Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jungle Boat Cruise to the Lamani Ruins

On our list of "to-do's" while in Belize was a trip to the mainland to explore the different regions and see what the interior had to offer. We got up early Friday morning and caught the express ferry over to Belize City. Our transportation for the journey was a little silver truck that we rented from Crystal which we'd heard was a reliable rental car company. The truck was a bit more expensive than a car, but we were told that a lower wheel base would never withstand the roads upon which we were going to be driving. They SURE knew what they were talking about, but we'll get to that point of discussion in a later blog post.....

We drove North towards the town of Orange Walk and stopped at a toll bridge to catch a boat to take us on a river cruise to the Lamani ruins. The owners of the tour also lived on the property under a huge palapa. The wife served us a tasty breakfast before we boarded the little vessel, piloted by the husband Fernando, that would take us on our adventure. We cruised up the New River in search of the ruins. It felt like we were straight off a page of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". The jungle river wound around, in places very narrow and in others, much wider. After an hour and a half, the view opened up as we came out into a huge, wide lagoon. We were able to see the top of a temple high above the lush, green trees as captain Fernando turned left and idled over to a dock.

Fernando fed us a typical Belizian meal (stewed chicken and rice and beans) made by his wife before beginning the tour of the ruins. We were given tidbits of information not only about the various temples and Lamani Mayan rulers, but also about the way the Maya used different types of plants and trees to cure whatever ailed them. Even with the cloud cover, our walk around the ruins was breeze-less and muggy. We boarded the boat and began our trip back down the Apocalypse Now-esque river, glad to have the wind whipping our faces again.

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