First Day in the Cayo
San Ignacio Travel Blog› entry 3 of 13 › view all entries
July 1st, 2010 – by: sayohat
Mark was in shopper's heaven, though. The stuff was nice, and he bought some gifts for people back home, including brightly colored bags, some jewelry and a slate carving of the main temple at Xunantunich that was hand-carved by one of the cutest little kids we'd seen, Victor. He was an active salesman, but we learned that he was related to most of the vendors.
I was a little concerned about the name of this place, which translates as "Place of the Ticks," but we only saw butterflies, birds and a few little lizards. It was relatively quiet and there was more shade than we'd seen yet, although it was still hotter than blazes. Cahal Pech is a "live" site, meaning that there is still much excavation going on, and we saw several archeologists digging up foundations, sifting through dirt for artifacts and otherwise unearthing more remnants of this ancient city that wasn't even discovered until the 1950s.
Around the side of the main plaza near where some groundskeepers were working were some steep steps up to a top plinth. This was the highest point at Cahal Pech and gave us a birds-eye view of the plaza with the backdrop of whispering winds. It was very peaceful. It would have been the perfect place for a picnic. We took our time slowly browsing the site, even though it would be the smallest sites we saw. Cahal Pech had a peace about it that beckoned to linger, and it being our first full day in the country, we didn't want to rush anything. We were also taking in the plantlife--so many flowering trees and buds. We noticed some olive-shaped fruits on the ground, some red and some green. They had a pungent but pleasant scent and were slightly oily to the touch. It turns out these were copal, from where citronella is made--a natural insect repellent.
By the time we had explored Cahal Pech, we were out of water and overheated.
We walked around town, past a park and the market, where they were getting ready to close for the day. Exotic fruit like carambola, apple bananas and pitayas decorated baskets in the stalls. After another round of showers and more walking around, we shared a burrito at a place called Erva's, which turned out to be the best burrito either of us had ever had. It was advertised as 12" but I think it was a few inches longer and filled with delicious beans and meat. Mark had a chocolate malt and I had a beer. We were exhausted, and didn't last much longer, but vowed to come back for more of that burrito goodness!
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