the awesome hand-cranked ferry across the river to xunantunich, at the town of san jose succotz
After crossing the bridge from Santa Elena to San Ignacio, we continued on to the small town of San Jose Succotz to take the ferry across the river to the ruins of the Mayan city of Xunantunich. What an experience! When we got out of the car it was like walking into a furnace - it had to be like 110F or something! We waited for the man to hand-crank the ferry across the river to us and then Dion drove the car onto it. He got out and gave the guy a break and cranked the ferry across himself - then i gave it a try. It was so cool! I asked the guy if he switched hands, having to do that all day, haha... it was soooo cool, I have never seen anything like it before!
We got to the other side of the river (it's not very wide) and hopped back in the car for the short drive up to the entrance to the Xunantunich site.
dion giving the ferry guy and break and crankin it himself
I got my ticket from a guy who guessed I was Syrian from my name - weird - and then proceeded to hike up the hill in the deadly heat, to the ruins, alone. No one was here at all, it was a little creepy. What if I fell of the pyramid and died out here? haha... when i got to the top of the hill i looked back down and a car was driving up and i saw a couple people get out and start walking up the hill. cool, so if i die, at least someone will find me. =P I stopped to get some shade at the small museum and checked out the interesting exhibits and the 3 people i saw caught up to me - a German man, a woman, and another man who looked like their guide. As usual, I listened in as he explained some of the history and then went outside to check out the amazing view of the ruins.
el castillo in the background
We all climbed the towering "El Castillo" together (minus the woman, who was too hot to care!) and i found out the "guide" was actually a local who was the german's coworker at a bank in Belize City. We marvelled at the intricate inscriptions on the side of the pyramid as we continued to climb to the top - they were awesome! The climb, thank God, was much easier and less scary than Lamanai (no rope needed!), and the view from the top was unbelievable. We could see the other pyramids before us in a line, San Ignacio town behind us, and Guatemala to the left! I was so glad I chose to come to Xunantunich out of all the many Mayan sites in Belize to choose from!
We checked out the interesting stelae after coming back down, and by that time it was so HOT and i was drenched in sweat and SOOOOO thirsty.
me in front of the side of el castillo with its amazing inscriptions
I told Dion i needed to get a drink, and my GOD that was the BEST Fanta I have ever had in my life. It tasted like nectar from heaven (not that I've ever tasted that before, but that's what it probably tastes like - strawberry flavored fanta after climbing a pyramid in 110 degree weather, haha!). Dion and I said bye to the military guy he was talking to while he was waiting for me, and then we headed back across the ferry which i cranked all by myself this time (yay me, haha) and into town. On the way, strangely enough, we picked up Dion's wife from the Princess Casino - and then he dropped me off in front of the Casablanca Guesthouse where I'll be staying the next couple nights.
I checked in and met the very nice lady, Betty, who ran the place and who i booked the room from by email a few nights before I left.
on the top of the main pyramid at xunantunich
They showed me to my room which simple, but quaint, clean, and comfortable. I would definitely recommend it to anyone (check out my review!) I rested for a bit, and then went down to walk around town for a bit. I saw the Police HQ and the Hawkesworth Bridge and then walked down the main street, Burns Avenue, to Mayawalk Tours and checked in there for my trip to Tikal tomorrow morning. I stopped in at Eva's, (which is known to be the place for travellers to hook up and find others to join on trips, taxis, tours, etc... kinda like a bulletin board at a hostel), and asked if anyone was going back to Belize City on the 16th - nope, no one yet. I have no idea how I'm getting back there... i hope i won't need to get a taxi back that would be so expensive! I ordered a Belikin, Belize's beer, and chilled on the patio outside for a while.
police HQ at the entrance to san ignacio town
Then i went to Hanna's for a bite to eat and ordered the chicken curry which was quite good. I swear either the waitress was flirting with me or just really shy, cause she kept smiling at me and asking if I needed anything every 5 minutes... maybe they're just really friendly in cayo.. who knows! =)
After my yummy dinner, i went back to my room and chilled watching TV. I watched this cool survival show called Man vs. Wild, where this guy was dropped off in the middle of the Moab desert and had to find his way to civilization - the things he did to survive were incredible! Good show, and good stuff to know just in case that ever happens to me (yeah right)! Anyway, i went out to the balcony for a smoke, and Betty was out there with a few other people, and she was so friendly - we chatted for a while about what I did today and my plans for tomorrow, and just hung and watched the world go by on the street below, it was nice.
having a belikin outside of eva's on burns avenue
Today was a great day - but I can't wait for Tikal tomorrow, I'm so glad I planned it to be the last of the 3 sites i visit, because i have a feeling that even after the awe of Lamanai and Xunantunich... i'm going to be floored by it!