By: Laura Smith
Why I want to experience the 2012 Maya Winter Solstice at Chaa Creek
In October 2011 my husband and I arrived at Chaa Creek to celebrate our honeymoon. I had never been out of the states before, and was giddy with excitement. I knew our trip would be an adventure from the second I arrived. We took canoe rides, and journeyed into ancient caves. We awoke every morning to the mist rolling over the mountains. We fell asleep to the flicker of lightening bugs at night. It was magical.
What I did not remotely expect was how at home I would feel in a culture fundamentally different, and thousands of miles away from my own. The moment of truest wonder was after a long walk to the top of a temple in Tikal. There were men excavating the inside top room, and though we did not speak each others language they invited us inside to gaze at the newly revealed artwork on the ceiling of the temple. My husband and I were truly amazed, and full of gratitude.
Returning from Tikal, we stopped to see a local artisan doing traditional Maya sculpture. He showed us his work and told us the stories the individual pieces represented. Our love for the Maya culture truly blossomed that evening. We left his home with a small stone carving of a Maya couple on their wedding day.
We met many different people while we were visiting Belize. Time and again the conversation would drift to the upcoming Maya 2012 celebrations. When we left, our one and only regret was that our trip did not coincide with the solstice festivities of the next year. Up until now, resources seemed to dictate this as an impossible dream.
However, with this contest I now see the possibility to revisit a second home at a very special time. Our honeymoon at Chaa Creek was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The chance to make this trip, would be a once in a lifetime honor.