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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Exotic (08/08/13)

TITLE: In My Mind
By darlene thompson


As a fourth grader, I studied Mexico and the Aztec Calendar Stone. As the years went by, I saved my money and visit this magnificent land.

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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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Judith Gayle Smith08/15/13
Thank you for a breathtaking excursion through your exotic dreamscape. Exquisite . . .
Judith Gayle Smith08/15/13
Thank you for a breathtaking excursion through your exotic dreamscape. Exquisite . . .
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/17/13
I think you did a nice job of capturing your exotic dream vacation. It's definitely on topic.It sounds like a place I copuld only ever imagine seeing in the movies.

The only red ink I have is to try and pull the reader into the story so she can feel your emotions too. For example, take the earthquake scene, although this may not be accurate, I hope it shows you what I mean by pulling the reader in: After an exhausting day, I climbed into the whirlpool and propped my feet up on the edge. Suddenly, the water splashed on my face as the tub shook. My heart pounding, I gripped the edges and held on. I couldn't believe I had just experienced my first earthquake.

Hopefully, you can see the point I'm trying to make. I tried to not only create a picture for the reader but added emotions and reactions. I'm not saying your way is wrong, but more trying to show you another way to tell this fabulous adventure.

I liked how you started with learning about the place in school and spent years dreaming about seeing it in person. It shows that dreams can come true. It also made me want to put it on my list of destinations (after Alaska, Ireland, and the Galapagos Islands, but your description put it right up near the top of my list.)

It seemed like you had a wonderful trip and I appreciate you sharing it with me. I think you should place this article among your mementos from the trip so that you'll be able to share this piece with family and friends years from now. Good job.
C D Swanson 08/20/13
Wow - I was right there with you...beautiful job.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/22/13
Congratulations on placing 6th in your level! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards)