Yax Ha, to Belize

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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2000. Next morning we awoke to a scene worthy of a picture postcard. Our room had a big balcony with a 180* view of the Laguna Peten Itza from Tayasal across to the pastel multi-colored buildings of Santa Elena. Small boats crossing the laguna barely created a wake to disturb the utter tranquility of the scene. Our balcony included a large philodendron plant strategically placed in the corner to be watered automatically by the condensation drip from the air conditioner. Pretty clever!

Before breakfast, our shoes were magically returned to us in a significantly cleaner state. What a challenge that must have been!

After a nice breakfast in a room with a good view of the laguna, we boarded our bus and headed for the site of Yax Ha. Though this site is close to the main road to Tikal, I had never managed to visit it. In terms of its urban lay-out and at least one of its stelae, Stela 11, Yax Ha shows signs of Teotihuacan influence. I think I have read that it is considered a late site. It does have a good example of a twin-pyramid complex like those at Tikal. The high pyramids have spectacular views of Laguna Yax Ha and the surrounding countryside. At lunch at the adjacent posada, I discovered that one of the major studies on this site had been done by Nicholas Hellmuth, the fellow that put on the digital imaging workshop that I attended in 98 in Cocoa, FL. I ran into Nicholas again in Sayaxche last January. Ill have to e-mail him and see if I can get a copy of his report. He is not well-regarded professionally because of some misapplied opportunism and allegedly shady activities. But he certainly does take good pictures.

We then boarded our bus and headed toward Belize. The countryside was gently rolling and green very pretty. The border crossing was a bit of an ordeal. The official, who was quite nice to all of us, took some exception to Marco Antonio and had him fill out the same form twice and go back to the end of the line. Oh, well.

We stayed at the Hotel San Ignacio in San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize. As Greg kept saying, it was so weird to be in Latin America with people who spoke English. We gathered in the general vicinity of the bar, ran up a bigger-than-expected bar tab, then had dinner at our hotel.