|After our excursion to the island paradise, we set straight for a known campsite (thanks again Rough Guides) in a place called Crooked Tree (completely forgot to ask why it's called that!!). The bus dropped us off at the end of the road to the village and we (Ric) decided to attempt the 8km walk. As it tuns out walking in the blistering Belizian savanna with little water and heavy rucksacks is a bad idea. What we got a was a very desolate village with a stunning view of a nature reserve lake which was nearly all dried up. Due t the water being so low and the lake much smaller than it normally is, all the birds had to cluster together giving us a very good point of view for bird watching ( if we did bird watching that is), our driver turned out to be a guide and was very keen on giving us an "on route" tour of the wildlife.
We camped here with the plan of eating and visiting the Lamanai ruins the next day, which would have worked smoothly if Ric's bag hadn't been infested with ants!! Something had attracted them inside and out which gave us a not so pleasant 2 hour cleaning session. The next day as planned we were getting ready for a ruins tour when it happened again!! We had put our bags in our transported cases thinking this would stop them, but as it turns out this ants (which did bite) ate through this outer layer and proceeded to fill the bag again. Great start to the day.
After another clean out session (followed by tent move, rucksack sanctuary and bug spray) we got in a taxi for our tour. The driver again was quite happy to give us a mini tour of Belize (about 40km drive) including its agriculture, tourism etc. The tour was done in 2 parts, firstly the boat that would take us up river and the ruins themselves. In the photo you can see one of two spider monkeys that were very friendly. Climbing all over the boat and eating tourists burritos. During the ride the guide talked on about the river birds/trees/crocs, what each was good and bad for (sap of the Poison Wood induced 3rd degree burns!! Cured by the tourist tree (look it up) ).
The ruins themselves were fascinating. The guide was adamant about how the Mayans were set apart from the Aztecs and Incas, being more reserved ,cultured and spiritual, I guess you have to take it with a pinch of salt. However the ruins themselves were a sight to see. The picture doesn't give a good sense of scale, but the biggest was higher than all the trees giving view for miles and miles. The picture of the mask is from the side because it demonstrates that what they did was build a small temple, use it as they did for 52 years and then start afresh by building a newer temple over the top. Creating new stairs, statues and walls. The picture shows how they covered up the mask under a new layer (later to be uncovered by archeologists).