Cough Cough Cave

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Acropolis Hotel

Flag of Belize  , Cayo,
Thursday, February 23, 2012

I arrived with an annoying little cough that turned phlegmy, and become something of a chest infection. Cough syrup didn't help much despite finishing a bottle in a day, and neither did 4-hourly drags of my inhaler. It's been 7 years since my last asthma incident so I didn't even recognise it as such! It wasn't quite a proper attack, just an ongoing battle to breathe and unbeliezable tiredness. Only after a trip to the local hospital's emergency section and three sessions on the nebuliser did normal breathing resume. All for free! Rudi (tour tout turned chaperone) to the rescue, you have my undying gratitude!

While recovering we sat on the riverbed, licked the last of BBQ-ed chicken from our fingers (gotta love the Saturday market!) and looked for a dog to feed the bones to. That's how Mario got talking to an elderly rasta called Sebastian. We went back a few times to listen to his stories. Normally we found him at his outdoor workstation where he makes signs and banners for local businesses.  We were the first people we'd met who were from the same place as his roots. He kindly gave me a wristband that reads "Back to my Roots" that he made and took from his grandson visiting from another town. He'll make him another, I'm sure!  

The ATM cave that we diligently booked upon arrival was postponed twice for this reason. Worth the wait though! The bumpy ride didn't do my coughing any good but once we trekked through the jungle and crossed the river thrice, all was well in the world again. 

The cave itself was huge, dark and intriguing. We waded and swam through an underground river to reach its depths. As an ancient Mayan sacrificial ground some human remains still remain as well as artefacts, mainly broken pottery. Apparently shamen purposefully breaks the clay pots to release its spirit. Mayans believe that both animate and inanimate things have a spirit. The eerie shadows of the stalactites and stalacmites cast by our headlamps gave us some insight into the weird and wonderful images their potion-blurred eyes must have seen.

A common question by fellow travellers is how this trip compares to Semuc Champey, Guatemala. They're same-same, but different. See blog: 

We really liked the feel of this town. San Ignacio is steadily becoming a haven for backpackers. We bumped into Pei Sun (Taiwan), Paul and Flo (Germany) whom we met on the sailing trip, as well as two crazy London birds, Megan and Charli whom we've met before in Isla Holbox and again in Tulum. Who's stalking whom? We also made a few new friends - Meagan & Alex (Canada), Julia and Carla (London) - whom we're bound to run into again and again!
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