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Old Benque

Twenty five years of creeping us out with its dark stories and Belizean folklore, I will never forget the part of that book when the spirit gave the woman the candle that later tuned into a femur.  The first time I read the story was in high school for my Spanish class but I think I did not appreciate the book until much later when I reread it and understood it better.  The book was first published in 1990 and is written in Spanish, a true work of art by David Nicolas Ruiz Puga, an educator and cultural promoter from Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo, Belize.  It features a blend of historical events, Belizean culture and folklore and is now an iconic book in Western Belize. One of the memorable things about the book is the compilation of images sketched within its pages.  I was always thrilled about them.  The drawing of the skeletal spirit handing over the white candle has certainly haunted me all these years, and the rest of the drawings are equally as memorable.

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The Shell Goret

There were many interesting presentations at the BAAS 2015 and, for me, the most captivating was the one delivered by Dr.  Jason Yeger and their discovery of a shell goret at Buena Vista del Cayo. Made from marine shell, the species is still undetermined because of it was so heavily modified. It was likely worn and suspended from the neck, as indicated by two drilled holes.  It also has a concave shape and is 13cm by 9cm, likely dating to AD 450. The disk has hieroglyphic text across the top half and an ancestral head profile looking downwards. The glyphs name the bearer of the goret as being Naah Uti’ K’ab and it was likely found within his grave.

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Cayo Winners 2015

Last night was the 13th National Tourism Awards.  Congratulations to all the winners.  Your hard work and dedication pays off. congratulates the Cayo winners, those hard working Cayo people that brought all those awards home because when we win, the Cayo District wins. And the Cayo winners are Guava Limb Cafe,  Table Rock Lodge, Gaia River Lodge, San Ignacio Resort Hotel and Anderson’s Caves Branch Jungle Lodge.

Guava Limb Cafe won Resturant of the Year.  It is located in downtown San Ignacio.  The exterior is a colonial building with a modern touch.  It prides itself in serving quality coffee drinks, pastries, signature dishes and a wide variety of specials.  Table Rock Lodge won Small Hotel of the Year.  Located just outside the village of Cristo Rey on the Pine Ridge Road, it offers a beautiful Jungle and farm cabins for their guests. Hotel of the Year went to Gaia River Lodge, located in the Elijio Panti Forest Reserve near the mountain Pine Ridge.  It offers fine dinning and comfortable cabins all overlooking the 5 Sisters Falls. Hospitality Award went to San Ignacio Resort Hotel, located in the heart of San Ignacio Town. The hotel offers prestigious accommodations, exquisite dining at their Steakhouse Resturant and a variety of amenities like the Green Iguana Conservation Project. It is managed by Mrs. Mariam Roberson, who also brings home the Minister’s Award. Tour Operators of the Year went to Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch Jungle Lodge, located along the Hummingbird Highway, near the St. Herman’s Cave and Blue Hole National Park.  It offers a jungle setting, beautiful river, treehouses, jungle suites and exciting adventure cave tours.

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Caracol Altar 26 revisited

As promised this is for tour guides or anyone that would like to know a little more details about alter 26 feel free to download and share the info.  this was published by Mexicon

Xunantunich Updates

Last year, I visited Cahal Pech.  Mr. Jorge Can was more than willing to provide information of the developments at the site. Yesterday, tour guides of the Cayo West Association and the Cayo Tour Guides Association visited the site of Xunantunich to listen to the new developments. Under the direction of Dr. Jamie Awe, the new excavations will be conducted on several buildings that have not yet been investigated and other areas that were previously excavated by Richard Levental. The areas that will be excavated and consolidated are structure A2, A3 and A20.  This will certainly change the face of the site core as it is today, but I heard a rumor that the south end of el Castillo will also be done on a later project.

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Sports Day

For the past weeks we have seen children from different schools visiting marketplaces, factories, sanctuaries and many tourist destinations, all part of the Education Week here in Belize. This week in particular is Education week, all leading up to Friday, which is Teachers Day, a day teachers are given a break from regular classes and participate in activities planned for them either at national, branch or school level.  It applies to all teachers from primary school and secondary schools and normally they use this day to go on a day or weekend trip organized by themselves or their school administration. Teachers work very hard on the days leading up to Teachers day, planning trips, writing end of year exams,  but today is Sports Day at least for the children of Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio.

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New finding at Caracol

“Everyone moved into the various huts and situated themselves while Diane and I went to the top of Structure A13 and photographed the new monument with an elaborate flash setting. The resultant photograph was remarkably crisp and revealed a lot of detail on the new altar. The iconographic scene is one of two seated individuals facing each other, with the one on the right making a gesture of submission or alliance; both are named in the accompanying hieroglyphic text.” PhD Arlen Chase

The story coming in of this new finding at the ancient site of Caracol is still very vague and downright sketchy if you ask me but I tell you as I heard it. We know that the BDF Belize Defense Force are situated at the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve and the Chiquibul National Park specifically in Douglas Da Silva Forestation and Tapir camp. Everyday or whenever they have a working vehicle members of the BDF will accompany tour groups heading to Caracol. One one such day a member of the BDF had climbed on top of structure A13 possibly to get a higher vantage point such tactics can also me observed at the site of Xunantunich. While also cleaning in the same area a caretaker of the site climbed to the top of A13 and noticed that the BDF was observing an exposed stone the caretaker later commented that he had always climbed above to clean and had never given the stone any importance.

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Special Thankyou’s and our year in review

Our year in review presented with some very interesting facts

Christmas in Cayo

When it comes to Christmas in Belize, we certainly do it big! It’s a time that Belizeans do home improvement; this can be making an addition to their homes, painting the house or fence, wash and clean the windows, even power wash pathways, all to get it ready for the season. Many of us decide to purchase a new sofa set or dinning set, electronics, kitchen appliances or even washers and dryers. Economists say that during the second week in December, Belizeans spend the most money. I could compare this time to the American Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas all in one. In the past, nativity scenes were what people did, some being very detailed; but as time progressed, likely because of media, Christmas trees became more popular and so did that jolly happy man known as Santa. As a child, my parents arranged and decorated real pine trees. The scent of pine in the house was amazing. They would also decorate the house with lights. As time went by, more and more Belizeans caught on to this activity. Later came the introduction of artificial or plastic pine trees now widely used, likely because it’s more economic, convenient and, why not, it saves a lot of our pine trees!

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