Xunatunich Ruins: GU Winter Term - Belize

Xunatunich Ruins: GU Winter Term - Belize


We got up bright and early and left for the tours. Half of the group went to cave tubing and zip lining, and the other half of us went to see mayan ruins and then cave tubing, but at a different time. We all piled into the van and made our way to San Ignacio. The car ride there was one I will never forget. In Belize, there aren't many traffic laws. It's sort of anything goes as long as you believe you are not putting yourself in danger. So our driver believed "safety" meant 100 kph (around 65 mph) was an appropriate speed for going through the bends in a mountain, passing cars while there is oncoming traffic seconds away, and veering through potholes (I don't know how the suspension in the car is still intact). The estimated two hour drive ended up being three hours, and once it was over we were all kissing the ground. But it actually wasn't quite over yet. We took a ferry across the river and got right back in the car. But luckily it was a short drive to the ruins. 

We met up with our tour guide and he was a little off. He told us, including Linda, about how he was pretty drunk the night before and when he woke up he wasn't going to come in to work until his wife forced him, and then mentioned that he can't wait until he gets off work so he can have a beer. He made sure we knew every fact about each plant we passed, it became a little annoying but he was extremely knowledgeable, it was evident he had been guiding tours for quite some time. 

The picture on the top left is the building where the king and his family lived. Most people would assume that the king lived at the top of the tallest building, but this isn't true. The picture in the top right hand corner, the tallest building, is 130 feet tall. This is where the high priests lived, so that they could be closer to the Gods. We were allowed to climb to the top of it and it was pretty terrifying for me. 

Before we climbed it, we saw the blood-letting seremonial sight. Our guide told us that here the Mayan women would pierce their nipples to appease the gods, because women would nurture babies by breastfeeding. The men would pierce their genitals to show they would sacrifice their reproductive organs to please the Gods. 

The picture you see on the bottom left is a picture I took of the side of the building. Once we were at the top of the building, it may have been one of the most beautiful sights I've ever witnessed, once I stopped hyperventilating and could actually stand up. From the top, you can look to the west and see Guatemala. A few of the girls took pictures doing tree pose on the edge, but I was way too scared. The last picture on the bottom right is junior Makenzie Olson being one of the brave ones to pose for a picture. 

- Sylvia Finger, sophomore