Aluminum at my sister's theater and I had the idea of going to the costume ball as one of the characters from the show (a big dryer vent). Somehow, the idea got shot down. Wouldn't you know that the winners of the contest, that walked away with $1000 to spend on board the ship, came as big dryer vents. That prize was so mine!
There were two other ships here as well. Since the port can not handle the large ships, we had to be tendered in on smaller boats.
Once on shore, we boarded a bus that had seen it's better days and headed off down a fairly rough patch of road. When we were far away from the "city", we turned on to another "road". This road was nothing more than a single path. Yet it is the main road that goes to the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins. When we passed an on coming vehicle, both would have to put the right tires in the ditch and share the road. There were some pretty tight places. We trudged along this path, passing what looked like abandoned shacks. You could tell that there were people living there by the laundry hanging to dry. We were definitely in another world. It makes you appreciate everything that you have at home. It was explained to us that these people only work when there is a harvest to bring in and they make about $12 US per day. They work hard 9 hour days, often without breaks. The people that do the best are the ones catering to the Americans that come into port every day. The question was asked at one point, "Why don't they clean up their yards, surely that doesn't cost anything?" The answer was that if they make their house look too nice, others will come and "borrow" their stuff. So they actually want their yard to be messy and the house look run down. Since it is the tropics, there is little need for insulation, air conditioning, windows and in some cases, even doors seemed optional.
The Altun Ha Mayan Ruins were only discovered in 1985 and have brought a whole new industry to the country; tourism. The area was completely covered in jungle and there is far more still to be uncovered.
They do know that much of the surrounding land was farmed. They had an amazing system of water retention and distribution.
From the inhabitable structures that they have found, they discovered the use of air vents, used like a natural air conditioner.
(I may have that reversed.)
|A view of the natural jungle surrounding the ruins.|