Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)
TITLE: Venezuelan River Ride
By Karen Heslink
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Our trusty guide suggested we might enjoy a river boat ride to San Cristobal, our final stop before returning to Merida. I imagined a large, fiberglass yacht with bath and kitchen facilities. What we got was a small wooden boat that belonged to a local fisherman. By then it was too late to turn back. We were stuck in what looked like a less than water worthy craft with a man who spoke almost no English. For all we knew he was a serial killer who planned to dump us into the Rio Apure and watch the piranha eat us. Each time the wind came up, that little boat rocked from side to side. Water splashed into the boat and all I could think was, “We’re going to sink!” With my heart pounding in my throat, I clutched the sides of the boat until my knuckles turned white. As the sun moved westward though, the river calmed and I breathed a little easier.
Suddenly, my younger daughter jumped, wildly rocking the boat and yelling, “What was that?” The fisherman laughed and pointed out towards the sides of the boat. All around us were schools of fish jumping out of the water and literally flying into the boat. What a sight it was. The bottom of the boat was covered with flying fish! We kept picking them up and tossing them out, but they just kept jumping back in. Thank heaven for a little comic relief. Then, just as quickly as it started, it all stopped. All around us it became very calm and quiet.
As the sun edged downward toward the western horizon, we docked in San Cristobal where our guide stood waiting for us. He greeted us with a knowing smile, packed us into his jeep and took us to a hotel for our final night. That man had a strange sense of humor because I knew he knew exactly what happened to us on that sixty minute ride down the Rio Apure.
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