Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The path wound in and out of the trees. The first thing I noticed were the mosquitoes. They were as large as dragon flies and hummed as loudly as humming birds! They also decided they liked my blood better than any other in the entire forest. I swatted and smacked, yelled, and cursed, but was covered in bites within minutes. I soon gave up smacking for scratching. It wasn’t long before I realized my feet were aching and the rough ground had been cutting them. I really missed my shoes! I walked for what seemed like hours along the barely visible and winding trail. My stomach started rumbling, I itched everywhere, I tripped on roots and pushed through leafy overhangs and ducked under vines or low branches. I was beginning to think this path led nowhere! But it was too well-worn not to have led somewhere, so I kept going.

Finally, after I must have walked miles, I caught sight of what looked like buildings through the trees. Suddenly, the path took a sharp turn around a large, mossy tree trunk and abruptly ended.

Another village was before me. Some of the huts were made of wooden slats, and corrugated metal scraps on the roofs. A few of the huts had smoke rising from small smokestacks. This was more like it! It was like walking from the caveman days to an ancient civilization. Progress! It looked like these people at least ate indoors!

I trudged out into the open. I had thought the rainforest was unbearable, the humidity weighted the air down and made every breath a battle. I thought only of getting out of there! But the sun had warmed the air outside of the rainforest to blistering hot. Being in the sun’s direct rays was like walking from the kitchen into the oven! The rainforest, though humid, had also provided shade, which was cooler to the skin than the sun’s rays. The blast furnace that greeted me outside of the forest was instantly energy draining and I immediately felt exhausted, no matter that I had awakened only a few hours ago. My feet suddenly felt like I was wading through quick sand. I lumbered up to the largest building of the village.The roof was made entirely of corrugated metal and two smole stacks emitted gray plumes which perfumed the air with the tantilizing scent of searing fish. My mouth watered and I stumbled inside, pushing the door open as if this were a public diner.

A large family of tan faces and dark eyes stared back at me. I froze. Usually upon entering a diner, the guests continue what they are doing, talking and eating, so to suddenly be the center of attention kind of woke me out out of my heat induced trance. I realized I had no idea what I was doing, or how these people would react to me. I decided that I had to do what any man in my position would do; take on a commanding role to get them to obey me. I stood up straight, now completely fed up with all of this uncivilized, untamed nature and low-tech primitiveness, and using my best ‘I’m Better Than You’ tone, sounding remarkably like my father, I said, “Excuse me! Is there a phone anywhere I could borrow?” I mimed holding a phone to my ear once again.

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