|Well, morning brought wind, overcast so at 8:30 we made the decision not to do the day trip. Walked over to docks where we had talked to the 'Captain' and met a couple of girl med students from Ottowa who were returning to Tobacco Caye where they had been several days before...they said snorkeling was not as good as Caye Caulker (which to my mind was just so so anyway...I'm spoiled I guess). Bon was bummed, wanted to go just to see the island but to me the snorkeling was main draw and there were lots of people loading up in boats to go over so it isn't the 'out-of-the-way' place the LP leads one to believe. The wind was still blowing altho clouds were disappearing...I'm happy to move on, 45 minutes on choppy waters in a small boat w/ 6 other people all getting wet from the waves doesn't appeal to me today.
So here after breakfast trying to catch up a bit on site entries while Bon does some email then onward to San Ignacio. On the way we got off bus at the Blue Hole Reserve and who should be there but the 3 Wisconsin guys! They said we missed Sue & Stuart VT by minutes. It was a nice blue water hole, Audubon fellow at gate told us the park would be closed on Sunday (day after tomor) due to an underwater filming for the Discover channel. We walked about 100 yards down the road to Blue Hole Jungle Resort thinking the dorms would be $7.50 ea like the LP said...NOT! Dorms are $15 US and the only food available is in their restaurant for $24 US, fixed price all you can eat...well, trying to lose some poundage and save $$$ this combination won't work! Headed back up the long driveway and a pickup truck heading out gave us a ride to the highway. Then half and hour waiting for a bus, the van which takes employees home picked us up and took us into Belmopan bus depot where we caught the last express bus to San Ignacio. Interesting that this was the first country the locals offered us a free ride (twice in one day) plus we stood in a typically India 'line' (people all smashed together at the gate) for over a half hour until the bus pulled up and it was a mad dash when they opened the gate to get on/get a seat! All tickets are sold on the bus by the driver/assistant here and no assigned/reserved seats.
Ended up in 'The Plaza Hotel', run by an elderly couple who look to me to be owners who turned their home into a 'hostel' kind of place. Since we were hooked on the Olympics we had to pay a bit more for the room (all rooms w/ TV but some w/o bath)...for 3 nites it averaged 50b dollars or $25 US for the rooms - we had to change to another room which had its own bath and was more in the back away from the street noise, thus more $$.
Walking around looking for a place to eat we bumped into Stuart and Sue who invited us to go with them tomor...they have a rented car and it is their last day before returning to US/VT.
Met Stuart & Sue & drove to Belize Commercial/Industrial Expo out in the country...like a trade fair, tons of locals attending and displaying/selling food, hardware, ag products, even organic vitamin suppliments...many Mennonites. By noon we were back on the road and stopped at Chaa Creek Lodge for their natural history/anthropology museum as well as tour/talk about blue morpho butterfly project. Total life cycle 3-4 months, butterfly only 2 weeks, 5-6 stages are there to see, really pretty larvae stage and hundred+ butterflies. Learned the jungle jingle 'Red and yellow could kill a fellow. Yellow and black, friend of Jack!' to tell difference betw poisonous and non critters.
Blue Morpho Info
Saw big brown bird, Chachalaca like a wild, skinny chicken.
Took local bus to Xunantunich (pronounced tuna sandwich)...population at peak 7-10,000 betweeen 700 & 750ad abandoned about 1000 ad.
Got off bus on way back to see Cahal Pech...first inhab. 1200bc and began to become center 900-300bc the largest incr in population 30obc-300ad with lg temples built 600-800ad. Most important find was 200 finger bowls (no, not for cleaning hands...actually had remains of fingers-these were meant as a sacrifice to gods and were buried in a tomb found on site). It was abandoned about 900ad and then reoccupied around 1000ad for rituals before left to the jungle.
Cahal Pech Info
The whole region around San Ignacio had 5-6 similar settlements all +/- 10 km apart mostly agrarian people living in pole/thatch housing compounds...perhaps up to 10,000 population. Little black seeds all over the ground from bread nut trees - boil for a 'coffee' or pound into flour for tortilla. All over Belize...they say Belize is blessed since people are always walking on food!
Went to San Ignacio Resort Hotel where they have endangered green iguana recovery project - wonderful. Live to be 20+ yrs old, begin reproducing at 3, in wild only, 10% of 20-40 eggs laid each yr survive.
Gumbo limbo tree - bark for stings, boil leaves to help stomach ailments.
In eve watched Gold Medal hockey game - it really was fantastic, both teams deserve the gold!