Thursday, 22 May 2008

day 3 (La Milpa)

The days starts early with a 6am alarm to go birding at 6:30 for an hour. The early start allows viewing more birds as they wake up and before it gets to hot during the day. We managed to see a roadside hawk, vultures, a toucan (at long distance) and various other birds that i will never remember the name of. this was followed by breakfast before our 8:15 start to see the Mayan Ruins at La Milpa

The ruins here have not been excavated the same way as at Lameni or Tikal and so they are all under a covering of jungle and trees. The city was once the 3 largest in Belize and this could have been 60k people. Belize was once a country of 1m people back in the heights of the Mayan people whereas now it is only 300k. It appears they discovered 1300 years ago that deforestation, over farming,soil erosion was a problem (although the population was slashed to discover this). There are 3 separate Plaza's which are surrounded by large structures inc 2 temples and a large number of high status living areas. This took around 2.5 hours and was an excellent and private way to see the ruins with our guide. A group of 100 archaeologists are due next week to start on a dig to continue the research.

We got to drive back and then lunch was at 12pm. Then I rested in a hammock outside, for a couple of hours before we took the mahogany walk which was short at 0.4m but involved walking around the jungle for a hour or so, looking at the various trees, and birds and other wild life. On a couple of occasions we got to see spider monkeys in the distance at the top of the canopy.

Dinner was chicken with beans, tortia and potato salad with beer and then we are off on a night safari in the Hilux. Well the trip was fun as we got to ride on a bench that was not secured in the back of it. However we did not see much in the way of wildlife, we saw a kincacue which is a type of monkey but no birds. They clearly were hiding or asleep.

Then off to bed again early as we have yet another early start tomorrow.

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