I suppose I better write this report while it’s still fresh in my mind and before Johnboy has a chance to tell everyone how stupid we were…..hehehe
We had met Johnboy and Linda soon after they arrived on Sunday and planned to meet them on Monday around 11 or noon to go have lunch. Like every other day while in Belize, we were awake around 5:30 so we had some time to have breakfast and basically goof off. We had no plans for any tours so we decided to head to the south end of the island in search of the Mayan ruins at Marco Gonzalez. I had read a couple of articles about them before we left but didn’t really know what to expect. I knew they were basically unexplored but I thought it might be interesting.
We headed south – not really knowing exactly where to go, but thought we’d just happen on to the ruins. If not, we would at least have a nice trip to a part of the island we hadn’t seen. After a few miles, we came upon a young man walking down the cart path. We stopped and asked him if he knew where they were to which he replied “Yes, I was just heading there myself.” What luck! We had our very own “guide”…..or so we thought. We asked “Omar” if he’d like to ride with us and show us where to go. We don’t ordinarily pick up strangers like this, but Omar seemed like an “OK” guy and he was very nice. We knew we didn’t have ALL day for this excursion, so we asked him how far away they were. “Oh….not too far” was his reply.
He told us we needed to watch for a pine tree. Before long, sure enough, we came to a pine tree where we parked our golf cart to begin (according to Omar) a short hike. We weren’t really prepared for any major hiking…..me in cheap flip-flops, Bill at least had some Teva-type shoes. A “short” hike couldn’t be that bad…..or could it? We WERE, however prepared with plenty of bug repellent, which Omar also loaded up on. At least we get 1 point for coming prepared for bugs. Omar soon found the path through the mangroves. The “path” soon became more of a creek filled with brown slimy water and mud…..not the best conditions for flip-flops. “No problem” says Omar…..”just take them off and go barefoot. The dirt is nice and soft and won’t hurt your feet.” That was true to some extent….the dirt (mud) was soft! There were also shoots of mangrove growing up through the mud and slime. As long as I walked carefully, I didn’t poke those sticks into my feet (very often). At times, we would sink up to our knees in the slime. My little flip flops would have surely sucked off my feet and been left deep in the mud. “Omar – just how far do we have to go through this stuff?” “Oh, not too far.”
Well we didn’t really have to go TOO far through THAT stuff. Soon, we came to thick jungle. We were climbing over branches and under logs. After a bit, Omar said “We just need to get over to that area with the palm trees.” But seeing that area and getting to them are 2 different things. I’m sure if we had a machete, we could have cut our way through, but at the same time, I was a little relieved that Omar didn’t have a machete with him. Suddenly, I had strange thoughts running through my head. “What if Omar is taking us out to some secluded spot to kill us and dump our bodies?” Heck, our bodies would NEVER be found out here! Silly thought but it did cross my mind (a little too late). Bill had another thought cross his mind. He said “If we make it to the ruins and find a road leading to them from the other side, I’m gonna sh**.”
Anyway, we backtracked several times and we saw all kinds of interesting little crawly things along the way. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not the squeamish type when it comes to bugs, but I just wanted to know which ones might be biting me. One little creature in particular looked odd….kinda like a king-sized silverfish like I used to see come up in the bathtub. When I asked Omar what it was, he just said “I think they call it a roach.” It looked harmless enough so onward. “We aren’t going to get LOST in here are we Omar?” “Oh no, we won’t get lost.”
After what seemed like HOURS and HOURS, we finally came upon “the ruins”. They weren’t quite what I was hoping for. We saw a few stone blocks stacked up and the ground was scattered with shards of pottery and conch shells. I suppose if we had come prepared for the trek into the site, we would have been thrilled at being here. It would have been fun to poke around and see what we could find, but by this time, I was getting a little concerned about how we would get OUT of here.
Note: One more little thing that began to worry me….Bill is diabetic and I had no idea what I would do if he started having blood sugar problems. That’s another thing we didn’t bring along (glucose of any kind). I never thought it would be necessary because it’s “Not too far.”
