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Jessica Garcia Field Blog 1, June 19, 2019

The flight to Belize was only six hours - way better when compared to my last field experience which was a 36-hour flight. Once we stepped off the plane, the humidity immediately hit me. Belize is so green and extremely beautiful. The people are friendly and everyone seems to be in a good mood.  

aerial of temple plaza
Our first weekend, we had the pleasure of visiting the Maya site of Caracol. Seeing the temples was one of the most amazing experiences in my life so far. It is absolutely amazing to see how ancient peoples could modify the landscape around them. Seeing Maya glyphs carved into the temples brought me to absolute tears and climbing up the temples literally took my breath away. The stairways were steep and each step was incredibly high

Everything was astoundingly beautiful. As an archaeologist, one of my favorite things to do is looking at a landscape and try to imagine what it would have looked like in the past. Standing at the top of these temples, where once only high members of Maya society could stand, was magical. The stones that held up these artificial mountains were beautifully and carefully carved with precision – the level of accuracy is astonishing.

      Traditional Maya Rubber Ball GamePlayers about to take the field to play the traditional Maya Rubber Ball game.
 Maya playing traditional rubber ball gameThe Maya ball game originated more than 3,000 years ago.
To close out our first weekend, we went to a community event put on by the town of San Antonio and the Maya First cultural revitalization organization. Walking around the town of San Antonio, I felt so at home and welcomed. We were able to try traditional Maya foods such as jute (snail) soup and deer soup, and I had the opportunity to sit with local children and help translate their names into Mayan glyphs. The event also included traditional dances and the traditional rubber ball game of Mesoamerica.  
snail soupJute soup, aka Snail soup

As I experienced all these things, I realized how grateful I am for the ethnographic research tools taught to me by my professors at CSUSM, especially Professor Mike Wilken, because I was able to experience this event through participant observation allowing me to be both an insider and an outsider within the event. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I'm so excited to see what else is to come during my time in this beautiful country.