The bus bounces down a bustling street in Santa Elena; textile patterns blur against wooden stalls.We spend the morning wandering through a pop-up market with produce, trinkets, and necessary items for the locals that frequent the shops. Many in the group paw through hairbands, bracelets, and masks which exemplify the fabric, bead, or woodwork styles of the area. We stay in town until we finish dining in a nearby park.
In the palms above us, howler monkeys leap from branch to branch and get our attention.
We are at Xunantunich, a Mayan city in ruins a kilometer from the boarder of Guatemala, so named after a semi-modern, local legend of a lady turned to stone. Among the Pok-ta-Pok ball courts and plazas lies El Castillo, the highlight of the site at over 100 ft. tall. The frieze surrounds it depicts a tree of life and several of the gods- typically those associated with creation. We spend the afternoon in awe of the architectural stylings of the Mayans in pre- to post classic times.
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