Saturday, September 15, 2007

Akil 7

Saturday morning found the two of us out of bed by 7am. Since the whole house was deathly quiet, we made coffee and retreated to the back patio to enjoy the early morning solitude. After discussing what adventure might await us this day, and probably solving all the world’s problem too, we finally heard people stirring in the house.

A groggy Juan joined us on the patio with his two rabbits in hand. We were regaled with the story of his adventure the night before. He actually did not go to the jungle but rather to a nearby banana plantation to hunt. Somehow, while looking for a rabbit he had shot at, he managed to stumble into a deep hole full of mud and very dirty water. We saw the clothes he had been wearing and did not doubt the story at all. The rest of the family took turns sticking their heads out the door and saying Buenos Dias and then retreating back into the house. About an hour after everyone was up, Maria called us in for breakfast.

She had outdone herself, making an American style breakfast. Scrambled eggs with Mexican sausage, juice, more coffee, toast for us and tortillas for them. We gobbled it up and learned what our day was to hold.

We were off to Lol-Tun, the near by cave home to the Mayans. Lol-Tun means Stone Flower. Or, literally translated, Flower Stone. So, after Maria’s brother Wilbur and his 5 year old son, Fabian, arrived, we piled into the vehicles and headed out. It was now 11 in the morning. So much for early starts.

We drove out of town aways and saw the sign for Ruta Puuc, the road to most of the Mayan ruins and sights in the area. After about 40 minutes of driving, we turned into the entrance of the cave.

Juan parked and promptly disappeared with his whole brood somewhere towards the entrance and ticket booths. We were again left to catch up. While approaching the ticket counter, an English speaking guide told us to hurry because the only English language tour of the day was about to start. We bought our tickets and looked around for Juan and gang. We finally found them by the snack stand and headed to the entrance. We divided into two groups. Juan and Lizzie came with us while the rest of the group headed off for the Spanish language tour leaving just directly ahead of us.

We descended about 50 steps, picking our way very carefully. They were polished smooth by the thousands of feet that had preceded us. It did not help that they were also wet and that there was not a handrail to be seen. By the time we reached the bottom I was thinking I was maybe not too smart doing this tour. At the top the guide had told us that we would wind our way around two kilometers (1.25 miles) of trails before emerging from the cave in a different location. And this would only be a partial view of the cave since many rooms and areas were closed to the public as being too dangerous or not yet fully charted. I was being very careful of my footing. My back has hardly bothered me at all since moving to this climate and I certainly did not want to slip, fall or jerk it into bothering me again. Our little group gathered at the bottom of the stairs while the guide gave us a little history.

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