February 5, 2007
We are nearly ready to start this season’s excavations. Carlos, Jaime, Asterio, Gustavo, Saul, Julio came into camp with Brian Woodye on the 27th of January on the first food run, to start opening up the camp. There were: thatch roof repairs to be done; the kitchen to set up with butane freezer, stove, and refrigerator; and, general clean-up of camp. We also needed to replace the refrigerator and stove. The kitchen staff – Angelica, Linda, and Mirna – came in on the 30th to set up the kitchen and supplies.
We left home in Florida at about 3PM on Saturday the 27th of January, with help from Amy and Amanda. Elyse and I did some last minute supply shopping that morning for personal items; Amy, Amanda, and Elyse did an office supply run the night before. Most camp purchases (plastic bags, sun showers, boots, etc.) were made over the last few weeks.
Our trip was made more interesting by the addition of our puppy Che, who settled down in the car after the first day. We made good time by starting early, driving late, and eating a sit down meal only in the evening. We stopped at night in Tallahassee, Corpus Christi, Tuxpan, and Palenque, where we visited with Julie and Alfonso at the Maya Restaurant and met visitors, including Kenneth Garrett and Terry Vogt.
On arriving in Belize, we headed for Cayo and the San Ignacio Hotel. The next day included trips to the Institute of Archaeology for our permit and to Celina’s store to arrange for more supplies. The drive into Caracol was uneventful, although bumpy due to all of the rain during the past few months. Camp is relatively clean. At this point in time, we are reorganizing, fine-tuning camp set-up, bushing structures that we will be digging, and trying to set up the satellite communication system. Adrian, Aubrey, and Elyse helped with initial set up, but also have started doing schoolwork that was not possible in the car while driving.
Our first night in camp was not too pleasant; Elyse was sick and up every hour; however, since then the only problems have been bad colds for Arlen and myself. Our biggest problems thus far have been: the battery on the Expedition going dead as Arlen entered camp on Saturday with Amy, Andy, and groceries; difficulties with the Directway satellite dish; and, leaving a key battery charger behind. Today (Monday), there is also a cold front on its way and rain has been pelting us on and off all afternoon. While this is great for filling water tanks, it makes both getting excavations underway and trips in and out more difficult.
We hope to start excavations tomorrow (Tuesday).Diane Z. Chase