Emerald Princess Cruise from Houston, Texas March 22, 2015:
We thought we could find the port easily since we had sailed from Galveston once before and it was nearby. Everybody would know where the Princess cruises were located. But because this was a newer cruise development, our GPS did not recognize the address. We were able to get directions and there was plenty of time but after crossing a toll bridge twice and being misdirected by other helpers and receiving many blank looks – amidst heavy traffic - we started to get worried. We finally called the ship center itself and found an address that put us close. We were the last ones aboard and there were no other passengers to be seen. All were aboard and finishing their safety drill…..
First stop was Cozumel – I went on the new Chechenitza tour. The ship was a bit late because of a medical emergency and after a bus ride of an hour and 40 minutes we had not much over an hour to enjoy the site. Our Mayan guide did his best to enlighten us along the way and another guide showed us the most important things at the temples. We learned that true Mayans have a birthmark on their lower spine that disappears after about 7 years just like certain Asian people. The site is all about Astronomy and Astrology and calendars. Many Mayans are involved with construction and leave home for work at very low paying jobs – but construction skills are in their blood just like the Mohawk Indians? High rise workers – no fear.
We learned that the country is 85% Catholic and the religion is a mix of old and new. The Spanish used some of the building blocks from the ruins in the new construction including the old historic Catholic Church. The blocks are still there and are a part of history just like the ancient site. All the major cultures had the feathered or flying serpent god who came down from heaven. The Mayans serpent god went to the underworld and returned and the story is told in various languages with different names. The underworld was not a dreadful place or hell like other versions. There was a goddess of suicide because death was honorable and brought a linking with the gods. (like Hindu yoga linking)
We learned that the Quetzal bird makes a sound that is mimicked 85% by the clap of a hand when in front of the main temple. The echo is a shrill and strange sound produced from the building and steps of the temple. Serpents and dragons everywhere. We learned about the Chac Mul who held the sacred heart of victims. And most believe that the great ball court team that won was the team sacrificed. The 7 members were recorded on the walls of another structure as their hall of fame and hundreds of skulls have been found beneath the structure. When hands were clapped in the center of the huge ball court, 7 distinct echoes could be heard. And voices at one end of the hall could be clearly heard at the far end.
The calendar shows that the people have lived in the Yacatan from 2000 BC and the site probably had 500,000 inhabitants. There are about 5000 sites in the country and many more not found in the jungle. Obsidian stone used to slice and even cut the limestone rock and some surgeons still prefer obsidian knives today.
Our guide said that the fossils show that the area was under water millions of years ago. Biblical records tell of a worldwide flood and the stories originating from the tower of Babel and also the technology and building styles would have been carried around the world. People lived much longer then and populated the earth quickly at first. There would have been the period before the flood as Adam lived with others up to nearly 1000 years of age. There was the loss of the world (as known) with the corresponding loss of knowledge. The new world still had people who lived to a long age but that began to quickly decrease. Thus the time fits with the cultures of the bible and the building and religion is similar throughout the world.
We stopped at Roatan and enjoyed the beach and walked away from the tourist center. Immediately we came upon the real life of the locals. A little road through the trees and brush – very tropical and lush. We came upon a shack without windows and a woman washing clothes outside on a board – no running water or washing machine and no electricity. Interesting history of conquest and slavery and mixing of cultures….
At Belize March 26 all the ship tours were sold out and we decided to see what we could find on our own. Warned of some dangers… We had forgotten sharing books in the rush but prayed for God’s direction this day. The ferry that took us from the ship to shore (there were many) had a man who told us to contact his cousin at the port (Dion) and for $50 each he would show us the local Mayan ruins etc. But we never found Dion and after passing one (guide)? outside the gate who cut his price from $180 to a special of $50 each for $100 total – we moved on and another man approached us and said that he would take us in his little car for $40 each and also to a nature trail site with howler monkeys and birds for whatever we wished as extra cost/tip.
We agreed and found that this old man had lost his wife a couple of years ago to kidney failure and diabetes. His mother had died from diabetes also and his father from cancer. He caught fish everyday from the river and had bananas and papayas on his property. He took us to his humble little house along the way where he lived with his daughter and grandchildren. He told us that Dion was not a guide and that he had a deal with the ferryboat personnel to give a cut from contacts etc. but could only take people to the site and drop them off. Alvin claimed to be a licensed guide and legitimate. He had started guiding again after grieving the loss of his wife. His daughter said that he needed to get out again.
The prime food for the people was beans and rice and fish and local fruit – papayas, pineapple, coconut, a type of apple etc. His house was modest - others were very poor. He seemed to know everybody and his daughter worked at the ruins. They were nothing like the very touristy Chechenitza but interesting none the less. We learned about the tree of life and how the leaders would claim supernatural ability to control the sun and moon and because they had calendar and astronomy knowledge they would do performances on the top of the pyramid and appear to affect the eclipses etc.
Along the way we passed a little Seventh-day Adventist church and Linda said that we were 7th-day Adventists. That is when he told us that his parents had also been SDA. After our tour I asked him about whether his parents’ beliefs had been passed on to him and he said that his parents would not work at all on Sabbath but that he found it necessary sometimes. We told him that we understood but that God would sustain and bless if we trusted him. I then told him about his advantage with the bible knowledge of how these things came to be and the flood story and the timing of events and the reason for the flying serpent and dragon that was cursed to crawl. I said that he could use these things in his tours and ancient Babylon was the basis for everything we saw. We didn’t have our books but we gave him our website and he said that his father had had internet service which was still available and we understood that his daughter/grandchildren could help him connect. Alvin spoke good English, which is the official language but it was convenient for him to converse with locals in the local dialect (we thought) when he wished privacy. (Creole)?
When we asked about his family history (he looked Carribean black) we found that his family had not come free but had been imported from Jamaica and various trades had changed over the years as society changed and exports changed. His old car needed brake fluid and I wasn’t sure about the transmission… God bless Alvin and touch his heart so that he obeys and receives more blessing and assurance and stability. (Alvin has since come down with Covid-19 and, sadly, has passed away)