Paradise Found in Placencia
Over the past two weeks, we have been working hard on the Cahal Pech site, located on the southern outskirts of San Ignacio Town, in the upper Belize Valley region of western Belize. Throughout the long, sweat-filled days of the second week, we were able to clean and close-up the site for the season. We ended up achieving all of our goals, although there were some disappointing possible structures that will remain hidden from our group. Early morning, we all hopped in vans excited to get a change of scenery after a long day of diligent note taking and artifact washing. After a bumpy three hour ride, most of which we slept through, we arrived at a lively beach bar called “The Tipsy Tuna.” After a filling lunch of fish and chicken tacos and exquisite chocolate milkshakes, we hopped back into our vans ready to get to the hotel and take a well needed siesta.
A quick dinner and some laughs with friends ended our first night at Placencia perfectly. Saturday morning was the first day we were able to sleep in since last Saturday, and everyone took advantage of the opportunity. Cereal was was passed out the night before, and practically gone after Saturday morning when 15 hungry, growing students got into the boxes. The next hours were filled by games in the pool, lounging on the beach, intense games of beach volleyball, lots of picture taking, and even shotgunning freshly cut coconut milk..
Two games in particular became extraordinarily competitive. Most of the boys on the trip all met in the pool for a surprisingly physical game called “Star.” In this game, one person sits on the opposite end of the pool and begins the competition by saying the initials of a TV show, movie, or game. They then describe the said show/movie/game until someone swims across the pool, touches their hand, and says “Star” followed by the name of the described show/movie/game. For example, Ewan described a childhood movie called “Elf” As soon as Ewan said “E” followed by “Will Farrell stars in the movie,” Johnny Chidwick and Jack Clancy both took off swimming. The closer they got to Ewan, the more they wrestled and fought against each other to be the first to touch Ewans outstretched hand. Johnny won, but paid a price for the victory. In the scuffle, one of Johnny’s toes got cut by one of Clancy’s nails. However, the pride of beating Jack was enough to make the pain unnoticeable.
The other intense game played was Beach Volleyball. After the hotel put a net up, everyone gathered around to play or watch this tiring sport. The most important game, though, was by far the Sophomore vs. Junior game. The Sophomore team consisted of Cole Mitchell, Ewan McAloon, Lauren Meister, Hannah Higbea, Carter Laatsch, and me. The much less talented Junior team featured Johnny Chidwick, Jack Clancy, Mary Alexander, Copper Furguson, Max Carr, and Evan Rosato. With all the chaperones watching, the two teams battled it out in the blazing heat for what seemed like an hour. After multiple deuces, the game finally won with the far superior Sophomores on top. Although, this of course probably came as no surprise. After shaking hands in a respectful closing to a hard fought battle, the 5 team members and I celebrated with fresh coconuts and music.
Both teams were tired and in need of energy, and luckily our prayers were answered. Fresh lamb from Jamal's farm was delivered just minutes after the match, and it could not have come at a better time. We hung around the beach for the rest of the day, then went into town for a delicious pizza dinner and fresh gelato. It was a perfect ending to an exciting, physically taxing, but well-worth trip.