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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: Venezuelan River Ride
By Karen Heslink
02/11/09


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I gingerly stepped into the small motor boat, and sat on a rough wooden bench near the back. My two daughters climbed in after me and sat on the middle bench. As they shuffled around, the boat rocked back and forth sending a chill through my body. My husband boarded last and sat in the front seat. I looked at him, and folded my hands together to let him know I was already praying for our safety. It was the fourth day of our family trip into Los Llanos, the plains of Venezuela. We had been treated to sightings of capybara, crocodiles, and exotic birds. We had fished for piranha, taken our catch home and fried them up for dinner. The previous night we had slept in net covered hammocks strung between trees in the great outdoors. I slept soundly except for the hourly cock-a doodle of the local rooster, and the monkey that swung from tree to tree above our heads all night.

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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This article has been read 353 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane02/14/09
Perfect. (or as near as.)
One of the questions I like to ask myself when I read other entries is: did this writer transport me into his world? Did I feel the breeze, hear the background noises, enter into the emotions? Absolutely - this is excellent.
Jan Ackerson 02/14/09
Well done--I wish you'd written even more! The addition of some dialogue, for example, to help us to get to know the characters better, would improve this already very good story.
Seema Bagai 02/14/09
Well-written. I agree with Jan's suggestions for adding dialogue.
Deborah Porter 02/20/09
Hi Karen. Just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry "Venezuelan River Ride," actually did very well in the South America Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 14th in Level 1. Competition in this level is always very intense, so well done.

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:
http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=24421

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

You definitely deserve a pat on the back. Well done. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)