Today began our ninth day in Belize, I can't believe we only have 3 more days here! We woke up for breakfast at 6:30, what a treat! No really waking up at 6:30 felt like sleeping in compared to the last 4 days of waking up before the sun. Feeling rejuvenated we sat down for our last breakfast at the Nazareth Retreat Center and said our thanks and good-byes to Sister Josephina. We packed the van once again with our large over stuffed packs and headed out to Punta Gorda for the last time for market day. The streets were covered with tables over flowing with fruits, vegies, and trinkets. After some last minute shopping for family and friends we headed back into the van and off to Lubantuun, a Mayan ruin site!

Mayan Ruins

Actually today I got to ride in the Equinox, the other more spacious rental car, for the first time all trip. Not that I mind being squished in a smelly van full of sweaty girls, but having my own seat and not sharing leg room with anyone was pretty nice. We arrived at Lubantuun and had to walk down an unusually steep hill that dipped, leveled out then became a calf burning climb. With the grass still wet from last night's rain it was inevitable that there would be some slipping and sliding. No time at all was wasted; Meg Sprankle was the first to slip. After a few more slips and laughs we made it to the visitor's center. The ruins left me breathless with images of what life would be like surrounded by these beautifully created structures. What made this experience so much more exciting was that we were allowed to climb on the ruins, with caution of course.

It was brutally hot today, but seeing the toppled tops of the pyramids that once stood tall into the skies still present with us today made me forget all about the heat. Saying good-bye to the ruins we got into the van and traveled two hours to Hopkins, a Garifuna village bordering the Caribbean. We stayed at the Seagull's Nest, little beach houses directly on the beach! Once we got settled into our rooms we kicked off our flip flops to check out the shore. Under a thatched roof hung three hammocks all for us, and a couple of chairs lined the water's edge. After a short peek at our beautiful scenery, we headed to Jabar's for our drum lesson. Clayton, our younger teacher was very patient with us. Soon enough we were drumming perfectly, well only the 3 beats he taught us. After an hour of drumming and tender fingers we were anxious to get in the water! As our neighbor Ronald described it, the Caribbean felt like a giant bath tub, warm and wonderful.

Juanita, the lovely owner of Seagull's Nest made us stewed chicken, red beans, rice, and cole slaw for dinner and then the Lebeha drummers performed for us back at Jabar's. Their region was a part of the Battle of the Drums, and they consistently held the winning title. After they showed off their skills, we all got up and danced the night away and joined in with some music playing. Tired from the new adventures from today we slowly crawled into bed and fell asleep to the waves outside out windows.

Belize drum circle

(Love you Mom and Dad, I can't wait to share my wonderful experience with you, see you soon!)

Marta Brohawn '13