Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Exotic (08/08/13)
TITLE: In My Mind
By darlene thompson
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After my arrival, I joined a tour to Xochimilco, the floating gardens. Here about 50 gondolas maneuvered through about 50 feet of beautiful multicolored flower-strewn water. Soon we hit a water traffic jam. We bumped and bumped our way through the canals. A Marichita Band serenaded us as we ate a hot, spicy Mexican lunch on the waters. As the band played, vendors came along aside us and hawked their wares. Between the music, screaming vendors, and nervous tourists, the trip was more like a riot.
From the wildness of Xochimilco, we entered the sublimity of the National Palace of Fine Arts. It was decorated in mosaic designs. Inside, we were treated to Mexico's Folkloric Ballet. It provided a ballet of the history of Mexico from Aztecs, Spaniards, and modern Mexico. For the next two and half hours, we were mesmerized by dancers and costumes that spun, whirled, and leaped. For the finale, the dancers performed the Christmas scene. Two of the dancers brought out a large, red ribbon and tossed it on the floor. With careful maneuvers of their feet, the dancers tied a bow and tossed it high into the air. The audience responded with "encore, encore!" The dancers returned and performed the "Mexican Hat" dance and the audience erupted with wild approval.
Next on the schedule were the bullfights. Seven were scheduled but after one fight, the rain moved in and we headed out of the arena. One fight was all we really needed. As they say, "the bull has no chance." We had gone from beauty to beast all in one day.
The next day, we visited Chapaltepec Park and Castle. It had been the residence of the Maximillian and his wife, Carlotta. The castle was very plush with paintings and decorations. The castle offered a beautiful view of Mexico City and the surrounding sacred mountains of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl.
At the National Museum of Anthropology, I came face to face with the Aztec Calendar Stone. My fourth grade geography class had paid off as I remembered many facts about the stone and its importance to the Aztecs.
Exhausted after a long day, I took a leisurely bath. About midway through, the lights flickered and my tub rocked back and forth while water splashed about me. I realized I was in an earthquake. After about 30 seconds, the earth returned to normal. The quake registered 5.7 on the Richter Scale.
The next day took us to Taxco. The city was on a hill and the hillside glowed with red roses and other red flowers. The houses were built with red-tile roofs. The city was known as the silver capital of Mexico. We toured the National Church. Inside, the walls were decorated with fine silver and even the door knob was made of pure silver. We walked through the beautiful flowered streets and shopped at the many markets.
The last stop was Acapulco. The beaches were draped with white sands, azure skies, and warm waters. It was a perfect ending for our tour. After lying on the beach all day, we boarded a yacht to watch the cliff divers. The divers seemed to fly through the air, twist their bodies in unique ways, and entered the water with perfect precision. As they performed, we were given a wonderful meal with steak, lobster, salad, and fruit. As we ate, the sun set with an array of reds, oranges, and yellows. We drifted along in with the sunset until the dark brought us back to our hotel.
My trip was over but I had experienced an exotic vacation that had been simply a dream in my mind.
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