The tale of the missing Mayan children

Trip Start Feb 13, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Amaya´s Inn

Flag of Belize  , Toledo,
Sunday, February 26, 2012

     One lazy Punta Gorda morning, Victor Jr., our hotel owner´s son, asked us if we cared to join him for a short drive out to an old crocodile sanctuary because his part time job as a real estate agent required him to take some pictures of the land. My mind was sidetracked by the question of how it seemed as though everyone in this town had multiple careers but rarely seemed to be working. Whitney, enthusiastically, confirmed our spot in the flatbed of his truck, and we were off. Apparently, to get to this property you have to drive through the district´s trash fill. Not a good selling point for Junior. It did give us time to note how Belize has little if any recycling programs, but they find 9 lives for just about everything before considering it trash. In the States, we have a growing number of recycling options, but we´re keen to throw out another man´s treasure. When we arrived at our destination, we were surprised to see the remnants of a few burned down buildings and the fences around the small bodies of water mangled and toppled over. This was better time than any for a good story:

A couple years ago, two Indian (Mayan ancestors) children were selling lemonade at a stand in Punta Gorda and, suddenly, disappeared. The police exhausted all possibilities, but came up empty-handed. The dissatisfied villagers decided to consult an oracle to ascertain the children´s whereabouts. The oracle informed them that the children had been eaten by crocodiles so the villagers turned their attention to the sanctuary. The Canadian couple that owned the sanctuary vehemently denied the accusations and refused to allow the search of their premises. Again, the police stopped there while the villagers remained thirsty for more answers. They formed a mob and stormed the property demanding to be allowed to search for the children. They broke through the gates, and (some claim) they found torn children´s clothes in one of the buildings. This fueled the mob to overturn every rock in their path. Coming up empty handed, they burned down the buildings and chased the Canadian couple away as they fled by boat. The story was a minor headline in mainstream Western media, mostly, portraying the Indian villagers as lawless savages. The property continued to remain in its abandoned, post-apocalyptic state to this day.
    
     Then it struck me; there were, undoubtedly, a good number of crocodiles roaming free around us. It felt as though we were in Jurassic Park... after the electric fences came down. Eventually, we got our pictures. I stayed in the safe confines of the flatbed, and Whitney ventured out a short distance before running and screaming back to the truck after the first unrecognizable noise she heard. Before leaving, we ate a termite because.... who knows; it was an odd day. To our surprise, they taste just like peppermint. We backtracked the way we came past the crocodiles and through the vultures of the landfill, which come in both bird and human form, and back to comfy hotel hammocks.

     As for the children, there are still missing signs scattered around Belize, and their fate remains a widely debated topic.
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