Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Ancient City of Tikal

Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-colombian Mayan civilization, and a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya.

This is a howler monkey. They sound exactly like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park when they howl. It's a terrifyingly magnificent sound that echoes all throughout the jungle and the ancient crumbling walls of Tikal.

this is the sound of howler monkeys howling

A white-nosed coati whose tail tip was painted green by a food vendor, because he is a scavenger thief.
Another tricky coati

The temple of the Great Jaguar above

The Rain God head decorates the facade of his temple.

Mayan bedroom

spider monkey

The temples of the Great Jaguar King for Jasaw Chan K'awil and his queen 's temple, the Temple of the Mask face each other from opposite ends of the great plaza. This photo was taken standing on top of the tallest temple at Tikal, their son's, Yik’in Chan Kawil.

If you're interested, there's lots more to learn about Tikal here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sweet Thieves

When we were driving back from the cave on a long, and bumpy dirt road along the citrus fields, our van was blocked from passing by a big crate of freshly picked oranges. There was not an orange picker or truck in sight to move the crate, which made Juan Carlos, the local from San Ignacio, immediately flip out, and he jumped out of our van, grabbed the empty cooler in the trunk and ran over to the crate of oranges grabbing them up, like a little boy in a candy store, and filling up the cooler.
'Hurry up! Hurry up! Grab some oranges. ' he yelled

'But Carlos, don't they need their oranges?' someone replied

'There are plenty for everyone in Belize. Besides, who could resist being a sweet thief?!' he said as sticky orange juices ran down his fingers, and he licked them off.

Here it is, a confession, we are sweet thieves.

After that we all moved on to one side of the van to balance out the weight and the brave driver daringly dropped lopsidedly on the far shoulder of the road to circumvent the orange crate. We ran into a big truck headed back for the oranges about 20 minutes down the road. Juan Carlos smiled and waved, as is the custom, when passing another driver on a bumpy dirt road in the country.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Entrance to the Mayan Underworld

Actun Tunichil Muknal cave in Belize is where the Mayan's made ceramic, stoneware, and human sacrifices to honor and appease their gods. They believed that it was the entrance to the Underworld, and would wade through it's chest-deep waters for almost two miles, sometimes under the influence of hallucinogenic plants, to reach the summit of dry cave bed where they would make their sacrifices.

The Magical Mouth of the Cave of the Stone Sepulcher

This is the mouth of Actun Tunichil Muknal, a cave in Belize that the ancient Mayans believed was the entrance to the underworld. They took spiritual journeys deep inside of the three mile deep cave, often on hallucinogenic mushrooms, to make offerings and sacrifices to the gods.

the water is naturally this blue around the cave

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I wish I was in New Orleans

Happy Mardi Gras