It was late August of 2005. Newlywed couple Lionel and Alexis Danone, both tourists, had agreed to chaperone three teenagers from Los Angeles County on a year-long tour of the world in which they would find the legendary seven cities of gold. The teenagers--Ben Garrison of Malibu, Stephanie Raymond of Los Angeles, and Matthew McConnell of Burbank--had been selected by their high schools to write papers about the seven cities of gold. Lionel and Alexis waited at the docks of the Los Angeles harbor for the kids, who would arrive any minute.
When Ben, Stephanie, and Matthew arrived, they greeted the teens and then set off on their journey. Matthew and Ben would share a cabin, and of course, Stephanie, being a girl, would sleep in another cabin. However, when they all met, it was still daylight, so Stephanie visited the boys' cabin to get socially acquainted with them. After all, they'd be traveling for a whole year together. As she was talking to the guys, Ben pointed to her bracelet. It was shaped just like the sun, and the middle of it could open up. "Hey, Steph," he said, "look at your bracelet."
Stephanie looked at it. "Yeah, it's supposed to open up the doors of the cities of gold. My mom bought it for me from some store. Two kids, Esteban and Zia, who used to live during the sixteenth century, had worn medallions that opened the doors to the cities of gold, but over time, they got lost and no one ever found them, so someone else invented bracelets that serve the same purpose."
Ben nodded. "I know. I have the same kind of bracelet." He showed her.
Stephanie nodded, too, then studied Ben's clothes. He wore a top hat, striped T-shirt, and polka-dot shorts. She, on the other hand, wore a beautiful yet modest combination of a blouse and skirt. She giggled a little and said, "Well, seeing as what kind of taste you apparently have in clothes, I'd say our bracelets are the only thing we have in common regarding fashion."
Matthew laughed, too. "She's got a point, Ben," he said.
Ben glared at Matthew. Then he grinned at Stephanie. She was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen, with her long, flowing blonde hair and deep blue eyes. She was so beautiful she didn't even need the makeup she was wearing as far as he was concerned. "You know, Stephanie, the ocean can be a dangerous place, with all kinds of dangerous sea animals and possible storms. You need a man looking after you on this trip."
"I'll see if I can find one," Stephanie snickered. She walked into her cabin.
Matthew laughed. "Day one of Ben's trip: Ben gets rejected by a girl."
"Shut up!" snapped Ben. "I'll find a way to make her notice me. You'll just see. Someday she'll notice me, don't you think?"
"Do you intend to change your wardrobe taste?" Matthew asked.
"Well, no," said Ben.
"Then I don't think she'll ever notice you," Matthew said with a smirk.
Ben glared at him and walked away.
Just then Lionel and Alexis called the kids out onto the dock so they could pray. When they all gathered together and held hands, Lionel led the prayer, asking the Lord Jesus to protect them during their travels and to bless their trip.
At nighttime when everyone went to bed, Alexis said to her husband, "I think this trip will be good for Ben, Stephanie, and Matthew. It's not only fun, it's educational."
Lionel agreed. "I wish I would have had opportunities to travel like this as a kid and take year-long trips on the ocean. My dad would always get seasick, so we never could."
"And my parents hated to travel," Alexis told him.
"This trip will be good for all of us," said Lionel.
Alexis agreed. She and Lionel read their Bibles, then kissed each other good night and went to sleep.
Lionel and Alexis take the teens to visit the San Juan Capistrano mission and explain the history of the mission, and they feed the pigeons. Stephanie, missing her younger sister, Elizabeth, texts her. Make sure you read the next episode of THE MYSTERIOUS CITIES OF GOLD REVISITED.
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