull that has been in tact for approximately 2500 years – and now all visitors are prohibited from taking photographic devices.

That said, it was kind of awesome to just focus on the moment.

Visiting ATM must be done with a tour group. The tour started with a good 30 min walk through the jungle. During the walk you cross a few rivers and eventually arrive at the mouth of the cave. The cave trek is wonderful. The cave is a maze of boulders and stalactites which you climb over, swim past, and wade your way through. In the pitch black with nothing but headlights to guide you the experience is quite amazing.

The young girls' remains in ATM Cave, photo from here

The young girls’ remains in ATM Cave, photo from here

Myan Artifacts from ATM Cave, photos from here

Myan Artifacts from ATM Cave, photos from here

 

The thing that distinguishes this cave from others you may visit in Central America is the sheer amount of artefacts that you are able to see. As you reach the final chambers in the cave system the ground is littered with Myan pots and remnants – culminating in the skeleton of a teenage girl who was sacrificed between 300-600AD and whose remnants still remain in tact covered in a layer of limestone.

It was extremely eerie to think about what this poor girl would have felt and thought as she was dragged through the cave system to be sacrificed. Sheer terror. I shiver at the very thought.

Completely recommend doing the ATM tour if you are in Belize, it was well worth the visit.

And just because I wasn’t posting in May 2013 – here’s a pic of me and Suzie in the Venado Caves in Costa Rica that I visited back then.

Caves in Costa Rica last year

Caves in Costa Rica last year

PS: From my last post, according to google 4 Presidents have been assassinated – Lincoln (succeeded by A. Johnson), Garfield (succeeded by Arthur), McKinley (succeeded by Roosevelt), Kennedy (succeeded by L. Johnson)

JFK 6th Floor Museum

En-route to Central America, Manface and I had a quick 16hr stopover in Dallas this week. Fighting off jet lag, we made the most of it by visiting The 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

A painted white cross on the road behind me marks where JFK was shot.

A painted white cross on the road behind me marks where JFK was shot.

A little bit closer to the cross

A little bit closer to the cross

We arrived at about 4pm, and had more than enough time to listen to the entire audio tour before the museum closed at 6pm.

The audio tour was quite informative and gave a really good snapshot of the 22 Nov 1963. Whilst I have seen the footage numerous times on television and have seen the images in countless books – there is something about being in the location that draws you into the event, the tragedy.

In particular, seeing the heartbreaking pictures of Jackie Kennedy climbing over the back of the car after realising what had happened – and then looking across to the actual road and a painted cross marking where it happened… it really does bring the human sorrow to life.

The tragedy

The tragedy

The other part of the audio tour, which I thought was done well, was the illustration of JFK’s legacy in America’s history. Space, Civil Rights, Global Citizenship – it was an incredibly transformative period in time. JFKs leadership at this time was paramount to that transformation.

Finally, the section of the tour that made me want to read more – was the section relating to the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. In particular it was the immediate reactions of the people who were there at the scene that fascinated me. It almost appears as if everyone froze for a moment in time – all completely stunned that something so shocking had happened… again.

Bob Jackson's iconic photo

Bob Jackson’s iconic photo

And finally, quick trivia question for you… Which Four US Presidents were assassinated?

And for an extra 10 points to Gryffindor, who were the Vice Presidents that then succeeded as President?

Answers in my next post… or you could just google it, I guess, whatevs.

Right now,

Right now, my feet are swollen, my lips are cracked and my mouth is so dry I could quench a litre of water in one hit.

Right now, I am in-between timezones at 38,968 ft.

Right now, Manface is breathing heavily as he pushes up zzzs next to me.

Right now, I am one of two people I can see awake in this cabin.

Right now, one of those two people is trying to hide the fact that he’s crying over a soppy romance film.

Right now, I am feeling smug as it is 0930am at my destination which means I’ve timed my sleep perrrfectly!

Right now, I am craving rice bubbles and a banana.

Right now, I’m a bit unsettled about my house being packed up for the next month.

Right now, I am pleading with myself to take a deep breath and put any thoughts of TO DO lists to the side for the next month.

Right now, I am wondering whether anyone would mind if I did some lunges up the aisle.

Right now, the excitement of overseas travel has worn thin and I just want to get there already.

The Great Breakfast Conundrum

The house is now all packed up and we’re staying with darling Margstar until we head overseas on Wednesday! This morning Manface was unusually optimistic about my demands to wake up at 630am and happily took me to have breakfast at Dobinsons Bakery and Café (click here for a review from another Canberra Blogger called Erin) in Civic.

Our unusual breakfast selections this morning

Our unusual breakfast selections this morning

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