Being a curious little twelve year old who was eager to discover the world, when my father asked me back in 1997 if I wanted to travel to Colombia, I jumped on the opportunity. Little did I know just how much I would be discovering.
Colombia held sights, sound, and smells that I had never experienced. Crowded city highways with no marked lanes, the stench of lead exhaust filling the overcrowded streets of the capitol, the freshness of the Andean Mountains filling the country air. The thought of Colombia brings a dozen images and adventures to mind. Out of all of these, however, there is one in particular which I shall never forget.
It was one of the last mornings we were to spend in Colombia. My father and I flipped through the hotel’s visitors guide looking for ‘must see’ places to visit that day. “Take a tour of the Amazon jungle,” one of the ads said, “and see the beauties of nature that have inspired thousands of painters and authors who have visited this site.” My father and I met eyes. If we wanted adventure, this is where it could be found.
That morning, while eating breakfast at a small, family-owned restaurant in the country, we joked excitedly of the adventurous possibilities. “I’ll bet there are some savage cannibals out there, my dad playfully suggested between spoonfuls of Changua. “Yeah right,” I remarked,” lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!” After getting both our hopes and stomachs full, my father and a departed for our great adventure.
Prior to our arrival at the day’s main attraction, we stopped at a tiny souvenir store along the way. As my father and I searched the store for some final gifts to bring back home to friends and relatives, my eyes were captured b...
... middle of paper ...
...man walking along side the driver’s window.
“My daughter says it’s too warm down here and she’s not feeling well. We need to run around.”
“Please let us go. Please let us go. Don’t tie us up. Just let us go,” I thought.
“All right,” he said to my relief. “Do you know your way back, or would you like us to escort you?” he asked kindly.
“We’ve got it. Thanks,” replied my dad.
I breathed a sigh of relief once I reached the paved road again.
Looking back now, I realize what a silly twelve year old I was. My father was most likely right. Those primitive looking tribal men were just tour guides trying to make a living. My cowardice and ignorance kept us from exploring the wonders of the Amazon- a once in a lifetime experience! Perhaps if I went back know, I would have a different attitude. In any case, however, this was an experience I’ll never forget.
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