Sunday, February 12, 2012

Arriving in Belize

Yesterday we arrived in Belize. The journey here was simple enough. In fact, flying from Salt Lake City to Atlanta was twice as long as our international flight. Once we landed in Belize City, our Central American adventure took off. We were whisked off our flight, thrown in line, bags carried away, handed tickets (our name was never asked), and told to board the next flight at 1.30. Problem was, our flight wasn’t until 2.45…this raised some suspicions. Upon inquiring we were told that we looked like ‘The Stewarts” who were traveling to Placencia and not like “Matt & Rebecca” who needed to get to Punta Gorda. Because of this assumption and no airport security, they ran with it, tagged our bags, and were just about to hurl us to the wrong town when we raised our eyebrows. When the finally checked our names they grabbed our bags from the taxing plane, retagged them, and sent us on our way.

The common room!

Not many people go to Punta Gorda. This fact was made evident when the only people prepared to get on our flight were Rebecca and I. A two person flight isn’t very economical so Maya Island Air threw us onto a plane that was already scheduled to drop eight British tourists at a nearby beach town. Just like a bus we made one stop near Placencia, took off again, and finally made it to the most southern town in Belize, Punta Gorda.

Testing equipment

Our front door

 Our first evening in the country was spent lounging around chatting and drinking Belkin lager & stout. Another member of our team was arriving later so we had plenty of time to kill. Once all assembled, we grabbed fishburgers at a seaside bar, piled in the truck, and headed into the jungle.

Behind our house, our rain tank, and bedroom window

The driveway!

The Mayan radio station looking from our house towards campus

            Tumul K’in, where we are living, is located at the Southern tip of the Maya Mountains about ten miles from the Guatemalan border. It is located right next to the Blue Creek Village and provides education to around 35 students. It is also located very much in the jungle. When we arrived we could hear howler monkeys in the distance, many jungle birds, geckos, and some strange, small-unidentified mammal outside our window. Our first day here was typical we were told; scorching hot followed by heavy, heavy rains. Thus, much of it was spent hanging out inside the house listening the students taking marimba lessons in the open-air classroom across the yard. We won’t start work until Monday as some tribal tensions are slowing the processes. Some members of the community seem very excited about archaeology while others are quite skeptical. Hopefully after a town meeting in the next few days all the bumps will be smoothed over and we can begin looking for Maya sites! Until then, hiking, lounging, and a rumored spelunking-by-swimming trip! 

1 comment:

  1. Be careful and take good care of yourselves. Hopefully the tribal politics work out in a way that suits everyone. Can't blame them for feeling sketchy about your goings on. Long and complicated history of the field that you're in. And not all of it is historical.