I think Omar knew I was getting a little bit worried and a touch agitated. I told him that John and Linda would be getting upset when we were late (trying to hurry him up a little). I really think he wanted to dig around a little but I convinced him to take us back NOW. Remember I asked him if we might get lost? Well, for all the times we backtracked on the way IN, we backtracked 3 times on the way out. Several times, Bill and I both knew he was headed the wrong direction, but let him lead anyway. We also came across rows and rows of leaf-cutter ants. One part of me wanted to stop and take pictures of them but the other part of me just wanted to get the heck out of there.
FLASH – another thought crossed my mind – “Omar, what does poison wood look like?” “Oh, I don’t know but I don’t think there is any around here.” We later found out after re-reading the articles about Marco Gonzales, that there is indeed poison wood there. Finally, Bill decided we would have better luck using our own instincts. A couple of planes flew over (believe me, I had thoughts of setting a rescue fire…hehehe). The sun was almost directly overhead, but Bill and I both had a good idea of the general direction we had to go and the planes just reinforced our thoughts. Omar went one way and Bill went the other. You can guess whom I followed. Before long, Omar joined us after he realized he had made another boo- boo. With Bill leading, we seemed to be making progress and shortly, we came upon the “path” of brown mud and water. I never thought that brown yucky mud would ever look so GOOD!
Oh my…..another horrible thought! What if there is no golf-cart where we parked it? Oh well, at least we will be on a ROAD and we will eventually make it back to civilization. If it took us 45 minutes to trek through this path on the way in, it only took us about 20 minutes on the way out. By this time, the water had heated up and it actually burned our feet at times. About half way through the brown slime, Omar said “I would never have tried this alone. I’m glad you guys were here with me.” Hell, he should be glad….he might still be walking in circles….hehehe
Finally, we came out into the open and there sat that BEAUTIFUL golf cart with our ice chest still in the little basket. I looked at my watch and realized we could still make it to Mata Rocks before noon and at least John and Linda wouldn’t be sitting and wondering where we were. Bill pulled out an ice-cold grape Fanta. It’s funny, but this one tasted even better than the ones I had earlier. We offered some to Omar, but he declined. We then expected him to join us on the cart for the ride back up north but he said he just wanted to walk up the beach route and meditate. I hope he wasn’t offended by my insistence on getting the heck out of there and I don’t think that was the case. We bid farewell to Omar and wished him a nice walk on the beach and started to drive off when he had one more question for us….”Are you going to give me a tip for guiding you?” Hmmm……I guess in my haste to get back, that hadn’t crossed my mind and I guess it should have. We gave him a few dollars and headed out. Thinking back, maybe we should have asked him for a tip for guiding him back out
About a mile up the road, we came to the ocean. It looked as good as that grape Fanta! We parked the cart and I RAN into the water (which was only about shin deep). I wanted all that brown muck off of me so I proceeded to lay down in the water and flop around. I’m sure if anyone had been watching, they would have wanted to lock me up in a loony bin. You can only imagine what John and Linda (and everyone else at Mata Rocks) thought when we arrived. I’m thankful nobody took any pictures of us. We explained where we had gone and what we had done, and the bartender at Mata Rocks couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t think he had ever heard of anyone trying to visit the ruins at Marco Gonzales.
We headed back to our place at Seven Seas and took a LONG COLD shower before heading back into town to meet John and Linda for lunch at Elvi’s. Hopefully by then, people could no longer tell by looking at us just how stupid we had been. I was ready to forget all about that morning.
That night was the party at Fido’s –
Johnboy and Linda had already met up with Richard Chambers and his friends. As soon as introductions had been made, Richard and Hud asked “Did you hear about those nuts who went to the ruins?” Wow we were already famous….hehehe
So here’s my story….it wasn’t the smartest thing we ever did, but we do have something to think back on and laugh. http://ambergriscaye.com/marcogonzales